The Love Affair May Be Over…

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Americans’ love affair with the car may be headed for divorce court. The Pew Research Center did a study recently that says the number of people who still enjoy going for a drive has dropped from eight out of ten back in 1990 to just under seven out of ten today. Inescapable traffic – and over-the-top enforcement of “technical foul” traffic laws – are probably among the reasons why.

Traffic kills the joy of driving. What good is a 400 horsepower car when it’s difficult if not altogether impossible impossibleย  to drive it much faster than 80 MPH?

Traffic enforcement, meanwhile, has made it feloniously illegal to drive it faster than about 80 MPH – even if it’s physically possible to do so. The repercussions are so extreme – “reckless driving” cite, the threat of jail time, loss of license, thousands of dollars in fines and legal bills – that most people quite understandably are hesitant to explore the capabilities of their vehicles. And those who are willing to take the risk inevitably pay the price – and are culled from the herd.

Result: People drive slow in cars built to go very fast – a form of torture unique to our time.

Cars have never been more powerful, capable and safe – even at very high speeds – than they are right now. The lowliest 2012 model economy car is fully capable of well over 100 MPH on top some will do 120. Middle-of-the-road family sedans like the Toyota Camry and Honda Accord have top speeds around 140 MPH – and will effortlessly cruise all day long at 100-plus MPH.

If you dare.

Anything with a V-8 – or even a V-6 – is grossly over-powered for American driving. Not for American roads, though: The Interstates were designed for very high speeds (70-75 MPH, assuming 1950s-era car technology) and so could surely handle average speeds in the range of 80-90 MPH today, assuming modern cars. But excepting a few rural areas of Texas, anything over 70-75 is illegal “speeding.” Over 80 (just one 1 MPH over) in many states is statutory reckless driving, as discussed above. They can – and sometimes do – arrest you on the spot. At the very least, you’ll be issued a serious ticket with a mandatory court appearance (no just sending in a fine) and the very real possibility of life-altering repercussions such as paying extortionate rates for your mandatory insurance coverage (so called “SR-22” coverage) that can be as high as $2,000 per year. Over the five years that thing – the record of your conviction for “reckless” drivingย  – will be on your DMV rap sheet, you could be looking at $10,000 in insurance bills for one bust at 81 MPH. Granted, that doesn’t happen often – but the fact is, under the laws in most states, it absolutely could. Over 90 – and you can bet on it. Which means we might as well be driving cars with the capability of a circa 1985 Ford Taurus.

What we’ve got is a situation not unlike taking a fat guy to a candy store and then telling him he can’t eat anything – or if he does, he’ll be punished. The fat guy has the Hobson’s choice of sticking around to be tortured by temptation – or saying the hell with this and leaving the store.

American drivers appear to be doing more or less the same thing: They’re certainly not in love with their cars as they once were. In particular, the very young. A recent article discussed this development. Teens and young 20-somethings are less interested in cars as other-than-appliances than any generation preceding. Many of them just don’t care. They’ll buy a car, if they absolutely must. But they’re not champing at the bit to – and don’t really care much which car it is, so long as it gets them from A to B.

Further evidence of the Decline is the demographic buying cars like the new Camaro (and also the Mustang GT and Challenger): Mostly, it’s middle-aged guys. This is the first time in the history of this type of car that the typical owner is a Just For Men guy, not a young guy. Part of the reason, arguably, is money. These kinds of cars are more expensive than they have ever been – both to buy and to keep. It’s not easy for most 20-somethings to afford a $30k-something V-8 muscle car that costs $60 to fill-up. Still, the fact is the mid-late ’70s were an equally awful time, economically speaking (high unemployment, high fuel prices, high inflation; obnoxiously high interest rates, etc.) but the youth of that era still loved their cars with obvious passion – and figured out ways to get their hands on V-8 muscle cars regardless of the obstacles. Not so today.

And I can understand why.

Cars – and driving – used to be fun. But what fun is it to be chained to a $500 a month payment for a car you can’t – or don’t dare – use? The youth of today are finding less frustrating (and expensive) things to occupy their time. And their dollars.

Twenty-something years ago, the 55 mph National Maximum Speed Limit was the law of the land. Yet one could violate it with impunity if one had the hardware – a fast car, a CB radio and a radar detector – along with a red white and blue indifference to the authoritay of Roscoe P. Coltrane and his radar gun. Fast driving – and getting away with driving fast – was very possible. It was just a matter of putting your foot down. Sure, there were repercussions then, too. But nothing like the repercussions today. “Reckless driving” meant actually reckless driving – not merely a velocity violation. Many states did not have yet have “points” systems – or reciprocity. If you got a ticket out of state, usually, you could just ignore it. There were no photo radar speed traps. No automated enforcement. No presumption of guilt that forced you to prove your innocence. It was the other way around. And so, it was still fun.

It’s not fun anymore.

And it begins to get on your nerves after awhile. You pay all this money for a car with more built-in capability than some pure race cars had just a few decades ago – and you might as well be driving a primered ’85 Taurus with 457,000 miles. The sole bennie you get for your $30,000 or $50,000 (or more) that you didn’t get in the ’85 Taurus is a better radio, maybe GPS and, of course, your cell phone with Bluetoof hook-up. Electronic soporifics to keep you distracted – to keep your mind off the mobile Skinner Box in which you spend 2-3 hours or more of your life each day. Two to three hours of your life going short distances, very very slowly.

Back in the ’80s, rock crooner Sammy Hagar cut his signature track, “I Can’t Drive 55.” It contained the lament, “What used to take two hours now takes all day… it took me 16 hours to get to LA!”

Sammy may not have realized how prescient he was being – but from an entirely different angle. The Drive 55 crowd may ultimately win the battle for a slow-mo society by dint of sheer numbers. And simple suffocation.

Throw it in the Woods?


  1. I know there are issues, but – maybe hovercraft will make more sense in the near future? Or, some cross between a hiovercraft and a Wing-In-Ground effect vehicle?

    Anything that might frustrate piggy would be awesome, making it a hovercraft design would make it capable of landing on waterways and going cross-country. Some sort of stub-wing / WIG effect might allow for limited flight, though the only WIG I’ve seen didn’t fly too well… But that’s a hobby vehicle, I’d have to do real research.

    Maybe I should just go build a Warhammer or Battlemaster ‘mech? Or hell, a Locust… LOL I could see something straight out of a comedy skit, two pounding legs run by, the cop watches the “thing” run by… Tosses the coffee out the window, figuring he’s been drugged… Or maybe, checks the speedo, sees something ridiculous like 200 MPH, and doesn’t even bother moving…

    Pipe dreams are fun, what can I say? ๐Ÿ˜‰

    But hovercraft – if we could find a way to stop them effectively? THAT would be interesting.
    And the high-voltage electrical drives might work out well, too. (Current problem is, the EM field is enough to cook organic tissues. ๐Ÿ˜‰ Maybe we could sell the cops on THOSE devices? Brings new meaning to, “I smell bacon!” )

    I need more coffee… And a cigar…. And a hooker… ๐Ÿ˜‰

  2. I will tell you why the love affair is dying. The nanny state in all its glory. Don’t drive so fast…. make sure you wear pads…. my son will never play footaball, its dangerous! Can’t even light up a smoke without a snear, hitting on women is sexual harrassment. Basically in a nut shell risk taking is not cool anymore. Fun is risky, otherwise it would not be fun.

    • Jason,

      That’s it, exactly.

      Risk is fun – and risk is part of life. This idea that risk – note, not recklessness, not irresponsibility – just “risk” – is something to be stamped out at all costs is perhaps the most cancerous notion of our era, right behind egalitarianism and democracy.

      • It is cancerous, it is everywhere. The collective risk models that we live and die by these days will be the end of modern society. I even expect the old arguments saying it is too risky for people to drive cars, and the state forcing people into self driving cars. Or heck outlawing private ownership of cars ala Hitler, forcing people to rent or pay into a collective car pool where cars pick you up and take you places. Risk is the new excuse for state power.

  3. To get back to the article itself: if anything it gives the lie to the idea accepted without question by the anti-car movement that love of cars (“car culture”) is a significant cause of frequent use of cars. It really isn’t.

    People don’t drive as often and as far as they do because they like cars. They drive as often and as far as they do despite not liking cars. And if they do like cars it does not follow that they like sitting in stop-go traffic for several hours each day. It just doesn’t follow. But because they have this idea of a “love affair with the automobile” to work with anti-car theorists do not have to get their heads around all the complexities of economic-geographic need structures, which inevitably leads to questioning our current macro-economic system. It is significant that most anti-car theorists support (far from “Communism”) the broad macro-economic status quo – that is, controlled Capitalism in which the corporate-oligopolitarian industries become organs of the State.

    • I don’t disagree that the “love affair” doesn’t entirely (or even necessarily mostly) explain American driving habits. However, historically/culturally, Americans have invested more of themselves, emotionally, in vehicles than, say refrigerators or toasters. There is – was – a great deal of “just because” frivolity to car design ( a good thing, as I see it). The styling, the use of chrome for decoration, etc. My argument is that cars are now much more like appliances – both in terms of function as well as the way many (perhaps most) Americans feel about them.

      • Nor do I disagree with you: just as the intensivity of vehicle traffic can reach – and is reaching – unprecedented levels in the absence of the “love affair”; just so the “love affair” can continue in the absence of anything like that level of use intensivity. It is to the unthinking presumption of a causal link between the two among the anti-car-minded that I object.

  4. In ’86 I bought a beat up ’75 Torino, with a 400 small block, for $450. In the part of Arizona I lived in there was a whole lot of nothin’, so you could pretty much go as fast as you wanted. It would creep up to 90 if you weren’t paying attention. It got 18 MPG at 55 MPH, and 16 at 90. I really could not drive 55. I saw alot of cops in the 60,000 miles I put on that car. Never got a ticket.

  5. The Terorists lowered the price of a barrel of oil by $5 today to try to keep the economy from tanking further. I think Amerikans still have a love affair with personal transportation but have a big problem with motivation driving to work everyday just to have everything they work for stolen by The Terrorists in taxes and inflation. The Terrorists have made the automobile a huge burden and it is deliberate…They want their tax cattle to move into cities and ride the cattle cars with the rest of the stinky psychotic city parasites.

  6. Pennsylvania is solving this problem by keeping their highways in such a condition that anything over 70 will smash your suspension and endanger your life.

    • Bob, what a coincidence! Missouri’s doing the same thing. It never occurred to me that it was an intentional plan to slow everyone down for our own safety. I just thought they were spending all our road tax money on boondoggles for senior MoDOT bureaucrats and fat-cat contractors in places like KC and St. Louis. I feel better now that I know that the gubmint is actually looking out for my safety and the environment by allowing our rural roads to *”return to its natural state.”

      *Quoted from a National Geographic special I watched years ago on an African country after the Europeans (I can’t remember now, but I think it was the French) pulled out. The camera man panned across what was once a modern city showing the broken windows, weeds growing through the cracks in the concrete, kids in rags next to the raw sewage running in the street and the commentator says “Now that the [Europeans] have left, the natives have decided to let the area return to its natural state.” Translation: the technicians, tradesmen, engineers and managers are gone and “the natives” couldn’t keep any of it running. Makes you wonder how much longer we’ve got here in Amerika before things start returning to their “natural state” in earnest.

        • Methinks a neighborhood’s Little Red Schoolhouse is sufficient. Beyond that, an Individual could use the Internet and OJT. OJT works very well for those who are motivated to learn. It took me only minutes to learn to use a metric micrometer. It took a bit longer to learn to deal with the nonmetric micrometer. (The US and Great Britain should have phased out the clumsy English System decades ago.

          I found Common Sense Right or Wrong Law quite simple. History? No problem.

          Intellectually I’ve done quite well for a boy who left school after the Tenth Grade.

          Tinsley Grey Sammons (1936 –)

        • Yeah, Eric Fred Reed’s the ultimate politically incorrect and *truly* intellectual curmudgeon. His point about hgih-bypass turbofans (along with every other marvel of technology we rely on to make life easier these days) is hardly the product of the “keepin’ it real” mentality, gnomesayin? I really enjoy his writing and aspire to just be half the smart ass Fred is. ๐Ÿ˜‰

          • Me too.

            The guy’s a living role model for me. I met him briefly when he was at The Washington Times back in the ’90s, when I was just starting out. He’s a naturally gifted writer and also a smart guy who knows a lot about a lot. And he’s not afraid to call bullshit on orthodoxies that will get you fired – or never hired – in American journalism (such as it is) today.

            We need more like him.

          • Eric I had to laugh at the phrase “American journalism”.

            It’s a phrase akin to those such as “fact-filled Pravda article”, “contrarian Isvestia op-ed” or “revealing Goebbels broadcast”.

            • I know.. but for me, it’s a very sad turn of phrase. There are (were) some decent people in the biz, once (Fred Reed, for one).

              But I can tell you that such have been rendered extinct. It is impossible for someone such as Fred (or me) to get hired by a major media outlet – at least, not without accepting the bit and becoming just like the rest of them. It’s not overt. No explicit censorship. It’s just made very clear what is – and is not – acceptable.

              And you already know what’s not.

    • Rhode Island is about the same story. More than 10 over on the back highways, and even some of the major ones, might put a car out of commission. Rhode Island (and other parts of New England) also slow you down by having roads that are far too narrow. Don’t drive a new car in NE if you value the paint on the passenger’s side.

  7. I live in Wisconsin just 75 miles outside of Chicago and let me tell ya, it’s a world away. Plenty of wide open spaces and wide open roads. At least it seems that way to me. I don’t have any fast cars to push the limits with, but I did get a tinge of desire for something fast the other day when a drag racing scenario presented itself. A gal in a late model Ford Escape pulled up behind me at an intersection on a state highway. I watched in my rear view mirror as she applied lipstick using hers. When the light turned green I pulled away and as I did I noticed the gal pulling out behind me to pass on the right. What was she thinking I thought. I gassed my ’98 Maxima thinking I’d put an end to her cheeky move. Wow! She just smoked me. I had the Maxima floored and she just flat out walked away with it. She spanked my tired ass! Then I realized I’d been EcoBoosted. She was probably sporting a turbocharged 240 hp EcoBoost four cylinder. I never would have given a second thought to a vehicle like the Escape. Now Iโ€™m thinking that Iโ€™m out of the loop. Iโ€™m puttering around in junk from the last technological epoch in a world awash in 300hp suvs and cars. 80 mph is common on the interstate here and well tolerated, but I can see that 90 or 100 would make the run to Minneapolis a lot more fun and convenient. We certainly have the hardware to do it.

  8. You can see the conspiracy as plain as day. They tempt you with extremely high performance cars, and then clamp down on you with all the restrictive traffic laws. Its all about generating more revenue for our evil law enforcement/justice/prison industry.

    • “Generating More Revenue”

      Congratulations Charlie, you’ve just about got it surrounded. It’s good to see someone catching on. Unfortunately, it seldom happens.

      Tinsley Grey Sammons, author of AMERICA’S FORSAKEN PROMISE

  9. Eric,
    I’m one old geezer, one of the lucky ones who, enjoyed the muscle car “era” of the 60s & early 70s. That stated, I’ve battled with the state patrol for over 50 years. Believe it or not I have, so far, never received a citation from one.
    Most recently, I evicted a patrolman from my parking lot. He was writing a seatbelt citation, to one of my customers. This officer had his superior officer call to inquire as to my reason.
    I informed him they don’t pay rent so, I would file trespass charges against any officer who, used my property, for their business, in the future.
    Under separate cover, my commute to work is a beautiful 10 mile jaunt which, my wife says is the best part of her day. She drives, I prefer to ride the Beemer.
    Speed is not a problem, nor someone wearing their seatbelt, but they are huge money makers for the government… Not to mention insurance companies.
    Conversely, texting drivers are the things that scare the beejesus out of me. They are seldom caught unless they injure or kill someone.
    If those of us who, despise the road agents who, call themselves “Law enforecment officers” would get together and spend the time and money it takes to give these uniformed bandits the publicity they richly deserve, things would change.
    Complaining to each other and whining about the unfairness of the “system” does little to advance our position.
    Imagine what would happen if there were billboards with pictures of the fancily dressed state patrolmen and the caption “THESE ARE CRIMINALS!” with a website listing to give why the state sponsored road agents are more dangerous to Americans than most other thieves.
    Think about it! The state would be forced to respond.
    It would cost them (our) money but, bureaucracies don’t like negative cash flows and they really dislike bad “PR”. Further, it could put representatives on the spot when funding the agency came up.
    Identifying and vilifying the beast is an option which (& if) done properly moves the ball into their court…Right where they don’t want it.

      Tinsley Grey Sammons, (1936 โ€“)

      Amereica’s Forsaken Promise p.25
      A so-called Alliance for Good Government is rarely very good for the lawfully self-sufficient, tax-paying lay folk. I submit that any alliance concerning good government must be an Alliance for Lawful Government. And a lawful government must never initiate and support any violation or contravention of the Principles supporting the Declaration of Independence with its Bill of Charges Against the Crown.

      A dedicated Alliance for Lawful Government in every jurisdiction in America could reduce corruption to a manageable trickle and put the United States back on the Philosophical Course chartered by the Founders.

      Lawfully self-sufficient lay folk would be wise to display solidarity in disabusing America of the illegitimate Legal System that has supplanted the legitimate Law of the Land. In spite of their diplomas and credentials, the Officers of the Court, i.e., lawyers, along with Career Office Holders, a disproportionate number of whom are lawyers, know nothing that any literate adult is incapable of knowing. Furthermore, the “equal protection of the laws” clause in the Fourteenth Amendment brooks no exception. And even further, they wield no lawful power not possessed by every other Citizen.

      Is an Officer of the Court a public sector person or is s/he a private sector person? According to attorney Michael H. Brown, “The law is the weapon, the courtroom the battlefield, the judge your enemy and your lawyer is an enemy spy.” So then, whose side are attorneys really on? I submit that they are on their own side as they profitably cooperate within their de facto Brotherhood of Juris Doctors.

      The Unanimous Declaration became Americaโ€™s organic law through the action of the Second Continental Congress on July 4, 1776. No Power that violates or contravenes the Principles that inspired that incomparable Action has Lawful Authority.

      Organic Law. The fundamental law, or constitution, of a state or nation, written or unwritten. That law or system of laws or principles which defines and establishes the organization of its government. โ€“ Blackโ€™s Law Dictionary, Sixth Edition

      Elections alone cannot salvage respect for the American Ideal that is so eloquently expressed in the second paragraph of the Unanimous Declaration. Fortunately, the tools exist for the self-sufficient taxpaying lay folk to take the Law of the Land into their own hands where it lawfully belongs. By so doing they can disabuse America of the illegitimate System of Precedents and Interpretive Violence that continues to wreak havoc with Liberty and Justice. To fix our broken America, a sufficient number of lay folk need only claim their Lawful Power and display solidarity in wielding that power. Should that come to pass, the individuals now doing vile things under the color of laws that are intrinsically criminal will be squirming like fat caterpillars that have fallen into a campfire.

      Edited: May 17, 2011

      Permission granted to copy and distribute provided full credit is given.

  10. All of the above categories are in fact variations of “status symbols”.

    Hotrods are gone because they are effectively illegal, not to mention few people are willing to just start messing with things to figure them out, a critical part of rodding.

    Fun slow vehicles can still be found (jeeps) but even the things that make them fun are going away (a 4 door minivan edition, really?). I’m 25, and bought one of the newest wrangler 2 doors (as stripped down as possible, one of my friends thinks the lack of power windows is barbaric) as my reliable car for work, heavily because I was afraid the next edition would no longer have a hinged windshield. This matters to me because I spent college in a 1948 Willys jeep, with no roll cage, no seat belts, and always windshield down. And having no windshield is the best part of driving a car. (Offhand, fun story, every time people notice the willys has no seat belts and recoil in horror at the audacity, I ask them if they would want to be belted in were it to roll over, it shatters their programming)

    • Phil, I had a 48 Willy too!

      Indestructible and could climb a tree right along side of my friend’s 400 Husky.

      My 48 had a flathead 6 from a Rambler Nash.

      You could stand on the front bumper and jump up and down and it would move about half an inch. (;>)

  11. Interesting reading here. I spent a considerable part of my life driving racecars . The time came when it was no longer a possible career choice ( reaction times starting to slip…that kind of thing) so I had to retire.
    So, mid 50 ish age wise I bought myself a lovely Ferrari Testarossa just for the joy of the thing. HAH! Driving the car at 30% of it’s capability will land a guy in jail. The car is beautiful but it’s like owning a Picasso and hanging in a hallway with semi-dark lighting: One can just make out the outlines of the artwork….and that’s it. A 90% waste of time, money, emotional capital.
    Torture. Drive a TR in Italy…the people say ” FORZA!” Drive a TR in Amerika, the people get on their cellphones to report you to “Public Safety”. Yuk.

    • Hi Nick,

      Exactly – and excellent anology re the Mona Lisa. Here’s another: A supermodel wife you can’t do more than holds with. Why torture yourself?

      I find myself enjoying my older (and slower) stuff a lot more than the modern (faster) stuff, chiefly because the older stuff is more involving and also because they feel faster at lower speeds. For a track day, give me an R1 or ZX6. But for the street – the streets today? My old Kz900 is preferable.

      • Indeed! I now have more fun riding my old “flying Brick” BMW K Bike and putting around in a stripped out Metro (gasp!!). For track days I had a 2 liter SF but now would think a Lotus 11 replica with a Cosworth BDA or some such would be a true howler. Probably crash the creature because of laughter tears…

    • Nick, are you familiar with the late Peter Gregg? I occasionally assisted Mechtec Hans Mandt with Gregg’s Porche when I worked at Gregg’s dealership in Jacksonville, FL. In my opinion, Hans was truly one of the greats.

      Time flies and the Reaper beckons.


      • Yes, indeed! At the time,I was a student at ERAI and was initially shocked at Gregg’s “personal decision”. Later, after some careful thought, I reckoned that his actions simply removed decades of mere boring existence. Still…he might have pulled off another ride…who knows??


          Supposedly he terminated his own life simply because he had done everything that he wanted to do.

          Interestingly, Gregg’s wife was heiress to Johnson and Johnson. Money was certainly no problem with that couple.

          I modified the engine in a Fiat 124 for Gregg by his instructions but he never drove it. The most difficult part of it was modifying the carb so that both barrels opened simultaneously. (Hmm…Let me see . . . if I bend this little cam and shorten the link right here it will open that there doohickey over thar . . .) Pure Redneck Engineering.

          Don’t know why he would want to race the Fiat after racing Porsches. I never liked nor disliked they guy but I did feel that he would be right at home in Hyannisport.

          I left Jacksonville for New Orleans in the Summer of ’71 and never moved back.

          Tinsley Grey Sammons

  12. Great article, Eric. It’s almost like a eulogy to the cars of days gone by. I see today’s cars in 3 categories: 1) status symbols; 2) A-B cars (fuel efficient, OEM toys) & 3) Not sure quite what to call this one – it’s the people that put low profile tires on Hummers, and $600 rims on a $50 car. Or the ones that have a boom-box worth 3-times what the car is worth and probably easy to break into. Hmmmm…

  13. thanks again for a great article eric, i have been wondering a similar thing lately sitting behind clovers in the left lane going 55 in a 65. I was a teenager when teh import scene really started to pick up on the east coast in the mid to late 90’s. Everyone seemed to have a civic or an integra but i hated those things so I bought an MR2 turbo.
    Car culture is changing but not sure if it is dying, i think it will be more segregated. The amateurish putting it to the rug to see what the car can do is definitely getting phased out. The majority of people just want a commuter box but there is also the people who crave status and will buy the lexus, infiniti etc and never really “open her up” (which is a tragedy in its own right).
    If the US wasn’t such a horrible place to open a business I would consider building a track/course because that is where I think performance cars will find their niche. I recently rebuild and modified an ’89 supercharged MR2 and it has been great to drive but I don’t anticipate much “street driving” past the break-in period. It will be much more useful/fun on a track like the one at Summit Point. With a 5 mile commute it even made sense to buy a truck last year which will allow me to trailer it back and forth if need be. I regulary meet up with a car club, the older guys have cars that are almost only used on the track and driven to the meet but almost half of the kids (19-24 year olds) are getting rides to the meet because of suspended licenses.
    If you consider the amount you risk your insurance going up, fines and the possibility of having a car seized (30k plus investment) it makes a ton more sense to build a car like mine for less than 5k and focus on track days. It is a shame but that’s the direction I see things going. Atleast until the goobermint decide that isn’t safe either.

  14. Call me a contrarian, but driving today has never been better. As a high mileage professional speeder, 20 years ago, I was getting one, sometimes 2 tickets a year at speeds of about 70mph in a 55 mph zone or 80 in a 65 mph zone. Since the repeal of the NMSL, I have received maybe 6 tickets total in 15 years. Only 3 showed on my record. Speeds driven on rural highways have followed a natural course upward as cars have improved. The cover provided by the scads of traffic on the road has certainly helped me avoid prosecution for driving my current speeds of around 80 mph on the highway.

    The other positive trend is that if kids like to sit and fiddle with their ipods, the roads will invariably become less crowded over time, allowing for more high speed bursts. The massive traffic increases on our rural roads has plateaued, which is a good thing.

    We all know the bad… high fuel prices, high insurance bills, intrusive electronics and the constant threat of possibly lower speed limits on the horizon, but a snapshot of today’s environment is not too bad. For a higher speed driver, it has never been better. I am driving at speeds that would have gotten me busted bigtime in the 1980’s.

  15. I wasn’t convinced it was over until the day I bought that little nozzle adapter made to fit over the unleaded gas pump nozzle.

    I remember looking around like a common petty thief to make sure no one saw me. At first it was OK, normal, but then, as with everything their propaganda snitching be a good little BOY neutering became THE LAW.

    Rather pathetic and prescient, weren’t it?

  16. A few comments not sure mentioned here.

    Traffic. Yes, traffic is bad and it’s increasing. No where is the commentary that this is deliberate. I used to drive on a section of road in Montgomery county MD, a MAJOR road. It’s heavily used during rush hour and on the weekends. The stop lights are on a fixed, non changing, schedule. They’ll cycle for cross street traffic when there is none. I’ve witnessed this many times. Don’t tell me that this county can’t put in lights with sensors to move the traffic if they wanted to. They got the money, it’s one of the richest per capita counties in the country. They don’t because they want everyone to use mass transit.

    • Damon,

      Completely agree. There is no reason for traffic signals not to be “smart” – synchronized and also capable of staying green indefinitely when there is no waiting cross traffic. But instead, they are deliberately not synchronized and cycle for no reason (or stay red – or green – interminably for no reason). Well, there is a reason. It’s the reason you mentioned.

    • on a section of route 30 in PA, the light cycles are timed to try and control speed and all it does is back up traffic and make people wait unnecessarily.
      Even the smart ones are dumb, the weight sensors would never recognize me (200 lbs) on my 400 lb gsxr750 and force me to turn on red. Guess I am jsut supposed to be a fat bastard on a half-ton harley.

      • You can buy a modest size Neodynium magnet that sticks to the bottom of your cycle that will activate those lights. I had the same problem with my lightweight, mostly aluminum scooter till I bought one. Works every time. Those things are magnetically triggered which is why Harleys set them off – they have steel frames.

        • I’ve tried some magnets from an old full height harddrive with my bicycle and it never seemed to do a thing. I still had to position the bicycle to give the greatest magnetic footprint.

      • Where I live the lights downtown are synced such that, once you hit a green, if you go 30mph it should stay green all the way through. Interesting that the speed limit is 25.

        • I have that where I live.

          A major thoroughfare has the lights timed for 50 MPH, but the posted speed is 45 MPH or even 40 MPH in some sections.

          A cynical person might say that the lights are timed that way to get you to speed. That way, the motorist gets a ticket for speeding.

          A deadly cynical person, such as myself, says that if you obey the speed limit, your are probably going to get a ticket at one of the red light cameras. They seem to posted all along this thoroughfare.

    • Around here, you can tell which towns are in the back pocket of gas stations by how out-of-sync their lights are. I’m not joking, either.

    • It is sometimes worse here in Northern Virginia. There are major roads where during rush hour the lights are timed specifically to reduce the flow of traffic in an attempt to force people into using the overloaded mass transit system. You know when your light is about to turn green because you see the light in front of you changes to amber.

      • Gawd – I remember that!

        Also the merciless enforcement in Falls Church and the Dulles Toll Road…. I’d go nvts (Roman spelling) if I had to deal with that shitz today!

  17. I’m 22, and I love cars as machines – but I’m never going to get one. Not going to get a government permission slip to drive, either. My pride simply does not allow me to spend a few hundred dollars for the privilege of wasting 8 hours of my precious life on the “mandatory drugs and alcohol course”.

    If the government vanished, of course, I’d build myself a Lotus 7 clone. I love that design.

    • Hey R,

      It always makes my day to hear from someone in their young 20s who gets the message! I’m amazed, because people your age have no personal memory of a semi-free America, yet you know things are FUBAR and want to see ’em fixed.

      Good to have you with us!

    • Amazing! Even though driving may no longer be fun, it is definitely a priceless lie skill. Enables you to go somewhere (beyond reasonable walking/biking distance,) without being dependent upon a bus, subway or taxi….or friend to impose upon.

      But it’s fine with me. One less driver on the road. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • You should learn how to drive. 50% of my job is driving from one location to another. I don’t know what your career choice is, but if you’re technically minded you may end up in a field like telecommunications or something that requires local travel.

      You really don’t want employers to have a reason not to hire you these days.

  18. Twenty years ago, it was fairly rare to see a cop on the road. Now, I can’t drive 5 miles without seeing one, lurking over me to find a new reason to take my money. And they have a lot more reasons now. It’s not just speeding, but now they can get you for not wearing a seat belt, using a cell phone, etc. It’s stressful to drive with vultures watching over you.

    • You can thank the Patriot act for that. It provided “much needed” money to local municipalities for beefing up their law enforcement staff. In many small towns, it established police forces where prior had only been an elected sheriff.

  19. Look to beautiful British Columbia, Canada for your future.
    Last year I was driving within the speed limit on an empty mountain highway in a rented BMW and was pulled over by an RCMP radar trap. I showed my international license (I live in Asia) and the cop made some attempts to be nice, saying he hoped I was enjoying my trip, blah blah…but warning that there was a new law for an automatic impound of any vehicle going more than 40 km/h (25 mph) over the speed limit. He pointed to an old white Honda sitting on the roadside and said they’d impounded that vehicle half an hour ago and were waiting for the tow truck.
    Coming soon to a state near you: expect to get pulled over, examined and threatened even if you are doing nothing wrong.

    • I will not be at all surprised. I keep on trying to tell people: The gantlet has been thrown down. In principle, we’ve already accepted such things – everything. Now it’s just a matter of their tying up loose ends.

      • The problem, Eric, is that we get nipped by the bloodsuckers in onesie-twosie fashion for what bullshit reason. It’s a refined art. They know just how much to extract before it reaches the point where public outrage would take over.
        Witness yesterday’s “outrage” story over Spirit Airlines refusing to refund a dying vet’s airline ticket. It’s not a legal matter, they are legally in the right to refuse a refund. It’s purely a matter of public opinion. But will “Vets” get riled up enough to keep up a boycott of Spirit Airlines that it gets their attention and an apology? Of course not! And at least we still have, in most cities, a choice of airline to fly. I can’t change the county whose jurisdiction I’m subject to so easily, nor state, save I’m willing to uproot. The only case I can think of where this shit gets countered is publicizing the known speed traps, which thanks to the Internet got a helluvalot easier.

  20. Te phenomenon of the young not being as interested in cars any more has being going on for decades. Case in point: in 1993, I was driving from Seattle to Southern California to visit family when, halfway through Oregon, the vacuum-operated valve which shut off hot water to the heat-exchanger for the cabin failed, stuck in the “on” position so that cabin heat was continuous, since the hot water overrode the punier efforts of the air conditioning compressor (not to mention that water has a much higher specific heat than freon)… and the temperature was rising by the mile, with the destination in the frying pan of Los Angeles. Being in a hurry (not to mention being a cheapskate), I simply stopped at a large hardware store, figuring to grab a couple-dollar manual shut-off valve in 5/8″ and shut off the dratted heat temporarily, as I certainly wouldn’t need heat until the return to Seattle and the approach of Autumn required it. Once Fall came, I could simply re-open he valve, buy a new vacuum-operated one from a dealer, or (most likely), spend a pleasant couple of hours communing with my toolbox and fix the original one, perfectly possible since this was a 1969 Mercury. The only thing I needed to verify was that the hardware-store valve would stand near-boiling temperatures.

    This quickly became a problem, which I didn’t understand at first, until I finally realized that of the 30-odd employees in the store, NONE OF THEM UNDERSTOOD THAT HOT WATER CIRCULATED IN PIPES AND HOSES UNDER THE HOOD OF A CAR!

    In fact, they WEREN’T GOING TO SELL ME THE VALVE, convinced that I was crazy, and might hurt myself!

    I was finally rescued by an old geezer, who had as much gray and white in his hair and beard as… ahem… I do, and even he did not attempt to CONVINCE any of those kids as to the truth of my statements… although he and I shared several jocular remarks concerning “young whipper-snappers” on the way out to the parking lot.

    For the record, the valve worked fine… and I DID eventually repair the original automatic one… by hand.

    But it taught me that the automotive norms of my generation (where you learned to hotwire a car by the age of six, probably soldered your first radiator by eight, and repaired your first voltage regulator with a nail file stolen from your mother and a small screwdriver by the time you were nine or ten)… were forever gone.


    “If you don’t know
    whose signs these are
    you can’t have driven
    very far.”

    You can now… alas.

    • Rex,

      I think you’re on to something there. There are still DIY types, but from what I’ve seen, most tend to be older – or poorer. The middle class young don’t seem very interested. Their parents, even less so. When the car stops working or a dash light comes on – take it to the man!

      It’s the same with home DIY, too.

      Americans are becoming like the Eloi from HG Well’s Time Machine.

      • Which is why, when I saw my 28 y.o. son (he’s married for three years but no grandkids for me yet, darn…) cobble together an alarm system for his ’99 Saturn out of something he’d picked up at a yard sale for two bucks, using wiring and connectors from my garage, it was hard to suppress tears of joy. The lad’s ingenuity never ceases to amaze in keeping he and his wife’s fleet of decided aged vehicles (’99 Saturn, ’96 Jeep Cherokee, and ’04 Kia Spectra) going at minimal expense. Hell, the kids are buying their first home, and live debt-free, and that on half (combined) of what dear ol’ Dad makes. Who sez the upcoming generation is a lost cause?

      • Before taking it to someone to be repaired, owning and using an inexpensive scanner can make you bullshit-proof. In some communities, if you have a library card you can even tap in via the Internet and print your vehicle’s wiring diagrams and other info.

        When the Check Engine Light came on in Kathy’s Altima I diagnosed the cause in a matter of minutes with a $100 scanner. The only thing the scanner failed to give me was experience. When the dealer recommended replacing a second second sensor as a preventive measure I approved the replacement.

        You can also check for recalls on the Internet. Warranty is a bother so the Service Advisors don’t always inform the customer , if the customer is willing to pay without a fuss.


      • Maybe, but I’ll just quote this Cracked article:

        “Bruce Wayne (Batman) traveled the world for years and trained himself to the peak of physical perfection.

        Tony Stark (Iron Man)had one weekend and an actual heart attack and still had time to think, ‘I’d better not get shot in the face!’

        Stark understands that a billionaire training himself to the peak of physical perfection is like a billionaire learning to grow his own organic tomatoes.

        The whole point of money and technology is not having to do stuff with your bare hands.”

        My personal experience has taught me that too much reliance on your DIY skills deadens your ambition to improve yourself economically to the point that you don’t HAVE to do things for yourself.

        You think to yourself, “I don’t need to have a good job. I can fix and build everything myself, so I don’t need the money to hire someone to do the job. Besides, making a lot of money and getting on a career track would just make me more dependent on the system I hate so much, and that’s obviously out.”

        • It’s not invalid to spend one’s “spare” time (e.g. time above and beyond the main job and family needs) in self-improvement, especially building a business. Still, there’s the form of self-reliance that sez “I don’t have to call the ‘guy’ when something breaks”. It’s like why do I garden, besides the enjoyment? Can you tell me that on the scale that I do it that it’s cost-effective? It certainly isn’t, but having arable lands and the skills to get produce from it could prove to be life-saving to oneself and family in a SHTF scenario. Same with experience at fixing things. An economic disruption wouldn’t necessarily be full-blown SHTF, but suppose that the local Home Depot is frequently out of supplies, or, even if it has stuff, the Internet is down, or there’s a bank holiday, or the re-elect President Obama (oh the horror!) declares a national emergency and has the contents of your local Safeway seized by the military. Or martial law declared, and you can’t leave your home save to go to your job (if the “Gubmint” approves). YOU THINK IT CAN’T HAPPEN HERE? Don’t be deluded!

          • I think it’s simpler than that. How many people actually go camping anymore? I’m not talking about the lush A/C’d, gas stove containing, comfy bed log cabin you rent in the woods. I’m talking a tent, sleeping bag, cooking over an open fire, storing perishable food in the proper fashion and “doing your business” in the woods. Most people I know under the age of 35 don’t even know how to cook beyond using a microwave.

          • eric – Me too! The only thing I regret is never learning to hunt. Didn’t have the opportunity. As an adult my uncle was going to teach me how to hunt & skin a deer but I went through a divorce that year & nobody wanted to put a gun in my hand. LOL

            • I’m determined to become proficient at hunting. Where we live, it is possible to just grab your rife and walk out the back yard into the woods and have at it. I target shoot fairly often (with handguns) to maintain a reasonable proficiency (hit the target!) but need to get better with a rifle…

          • I second that! It finally broke 70 in Seattle in the past couple weeks. It’s back to 50 and raining, but it won’t last. The tent’s been set up and aired out. The fishing rod is ready. The traps are in the truck. The trout and crayfish are scared shitless, and rightly so.

        • “My personal experience has taught me that too much reliance on your DIY skills deadens your ambition to improve yourself economically to the point that you donโ€™t HAVE to do things for yourself.”

          My personal experience has taught me that if you improve yourself economically to the point that you don’t HAVE to do things for yourself, you spend a lot of time drinking vodka and contemplating suicide.

          • @Scott – very true on idle hands doing Smirnoff’s work. But until we can get drug prohibition repealed…better a bottle in front of me than a prefrontal lobotomy. ๐Ÿ˜‰

          • @Boothe — ๐Ÿ™‚

            If I didn’t have the task of figuring out how to replace the temperature control sensor in a 15 year old Sub-Zero freezer hanging over my head, I wouldn’t have a reason to get up in the morning.

            As it it, I can rarely find a reason to brush my teeth, comb my hair, shower, or shave. My entire self-image is controlled by what my dog finds acceptable and frankly she sets a fairly low standard (she’s been known to eat trash).

            Seriously, I take a great deal of pride in being able to repair things that break. One of the things I detest about our “consumer” society is the tendency to replace rather than repair, in fact one of the big attractions this site has for me comes from Eric’s editorial bias towards putting old cars back into service. I like the economics of it, the sense of accomplishment it gives me, and the sense of independence. I foster these values in my children and I use them to select my friends.

          • Quoth a verse from Atlanta Rhythm Section’s “Not Gonna Let it Bother Me Tonight”

            The world’s in an uproar and I see no end in sight
            (but I’m not gonna let it bother me tonight, 3x)
            Tomorrow I might go as far as suicide…
            (but I’m not gonna let it bother me tonight)

            Keep the “wodka” and live!

          • Things aren’t repairable for a number of reasons. But the biggest is the cost of labor. Even if something were designed for service (neglecting the costs of that) it would cost way too much to have repaired.

            Repairing something myself is usually folly if I were to look at what I make per unit time at my job. (auto repair being one of the exceptions) I still do it because I dislike shopping. I enjoy fixing things usually. The benefit is that often fixing something takes me less time than shopping for a replacement.

          • I’m not suggesting that self-reliance and mechanical capacities are in any way bad.

            Thanks to the Army’s mechanic programs, a Bachelor’s degree in Industrial Design and about a decade on-and-off as a professional mechanic (maybe ‘Professional’ is the wrong word here – I was honest and competent), I can scratchbuild an entire car from the ground up.

            Maybe it’s just me. Who knows?

            Sometimes I just get sick of being dirty and frustrated because some beancounter was able to save 15 cents a ton by specified mild steel as opposed to stainless for the control arm bolts.

        • The problem of a large – and growing – underclass is something relatively new on this continent. Europe has always had a Proletariat – “the mob.” Now we have the mob, too. There is no reaching the mob with reason. It is composed almost entirely of people with low IQs or a barbaric upbringing (often both). The mob just wants – and it will tear anyone and anything to pieces in order to get it.

          Unfortunately, the only way to contain the mob is through superior force – antithetical to a free society. Which is why this country is rapidly descending into Third World-isms in so many ways.

          • When you get someone who can control (or motivate?) the Mob – you return to Monarchy. The wheel of government changes goes that way. (We might even be in de facto Monarchy at this point.)

            The advantage lies in being able to charm and motivate the Mob to damage targets of YOUR choice, using the mob mentality and mob anonymity to your advantage.

            Imagine (just go with this) that you have a mob of 100 – 200 people. You could assault Congress with no real problem – sheer number of bodies involved makes mounting any sort of effective defense impossible, the mob is everywhere. They don’t wear a uniform, they don’t don’t stick out – innocent civilians are there, too.
            Now would it be effective, likely not – it’s a mob.
            But it would be possible to mobilize a mob and accomplish somethign to get attention, yes. You’d only catch up to the oldest and most-infirm congress-critters, and those so deep in their own Cloverian mindset that they believe, “It could NEVER happen HERE!”

            But the French Aristocracy believed it couldn’t happen THERE, too… And collectively, when it DID happen there – They lost their head!

    • I was a shop foreman and a Veteran myself when the Draft ended. As time passed I noticed that the trainees coming into the trade generally weren’t nearly as good as the Vets had been. Most of the Vets of course had two advantages, technical training of some sort and self-discipline.


      As a champion of Freedom of Choice tempered with Personal Responsibility I have mixed feelings about the Military Draft, but of this I am certain. In my experience the Draft provided a check on the Military that an all-volunteer Military does not.


      • Yes – and:

        “All volunteer” is a misnomer. What we have is a de facto economic draft. Yes, there are exceptions. But to a great extent, the “all volunteer” military gets its “volunteers” from dead-end small towns and the ranks of the otherwise unemployable (outside of minimum wage service sector jobs). With a high school diploma (at best) your options are: Wal Mart – or the military.

        Lyndee England – typical specimen.

        • However, Eric, starting our young people off with a short term of mandatory military service (about a year) might be the best form of “socialism”, if there had to be any. Of course, it would be best run by the several states as part of the state militia. The advantage would be that a form of UCMJ could even be incorporated at the high school level, with the little “darlings” getting training and discipline at an age wherein they’d benefit the most. So what you’d get would be young adults, much more physically and mentally fit, or, if they prove to be incorrigible little bastards, locked up in the stockade where they belong, more ready and disciplined to get job training, education, or (in a much more competitive environment than we have today), enter the Federal military as a specialist or even officer. The “guardsman” scenario would continue on a “weekend warrior” basis until about age 40. In one fell swoop, you have a means to discipline youngsters wherein so often the parents fail, or, if the young person is a hopeless cause, get rid of them legally. After all, if we’re going to have any military, the nation we “build” should first be our OWN!

          • Just say NO to involuntary servitude! Isn’t 14 years of involuntary attendance “public” schooling enough?

          • I dunno, Doug –

            Maybe within the context of a small country such as Switzerland. But here, this would just further militarize the country, feed the empire’s worst attributes and lead to less liberty rather than more. Just look at civilian “law enforcement” – might as well all be wearing BDUs. Do we really want more “Officer 82nd Airbornes”? Not me!

          • I can understand the reluctance, Eric. We don’t need a BIGGER, BADDER military…we need a decentralized one. There are enemies without and within, but the biggest one within is the one that cement the defacto military occupation of the USA, starting with the erstwhile Confederacy, at Apprommatox Court House on April 9, 1865. It’s a great pipe dream as I don’t see that the military-industrial (Federal) complex is going to legislate itself out of business.
            Ideally, by keeping the bulk of military activity within the USA to the maintenance of the several state militias, we’d have a bulkwark of freedom against federal tyranny. Also, keep in mind a saying of the Japanese Admiral Yamamoto: “If we had invaded America, we would have faced a rifle behind every blade of grass”. Same reason nobody fucks with the Swiss, their militia is readily mobilized, well-trained, and more than sufficient to render an invasion of Switzerland infeasbile. Just ask the Nazis.

    • The pervasiveness of digital electronics has introduced a completely different way of thinking, and a lot of people have lost the ability to think in other ways. The electronic mind-set is command-oriented: it expects a cohesive obedience-response out of a pre-existing response mechanism. The prior mechanical mind-set is quite different. It is hand-manipulation-oriented and expects blind and dumb matter to behave like blind and dumb matter (and to bite you if that is what blind and dumb matter is going to do under the circumstances.)

      The introduction of a prior, prepared, rational response mechanism as a pervasive condition has had a greater effect on popular metaphysics than one might think. We used to understand the world in terms of two classes of stuff: the natural and the artificial. The former was just there; and if it had a sense to it it was the province of the Divine, and not set up expressly for your purposes. The latter was literally man-made; made by beings essentially like you. Now there is a third class of stuff: the corporate-made, that is, stuff made by entities fundamentally unlike you but nevertheless expressly prepared for you to respond to in terms of predefined protocols. And this third class of stuff has been taking over our life-background. And hence the attitude among the young, “You want to farm? Why would anyone want to do that? Don’t you realise that there is such a thing as room service?”

      There is a rich stock of implications there.

  21. Rising population is not the problem; there’s still plenty of room, this is a big country. The problem is the increase in frivolous laws and penalties, and the increased population of enforcers.

    I stopped driving a few years ago because the aggravation was just getting out of hand. ID checkpoints, hostile police officers, red light cameras, exorbitant fines, insurance costs, and the cost of gasoline – it all adds up.

    Red light cams are my favorite peeve. I’ve watched at least one accident and saw the aftermath of several, where the too-brief timing of lights was almost certainly a major contributing factor.

    • Amen, Terry.

      If we still lived in Northern Va., I would probably hang it up, too. It was awful ten years ago. I can’t begin to imagine how bad it must be now. And besides, I am an “enemy of freedom” and so have a real problem with random checkpoints.

    • Really? Rising human population is definitely a major problem in America and the world. You simply cannot stuff ten pounds of shit into a bag made for five and avoid nasty consequences.

      A slow flight across the continent at an altitude of about 1500 will show just how little virgin land remains. The US is now so overcrowded that astronomers in some places are plagued by Light Pollution that interferes with their work.

      There were already too many people a century* ago and it is worse today. Humans today survive by virtue of an Agricultural House of Cards.

      Tinsley Grey Sammons (1936 –)

      *In China there were probably already too many people more than a thousand years ago.

      • Sophisticated virtual reality programs, that’s the answer! Spend your spare time living in a virtual world of your own making, driving the vehicle of your choice, as fast you want wherever you want.

      • Tinsley,
        I think part of our problem is that we are trying to keep shit in a bag, period. ๐Ÿ˜‰
        We should get rid of the shit, and only keep the cream of the crop. ๐Ÿ˜€

        I Like to pretend that would include me, too! ๐Ÿ˜‰

    • I can’t seem to locate it, but there was a study done a year or so ago that found red light cams don’t decrease the number of accidents, just that they go from T-bone and corner-to-corner accidents to rear-end collisions.

  22. Te phenomenon of the young not being as interested in cars any more has being going on for decades. Case in point: in 1993, I was driving from Seattle to Southern California to visit family when, halfway through Oregon, the vacuum-operated valve which shut off hot water to the heat-exchanger for the cabin failed, stuck in the “on” position so that cabin heat was continuous, since the hot water overrode the punier efforts of the air conditioning compressor (not to mention that water has a much higher specific heat than freon)… and the temperature was rising by the mile, with the destination in the frying pan of Los Angeles. Being in a hurry (not to mention being a cheapskate), I simply stopped at a large hardware store, figuring to grab a couple-dollar manual shut-off valve in 5/8″ and shut off the dratted heat temporarily, as I certainly wouldn’t need heat until the return to Seattle and the approach of Autumn required it. Once Fall came, I could simply re-open he valve, buy a new vacuum-operated one from a dealer, or (most likely), spend a pleasant couple of hours communing with my toolbox and fix the original one, perfectly possible since this was a 1969 Mercury. The only thing I needed to verify was that the hardware-store valve would stand near-boiling temperatures.

    This quickly became a problem, which I didn’t understand at first, until I finally realized that of the 30-odd employees in the store,

  23. I just bought a 21 year old Bandit 400 and hopped it up a bit for the same reason as noted in this article…my previous Ducati ST4 and Triumph 600 supersport was simply way too much for the street now.

    Revenue generators are everyone and idiots abound.

    I had this revelation 10 years ago really, and did some amateur road racing with a Yamaha R6 after race prepping it for not a lot of money.

    I’m just too old & busy with kids/my business to even do that anymore. I’ll only drive POS’s on the street from here on out.

    Even if I had the dough for a nice new Mustang I’d never do it. I’d buy a race prepped car instead and track it because as you highlight in your nice writeup-good luck “using” performance on the street anymore.

    Honestly, with my hardcore Anarchist bent I’m tired of handing over property tax money on street vehicles anyway.

    I’d rather have a garage full of track vehicles that aren’t feeding the gov’t parasite problem. My taxes on my Bandit are $20/year. My wife’s 1991 Volvo 740, $20/year. I’ve got a “company” car…but only out of necessity…it was my first “new” car(bought @ 36) and will be my last new car purchase, but at least it gets expensed and serves as a tax reduction.

    I already told the wife that any “nice” street vehicle I indulge in down the road will be an old sports car for the same reasons as above. (low taxes, lower performance threshold, etc.)

    • Me too, Nick.

      I keep antique tags on my old muscle car and only take it out once in awhile. For normal street driving, I have my two (old) trucks and the bike I use most often is my ’83 Honda GL650. It’s not a “get in trouble” bike; it’s dirt cheap to ride – and it’s surprisingly versatile.

      I do have a modded ZRX1200 I can hop on every now and then when I feel the need for speed. Nothing the local oinkers have can touch it!

  24. That’s why my favorite form of transportation in METRO areas I’ve lived in, have been what many people consider underpowered bikes. I’ve had two CX500 motorcycles, the old Ninja 250 and a Ruckus scooter. I would wring their necks just punching it around town and feel like a racing king, while the people in the cars driving those same roads looked comatose.

    If you’re really craving speed without hassle, when I moved from TX to NM, I took the I10 freeway through West Texas, at 110MPH and I found it quite pleasant. I thought my goose was cooked when a state trooper showed up in my rear view mirror, as the speed limit is 80 or 90MPH, but when he passed my car and we locked eyes, he just gave me a mini-salute and drove on.

    • Alex,

      You’re talking my language! I have more fun driving the new economy cars I get to test drive than I do the high-performance cars. Because it’s possible to really drive the little econo-cars without standing out from the crowd too much – lower risk exposure. On the other hand, if you’re at all good behind the wheel, any new performance car will not even begin to challenge you until you’re really moving – at which point, you really stand out – and will be noticed.

      It’s not unlike having a nice .45 auto you can go out in the back yard and plink at cans with vs. owning a bazooka you can only look at.

      • I went from a CBR1000 to a Yamaha 400cc single cylinder scooter and enjoy it a LOT more! Done about everything I can to hot rod it – it’s all in the CVT….and you have to CRANK the throttle. It’s a blast to leave a Harley in my dust from a stop light – with a dang SCOOTER. Runs on regular gas, gets about 55mpg, have yet to bust the $10 mark for a fill-up, top speed clocked at 93mph by GPS – engine was bouncing off the rev-limiter. Cops are all over sport bikes, but ignore scooters.

        • Very true!

          In my work I have the opportunity to drive/ride just about everything. I get a very different reaction from cops depending on what I am driving (or riding). But I am the same guy. So it’s not me – it’s the vehicle. I hardly ever get a look when I am riding, say, my ’83 Silverwing. But if I am on a new R1 or CBR or GSXR… exactly the opposite. Same in cars. A Corvette vs. a Yaris…. not only in terms of being noticed, either. Also in terms of how they treat you when you’re pulled over for something. Expect crucifixion. It gets tiring after awhile…

          • Eric, you are so right. Two days ago leaving work I was in a line of three on a back country road with the two of us in front cruising around 70 (in a 55). Number 3 was dropping back probably running 65 or so when we met Trooper Dickweed doing a little evening revenue collection. He had already slowed down, eyeballed us as we passed, did a yooey and came after us. The truck in front (probably less than 2 y.o.) was a conservative / cop friendly charcoal grey (covered in farm dust to boot). My Miata is fire engine red, but both front fenders are dinged, the paintโ€™s fading on the nose and it is covered in coal dust and pigeon poop (the hazards of a power plant parking lot). The poor sucker riding back door was in a 2012 Dodge Ram Laramie painted Tequila Sunrise Pearl with all that shiny chrome up front saying “Iโ€™ve got money! Pick me! Pick me!” You guessed it; he was the one that got pulled over. You can add this incident to the ever growing list of reasons not to own a new vehicle.

      • During college, my girlfriend and I drove her ’90 Honda Civic all over hell. 4 speed, 1.5L that made 70hp when new, no power steering, nothing much electric and that car is still very fun to drive. It’s a struggle to keep up with people who are just driving normally, which means almost constant hard acceleration. Hard cornering was also a frequent activity. It was inconspicuous until the muffler fell off not too long ago…

      • So true.

        That’s why an “underpowered” inline 4 sports car, especially a traditional wind in the hair roadster such as a Mazda Miata, can paradoxically be more satisfying to drive than an V-12 Ferrari or even a V-8 Shelby.

        One can push an “underpowered” car to its limits without becoming the reluctant star of a “Wildest Police Chase Ever” YouTube video.

        One cannot do that with a more powerful car. Wring out a more powerful car, and before you know it you’re hurtling down the road at twice the speed limit!

  25. People spend $500 a month just to keep the car in the driveway, $100 a month on full-coverage insurance and thousands on rims, stereos and paint jobs and God knows how many hundreds on eating out, entertainment, kitchen renovations, vacations and so on.

    And then they whine about $5 a gallon gas.

    Sometimes I think people like gas to be this “expensive,” because it gives them something to complain about. People love to complain, and fuel prices serve a up a few advantages.

    1: People think they can’t do anything about the price of gas, so they feel free to whine about it.
    2: Whining about gas prices is a stock complaint, so it saves people the trouble of having to be innovative in their complaining.
    3: It reinforces their delusion that their lives suck because of someone else’s evil machinations.

    It’s not cheap gas that’s gone by-by, it’s PERSPECTIVE.

    I, for one, am grateful for the fact that I live in a time and place where toilets and anesthetic are common technologies.

    Besides, the very fact that this website exists for us to comment on means the world doesn’t suck NEARLY as bad as some think it does.

    I’m out.

    • No question, there are countless positive things about the modern era. However, I’d argue that we’re in decline in a number of key areas (liberty being the obvious one) and to a great extent, living off the fumes of previous times. Other than electronic gadgetry, for instance, a lot of real-world technology is either static or in decline. The country isn’t even putting people into low earth orbit any longer! Commercial air travel was faster – and far more pleasant – in 1975 than it is today. The fuel efficiency of modern vehicles is awful – given the available technology.

      But the main thing to gripe about is that our ability to just have some fun is being systematically taken away in the name of “safety.”

      • Remember when folks dressed in business attire or “Sunday best” when taking a flight? Far more dignified than the “great unwashed” being herded like cattle after being poked and prodded by TSA goons, and treated like babies by fifteen-dollar-an-hour twits with as much authority as they’ll ever possess in life.
        When flying, I always get a window seat to appreciate the view that you can only get from up there. But other than that, it’s got all the appeal of a bus ride.

        • HA! Every time I fly I think of one of the last scenes in the movie Casino, when Ace (in voice over) laments the end of the golden age of Vegas and the picture is a bunch of tour bus types (clovers?) walking through the front doors in slow motion.

          “The town will never be the same. After the Tangiers, the big corporations took it all over. Today it looks like Disneyland. And while the kids play cardboard pirates, Mommy and Daddy drop the house payments and Junior’s college money on the poker slots. In the old days, dealers knew your name, what you drank, what you played. Today, it’s like checkin’ into an airport.”

      • Well, since the only way to get back to that state of liberty would be to replace the WHOLE existing system…

        I mean, can you imagine reforming the institutional culture of agencies like the FBI, the IRS, the ATF or Congress, as these things exist today?

        I can’t, and I wouldn’t even try.

        At this point, all we can do is save the heads, intake and fuel pump and roll the rusted-out rest into the lake at three in the morning…

  26. I was always into driving for the pleasure of it. Hell, when I was a baby there were times when the only way to get me to sleep was to put me in the back of their 240Z and go for a spin. Even after leaving the openness of the southwestern deserts and settling in the DC metro area I still had great times going for weekend drives in the areas south and west of town.

    But over the past 10 years that has gone away. As has already been said repeatedly, the combination of heavy traffic and high gas prices have been more deadly than the one-twos that Dom is always offering to teach. Throw in the hefty speeding fines and high “repeat offender” insurance rates I paid for so long and driving just doesn’t interest me as much.

    But riding a motorcycle is a whole different story. Better fuel economy, better performance, cheaper insurance, fast enough to get around slow moving traffic, etc., etc., etc. It is the ultimate in “open air sports car” without any of the downsides.

    • Yup – that’s why I’m nervous. It can’t last much longer (bikes) because there’s no way they’re going to leave the “loophole” open.

      • In 1950 I learned to drive in a ’37 For coupe with a floor shift and a 60 hp V-8 flathead. I once bought gas for 25 cents a gallon during a gas war.

        I remember taking classmate Mildred Wright for a ride one evening. She wore a crinoline skirt and she smelled so good.



        • I can remember gas under $1 – and when they gave you glass sets and other little gifts at the gas station! No seat belt laws. Kids were able to ride – to roll around – in the back seat (flat floor) of big V-8 RWD station wagons.

          All gone, now.

          • Remember though–gas is cheaper today than it’s ever been!

            How do I make such a ludicrous assertion?

            Easy. It costs less than two silver dimes–20c.

            Gas has not gone UP. The dollar has gone DOWN.

            It’s critically important we explain this to people again, and again, and again–for it is only this that lets them see how they’ve been robbed by the central banks.

            If we kill the banks, we win our freedom.

            It is the ROOT of evil–without it, the politicians can’t fund the wars, the welfare, and the endless alphabet agencies.

            It all dries up and blows away.

            Oh and By the way–it’s the central banks that are behind the encroaching tyranny; they’re not just along for the ride.

      • With a standard, a clutch replacement will be necessary sooner or later. Keep the fluid clean in an automatic and don’t dog it and the transmission won’t need to be removed for the life of the vehicle.

        One of the last things a Geezer needs to do is R&I a transmission himself.

        • Well, maybe!

          Some automatics are better than others. And in a modern car with a self-adjusting, hydraulic-assist clutch, it’s fairly common to get 150,000 miles or more on the original factory clutch.

          A thing to know: In many late model cars, a clutch replacement is much less expensive than R&R’ing a croaked automatic. Many of these units (late model computer controlled OD automatics) run $2,000 or more – just for the transmission. Not plus labor to install. A clutch job still costs about $700 on most vehicles.

          • agreed Eric. I just paid $2000 to get the trans in my 2001 Ford Expedition 4×4 overhauled. Ouch! I use that vehicle for servicing the airport. Not only is it durable, and easy to work on, it also looks beautiful enough to give rides to executives in. All in all, a sweet ride.

            No one has mentioned one thing though: when the roads get too heavily patrolled, there is always off-road! Especially out here in the deserts of AZ.

          • It generally doesn’t cost $700 to do a clutch if you do it yourself. The most I’ve ever paid is $300 for the clutch for my son’s ’90 535i.

          • You’re not kidding. The Transmission on our 2001 Odyssey was about $3100 to have rebuilt a couple years after we bought it.

            On the other side the automatic Transmission on my 1995 Corolla has 185k original miles and is still going strong.

            I’ve noticed that you really have to do your research when you choose an automatic these days, some are very good and some are horrible.

            Gone are the day when you just got a TH350/TH400, A727 and knew it was going to be reliable.

            There also seems to be a disturbing trend among some can manufacturers to “repurpose” a transmission designed for a smaller car into a much bigger one which causes a myriad of issues down the road.

            If you have to buy an automatic I do highly recommend getting an aux cooler on your transmission.

      • Thank the automatic transmission for that.
        Where manual transmissions are the rule it isn’t nearly as bad.

      • Oh yeah! Manuals in traffic is pure hell. I drive 50 miles each way to work. The last three miles is usually bumper to bumper. When it’s really bad my knee starts popping.

        • This is why so many current-era vehicles don;t even offer manuals any more. For instance, I don’t think you can buy a 2012 model 1500 series pick-up with a manual. 25 years ago, manuals were the standard unit in 1500 series trucks.

          • Not to mention the fact that calibrating an engine to meet the Fedgov’s smog rules is far easier with a slushbox than with a proper manual.

            Once again, The State creating a problem where none existed…

            AND, the use of slushboxes cut warranty claims down to a MANAGEABLE level, at least if you’re running a car company as if it manufactured diapers or laundry baskets.

            Wasn’t that always a problem with old-type LS6s and 440s? Frame-bending torque eventually fragging clutches, U-joints and ring gears?

            • Yup – that’s been the silent killer of manuals since at least the late 1970s/early ’80s. One of the first casualties being the 1980-1981 Turbo Trans-Am. Pontiac tried and tried to get the 301 turbo V-8/4-speed manual combo compliant with the-then minimalist (compared with today) smog standards but just couldn’t pull it off. Hence, all the production Turbo 301s were fitted with the three-speed automatic, which made them even slower than they would have been otherwise.

          • But look at the irony of that! The great project of the automatic transmission was to broaden the motoring population: which was early on the peculiar agenda of the US motor industry. That is why the pattern developed by the mid-20th century that in any given category a European car was likely to have greater driver appeal than its American counterpart. The European manufacturers were, in those years at least, content with a small local market of people who knew how to drive; the American manufacturers were not. The European manufacturers had to find a niche in an urban context with well-developed prior systems of mobility; the American manufacturers had the opportunity to create an urban context to suit its product, going as far as to dismantle nascent systems of mobility where they found them. The American motor industry has sought the hosts of clovers since the ’30s, for the sake of pure volume. It is not surprising that the automatic transmission should come to be the norm in the American motoring context.

            Of course the rest of the world has since gone down the same path.

      • Even with an automatic, it’s a drag!

        I used to live in Northern Va., and commuted into DC. One stretch – the appx. 10 miles from Sterling (for those who know the area) to Tysons Corner on Rt. 7 – could take an hour, easily. 30-45 minutes being typical. Just creeping along, stop light to stop light, rarely getting much over 40 MPH and never for very long. Torture.

        Now we live 35 miles from “town.” It takes me 20-30 minutes to get there. I often have the road to myself – traffic is maybe two cars up ahead, usually easily passed.

        My BP is way down and I will probably live a lot longer!

    • While I generally prefer stick shifts, I have to admit that Ford did a really good job on the dual-clutch transmission in my wife’s Focus. No loss of torque and it actually does a really good job of being in the right gear at the right times. I would say that there’s -maybe- 5% of the drivers in America who could do a better job of selecting gears.

      • Oh, there’s no question most modern automatics shift with greater precision and efficiency than most human drivers. SMG type boxes are also more consistent in their shifts than a human – even a pro race driver human. But, there is a certain pleasure to be had from doing it yourself. All else being equal, I much prefer a manual.

        But I get why the automakers are moving away from them (fuel efficiency reasons as well as declining demand) and I understand why many people – especially people who live in congested areas – much prefer to have an automatic.

    • Well, you can’t have the missus taking your stick shift to the grocery store, can ya?

      I grew up around auto dealerships. This is how automatics went from being a luxury item to a normal piece of gear.

      • My wife’s car is the stick shift. Before I bought my F350 diesel I test drove a stick. With a red line of 3600 and six gears I just couldn’t see myself doing all of that shifting. The MINI, with a red line of 6800, runs just fine with a stick.

  27. In the overpopulated, congested eastern half of the country it may indeed be “inevitable” that you will be caught if you go over 80. However, there are open areas in the western states where, if you’re careful, you can get away with triple digit bursts. Not for 10 minutes in a row. But several high speed surges over a 4 hour trip.

    It is getting more crowded here too. Don’t try this any longer on I-10 between Phoenix and LA. The trick is finding un patrolled roads that are also straight, wide and flat enough to drive fast safely. Some still exist…and will remain unidentified.

    There are also huge off road areas, where you can drive as fast as you dare, with no fear of encountering any cops, or anyone else. But that can be more dangerous than going 150 on blacktop.

    True, driving is not as fun as it used to be. But it would be inaccurate to say that the thrill is completely gone.

    • There’s even a section of I-15 in Utah (a state known for a large number of state troopers on a very few highways) that’s posted 85. It always puts me in a good mood on the way to Vegas.

    • Even better for me are the twisties in parts of AZ. I don’t live there but when I get the chance to drive my wife’s MINI through I try to pick the gnarliest roads I can find. I one time did 191 (formerly 666) from Clifton to Alpine in just a bit over 90 minutes. 90 miles with half of the ride having a speed limit of 25 and caution signs of 10, and I still averaged 60! It was on a weekday and only came onto one RV the whole way and he quickly got out of my way. I like the Salt River Canyon, as well, but never on a weekend and even weekdays are awful crowded. Including sport bikes that ride so slow that they hold up the MINI.

    • Absolutely there are still areas of the country sufficiently rural to accommodate sustained triple digit speeds. I used to regularly have the Crown Vic wound up to 110 (at the governor) for about 45minutes on highway 116 through Two Buttes, CO. Haven’t had a chance to do it for a few years but it could save about half an hour off the trip to Denver. I will live in a rural enough area to do things like that again.

    • @MikePizzo–I agree. The wife and I sometimes take a trip from Houston to Pensacola–507 miles one way–and we routinely burst into triple digits.

      If you choose your day wisely and the traffic is light, but not too light to provide adequate cover…and you’re armed with a Valentine and a Laser Interceptor…you can achieve some stunning victories over statism.

      Best time? 5 hours, 50 minutes. Do the math; and that included two gas stops.

      Victims along the way? Only pride was slain, no animals were harmed. A Maserati Quattroporte convinced that Italian >> German, and a Mercedes S63 AMG who despite a 100 HP advantage succumbed to his 1000 lb weight disadvantage.

      Surprising and inspiring competition? A frikkin’ JEEP SRT-8 that pulled like a trooper to 150, nipping at my heels the whole way. Father and teenage son grinning like maniacs at the end, thumbs-up exchanged.

      There’s life still in them thar hills. You just have to get a little maverick sometimes to get others to show signs of it, and let them remember it’s OK to have fun sometimes.

        • An e39 M5, lovingly rescued from a Clover owner and put to its REAL purpose in life–kicking ass!

          Seriously the best car I’ve ever owned, and I’ve had some fun ones…original Eclipse turbo, 300ZX twin-turbo chipped to 360hp, original Sentra SE-R, M-Coupe.

          This one’s a little large for my taste but necessary for wife + 2 kids…and yet keeps up with standard 911’s on the track and destroys them on the highway.

          Truly a family hauler with the heart of a supercar!

          • Ah, the M5!

            This goes back a few years… but I can still call up the Technicolor memory whenever I need to:

            I was out with some friends, riding. I was on a VFR (Interceptor; remember that one?) I and my three friends took off down the road – the roads being a largely deserted highway, very straight and so ideal for cleaning the carbs. We passed a small cluster of cars at around 85 or so and then saw complete unobstructed daylight. WOT and the speedo registering almost 140 when a glint of light behind me catches my attention. A car is gaining on us, quickly. Now, anyone who has driven at real speed comprehends the significance of something noticeably catching up to you when you are running 140 MPH. In what seemed like no time at all this navy blue M5 was right on top of us – then past us. And some of us were well over 150 by then. It takes a heapin’ helpin’ of horsepower to smoke sport bikes like that in a four-wheeled anything.

            We caught up to him a few miles down the road. Thumbs-ups were exchanged by all!

  28. It has become such that I cannot enjoy anything transportation related in daylight most of the time.

    I have to wait for most of the clovers to go to bed.

    Even bicycling is something I prefer to do at night now.

    But here’s the problem. People who are out late at night are “bad people” and “bad people” are why we have so many laws. So while ten over clover can speed on his way home from work if he finds the chance it’s something that can get cops’ attention at 1am.

    Then there is the fact that drivers subsidize everything else government does. I’ve argued this for many years because of the simple fact that when government starts to run out of money the first thing they raid are the road funds. Yeah I heard all the same central control BS about driving being a cost to everyone but the math didn’t jive. The road funds always had money for the rest of government to take. Well now it’s fact:

  29. a $30k-something V-8 muscle car that costs $60 to fill-up…

    This, I think, is a point that should also be emphasized when discussing why the younger generation (and many of us oldsters now too) try to avoid cars and driving as much as possible, doing it only when we absolutely have to. With gas prices inching their way up to the inevitable five bucks per gallon mark by mid-summer (and they will get there by then, as has been pre-ordained), gas that is watered down with corn liquor thanks to the agri-lobby, and that provides much reduced mileage per gallon, the un/under-employed, cash-strapped 20-somethings are taking a pass. So too are the older generation, increasing numbers of whom are in much the same boat. Unlike the 70s, when Amerika had not yet begun its descent into socioeconomic collapse, people held out hope for a better future. There isn’t that kind of optimism today, meaning that no one foresees being able spend an excessive amount of money on in the future on things like nice cars and high-octane gasoline.

    Also, there is the “tree-hugger” factor to consider, with increasing numbers of Amoricons, young and old, swallowing, whole, the Green/Envirowhacko BS that cars are the ultimate polluters, something to be despised and avoided as much as possible.

    • Libberanter beat me to it. It’s just not as fun to drive now as it was fifteen years ago when I drove a Skylark that got 10 mpg but hauled ass. I didn’t give a shit then because a gallon of gas cost less than a dollar. Now I get half the fuel for every hour I work but make three times as much money. This is without even considering the fact that I have a wife, kid, and house now, but those are choices, whereas inflation is definitely not.

      Now I drive a little pickup truck that gets double the mileage and I still have to work nearly the first hour of every day in the office just to pay for the round trip, when less than three hours of bagging groceries used to top off the feed for the 350 in the Skylark.

      So even if I had a car that made a trip to the mountains to run the twisties worthwhile, or a run out to the farm valleys with the pancake-flat and stick-straight highways, who the hell can afford it anymore?

      • No question, rising fuel costs are a huge factor.

        It’s one of the reasons I try to ride my bikes as often as I possibly can. Also, one can very easily lose the swine when on two wheels!

      • It seems what Ya’ll be sayin’ is that we be gettin’ old…”Gawd”-Dammit!!!
        Yeah, it’s happened to me too. I have a decent ’95 Mustang with a 5.0 HO, loaded for bear. I hardly ever take the damn thing out. Fortunately, at age 53, with a great driving record and practically every discount on insurance available, can insure it for just about nothing. But that’s what I get out of it. Zilch. Have a kid to raise. Have responsibilities. Want to retire before I croak. The Hot Rod is a distraction and I’m better off to just unload it.
        Besides, today’s pussy-whipped, risk-adverse society has forgotten how to have fun. Which entails risk. Geez, you can’t have Harrison Ford and Cindy Williams nearly get barbecued after (nearly) winning a drag race with Paul LeMat driving his hopped-up Ford Tudor anymore! Never mind that there was a time when ‘American’ football was sixty minutes of legalized ass-kicking, none of this “in the grasp” shit.
        America, reach down and see if ya still got a pair…

        • The males can’t find ’em in their lacy panties…

          And the women have them falling off their chests.

          SERIOUS inversion of reality here – but when’s the last time you talked to a female in the US, that she didn’t sound like she was REALLY angry, or ready to kick your ass?

          No cajones here – but LOTS of chesticles.

    • Just so everyone knows, with the price of oil as high as it is, the U.S. is back to being one of the top 5 exporters. When it went sky-high in 2008 all the wells here were pumping like crazy. When the price went temporarily off the cliff, the pumps were shut back down. Now they’re running again. More money, and more jobs.

  30. US population 310,000,000 and rapidly increasing. More freedoms and pleasure are going to be eliminated by overpopulation.

    The US population has more than doubled since the end of WWII.

    Age was not the only reason I quit riding motorcycles. I had to spend too much time avoiding injury or death and not enough time just enjoying the ride.

    I also lost interest in my guns and shooting about forty years ago. Even then it was becoming difficult to piss in the woods out of the sight of other human beings. Instead of going OUT for a little solitude I now have to stay IN. Even then silence is impossible to experience simply because there are people and their machines everywhere.

    It may never actually be like Soylent Green but regularly enjoying outdoor solitude is surely a thing of the past.

    Throw it in the woods? Hell, the woods are already full.

    Tinsley Grey Sammons (1936 –)

    • I would argue that it’s not overpopulation, but under-representation that is the main issue. The magic 435 number that hasn’t changed since the Hoover administration. It makes it too easy to get fussbudgets and clovers to push for idiot-protection-from-themselves laws that have no place in a free society. You and I don’t have time to attempt to contact our “representative,” but they do. And many of these laws are presented as “so-and-so’s daughter would still be alive today if only…” and there’s no way to argue against it without being made out to be an ogre.

      People choose to live jam-packed into cities. True there are more opportunities, but that’s been changing. I have the same selection of merchandise at my fingertips as everyone else, for less money, and the only trade off is I have to wait a day or so. I may have to settle for watching movies a few months after they’re in the theater, but I guarantee I have a better seat (and can pause and rewind if I get distracted).

      • I think it was Will Rogers who said concerning real estate that, “They ain’t making any more of it.”

        Some natural treasures and resources have been wiped out longer than most folks know or can imagine. An example is the giant cypress. Fifteen hundred year old trees that were logged out by 1910 . . . the year my father was born. Gone forever. Where is the wood today?

        For an entire summer I operated a small towboat maneuvering shell barges on the Blind River that runs into Lake Maurepas northwest of New Orleans. The river is lined with cypress stumps so big you could park a car on them. Some of those trees were young during the Battle of Hastings in 1066. At times it would make me nauseated with rage just thinking about it.

        Tinsley Grey Sammons (1936 –)

        • True story:

          I was out jogging one fine day along the Blue Ridge Parkway (we live almost walking distance away). Some asshole breeders (you’ll see why I use the pejorative) in their SmooooVeee pulled into the parking lot of the overlook. A magnificent vista. Assholes proceeded to lay out their picnic of processed/crap foods, including plastic cups and cutlery. I just felt what was coming somehow, and waited for it. As I did my laps, I watched these ugly, obese “consumers” consume. Then I watched as they packed up their SmooooVee, leaving all their debris of their picnic – including their stinking crotchfruit’s used diaper – right there on the grass. I saw red. I was ready to beat them to death. They were pulling out of the overlook as I got back to my bike – which I had left parked there when I began my run. Unfortunately, it was my little 250 cc dual sport. The SmoooVee had already left by the time I got on the bike and out of the parking lot myself – hot on their trail. I was not able to catch up. Which is probably a good thing because I probably would have assaulted them. Instead, I had to go home, get the truck, come back and clean up their crap.

          Filthy god-damned animals. No, worse. Animals are innocent creatures that don’t shit all over a beautiful place on purpose. Only a human being can do that.

          • Agreed on that comment regarding human “animals” that give furry critters a bad name. Here in Florida the same shit happens on some of the little coastal islands (mostly parks)in greater Tampa Bay where the rent-a-boat folks leave tons of cheap trashed tents, styrofoam coolers and bbq grills,just because they don’t FREAKING feel like packing the crap back up and tossing it in the dumpster back at the marina.

          • Eric: A lady that works at Target, said women and kids go in the restroom, leave crap on the counter when there is trashcans right there. Parents obviously failed in raising these adult slackers; ditto trash in parking lots of stores and restaurants, etc. My generation got spanked and had to do chores and clean our rooms, learn how to cook and clean. Not today.

            • Yup. I don’t like to generalize, but it’s pretty clear that more of the worst type are breeding while fewer of the better type are electing to do so. For the obvious reasons: There is every incentive for the irresponsible and unintelligent to reproduce. And numerous disincentives for the responsible and intelligent not to. I regard this as deliberate policy. Because the system of government we have requires a dumbed-down, violent Mass. An educated, thoughtful citizenry capable of seeing through the BS – that values its liberties more than promises of panem et circensum – is the mortal enemy of the system we have and so must be decimated.

          • There are many species of bacteria and other microorganisms that reside within the human body. In fact, 90-95% of the cells in your body are microbes. Some of these symbionts are necessary for your health. Others are just freeloaders called commensal organisms.
            The most abundant cell in your body is not human, but rather a type of methane generating archaeon in your digestive tract that breaks down new and old food intake and keeps enough pressure going to move everything through so you don’t die from constipation.
            Every breath you take is part of an ongoing struggle to keep your human tissue functioning, while also keeping all these foreign tissue partners and freeloaders in check as well.
            Clothes, washing machines, money, dishes, dishwashers, keyboards, furniture, the more possessions you own, the more you are awash and surrounded by quadrillions of micro-organisms.
            There are 230 different human tissue types, but they are a tiny minority in comparison to all the various microbes. The greatest concentration of foreign bodies being your gut flora, which can be thought of as the “forgotten” organ.

            Though people can survive without gut flora, the microorganisms perform a host of useful functions, such as fermenting unused energy substrates, training the immune system, preventing growth of harmful, pathogenic bacteria, regulating the development of the gut, producing vitamins for the host such as biotin and vitamin K, and producing hormones to direct your human tissue to store fats. (We take orders from microbes!)

            The gastrointestinal tract of a normal fetus is sterile. Due largely to our heavily material lifestyle, during birth and rapidly thereafter, bacteria from the mother and the surrounding environment colonize the infant’s gut. Immediately after vaginal delivery, babies will have bacterial strains derived from the mothers’ feces in their upper gastrointestinal tracts. Vaginally born infants take about three weeks for their intestinal microflora to be well established.

            After birth, countless other environmental, oral and cutaneous bacteria are readily transferred from the mother to the infant through suckling, kissing, and caressing. All infants are initially colonized by large numbers of E. coli and streptococci. Within a few days, your bundle of joy’s bacterial numbers reach 108 to 1010 per gram of feces.

            During the first week of life, these bacteria create a reducing environment favorable for the subsequent bacterial succession of strict anaerobic species. Breast-fed babies become dominated by bifidobacteria, possibly due to the contents of bifidobacterial growth factors in breast milk. In contrast, the microbiota of formula-fed infants is more diverse, with high numbers of Enterobacteriaceae, enterococci, bifidobacteria, Bacteroides, and clostridia.

            Human beings are literally full of shit, with only about 5-10% of cells being human non-shit tissues.

          • Blue Ridge Parkway–one of the most beautiful sections of the United States (I was born in Asheville, N.C. but live in Los Angeles, now.) Those people leaving trash at that overlook, which I think is–I have that kind of thing right here in my own nearly block-sized apartment complex. I used to have the misfortune of having a parking spot one space over from the garbage dumpster. People here would throw out old furniture (against the lease), piling it all around the dumpsters. One body-fluid-soaked mattress smelled so bad I’d nearly vomit when I got near it. The garbage men do not take furniture, so it would sometimes hang around for months. In early January, those of us who had to park on that end of the lot had to clear away tinsel-covered Christmas trees in order to be able to drive to work in the morning. But lately, I’ve noticed that the slimeballs who live here (how do these low-lifes afford the $1,600 a month rent?) now have topped even the dumpster trashing–they just put their garbage outside their front door, so now all the walkways are extended garbage dumps; they’re too lazy to even take it down to the dumpsters. Those who worry when our society will finally collapse–it already has and this, to me, is the sure sign of it.

          • Tom O, it sounds like the owners of the place have taken in people who’s rent is paid (at least in part) by the government (with the monies extracted from the productive of course).

            This is something I learned through experience. There are renters who are often bad enough but then there are the ones that don’t even pay with their own money. Many of them act as you describe.

            Government is a de-civilizing force and most people refuse to see it.

          • BrentP–You may have pegged it. There is a tenant I know who told me she is paying $800 a month rent (exactly the same amount as what she says she takes in from social security), half of what I am paying, due to some government program I am not familiar with. She’s an older lady and is one of the good ones, though, having come from an era where people cared about their neighbors, but your point for sure could apply to so many of those others, who really have no “stake” in the place.

          • With my experience the old people who moved in when the building was new and they not so old were fine. They treated the place like they owned it.

      • Hot-Damn! Brother! I entirely agree that the 435-member House of Reps is about a century obsolete, for a country less than half of today’s population. The original intent of the House, being considered as representing the interests of the people at large (hence why it varied according to the respective body counts of the several states), was to be a body of “civic-minded” part-timers, who would leave their farms or businesses (or be a professor taking a sabbatical) and serve one or two terms at most. It was NEVER envisioned by the founders to be the self-perpetuating monstrosity with a job security that even the Federal civil servants that it funds don’t enjoy, let alone the cushy retirement benefits after minimal service!
        Ok, I’ll cut to the chase. How to change the House? Make it so that each Congressional district is no greater than 300K persons but no less than 200K. Also impose districting standards of adhering to county lines, rivers, mountain ranges,and other boundaries that define local communities. Let alone a geometric standard (ergo, anything more than a polygon with an aspect ratio greater than 3:1 should be a virtual flunk). With the current US population of just about 312 million souls (geez, it wasn’t that long ago that we surpassed 300 million!), this would yield about 1,250 districts, give or take 25. Perhaps a statutory limit of no greater than 5% of the formula (US Pop/250K) would be needed for the number of districts. Then, what about the representatives? Simple. The job is UNPAID. Or the proverbial “dollar a year”. Sure, there’d be sufficient travel expenses and enough of a budget for a local office, a decent HOTEL (like a Residence Inn) in DC while in session in Congress, and that’s IT. And NO pension. Let those that originate spending and taxation bills have to get by on Social (In)Security, other pensions, both public and private that may or may not be back by the PBGC, and so on. I’m not necessarily in favor of a Federal mandate on term limits but if the several states want to do so for their reps (to ensure turnover), they’re welcome to do so.
        Sure, this huge gaggle of a Congress would be delightfully noisy, boisterous, and probably a hell of a lot more innovative than what we’ve got now. Plus, by taking a great deal of the self-interest (I haven’t addressed graft, but with the lesser likelihood of career Congresspersons, the ability of lobbyists to throw money at the politicians could w/o doubt be greatly reduced). Finally, I’d have this body have yet one more role: A greater role in the Electoral College, which would also be revised. That is, the voters in a given Congressional district would have their tally represented regardless of which party wins that district. Then the state as a whole would have a given, fixed number of electors per state sent on the basis of the plurality winner. Finally, there’d be another group of electors, whose number equals the number of Congressional seats, apportioned according to the vote tally (so that a so-called third party candidate, if his/her portion equals at least one rep’s worth of the state’s share, gets at least that electoral vote – this would give even third parties a decent shot at being the “king makers”).
        We can still keep the Senate at a fixed two per state as an August body. Just kill the 17th Amendment. The states are sufficient to figure out how to appoint or elect Senators.

        • Doug, I think we can slice an dice this subject lots of different ways, but in the end the problem is you can’t have any sort of representational democracy in a political group larger than a few hundred, maybe a few thousand. When the Declaration of Independence was signed the entire State of New York had around 5000 people.

          Constitutional republics run as representational democracies just don’t scale up because people’s needs are too diverse. I live in a county of around 300,000, about 80% of whom live in a single large city, the remaining 20% are spread out over 700 square miles of virtual wilderness. There’s no way the values and priorities of the apartment dwellers are going to match those of a smallholder raising horses and turkeys out in the sticks; they’re ever going to agree. I pay taxes to maintain sidewalks in a city I visit once a month. I have my own well and septic tank. I’m over an hour from the nearest hospital and I effectively don’t have police or fire support. I’m 23 miles from the closest High School. It’s really hard for me to be happy about paying taxes to support those things.

          This is one of the *big* tricks in the bag totalitarians lug around with them; make the electorate so large no one is represented, giving the bureaucrats control by default.

          Organizations larger than a small city can’t be representational democracies. The State of California is too big to be a functional organization, the Federal Government is absolutely ridiculous. I don’t care *how* many Congresscritters there are, the idea won’t *ever* work.

          • I have to agree with you that having more representatives wouldn’t work. But here’s a thought: Let’s turn the White House into a museum. Get rid of the oval office and let all the reps telecommute. We have the technology, we have video conferencing; make the reps LIVE in the places they represent. Let them live among their constituents. No more fancy dinners in D.C., no more expensive hotels & resorts. I’d like to see how much influence these lobbyists have when the reps get their homes egged & t-peed by their constituents for screwing the people they’re suppose to be representing to get money from big-interests. I know it’s just a pipe-dream & it would never happen, but I can dream, can’t I? ๐Ÿ™‚

          • You have a point about “DiverseShitty”, Scott, but we can’t go back. Let’s face it. If somehow New York had remained with just 5,000 souls, and the remaining colonies likewise, we’d have long been overrun, probably by Mexico (not unlike until recently, for the first time in history more are going from the US to Mexico than vice versa!).
            This might be an argument then, for rendering the country more like what it was under the Articles of Confederation. That is, was then 13 (now would be 50) effective independent nations, without the ability to enforce the other’s will, either singularly or collectively, by force of arms (ol’ Dishonest Abe showed how in only 90 years that had changed). With more events driven by technology and economic forces FREELY derived rather than from the top down by a crushing Federal Government, why would we need much of anything other than a mechanism for mutual defense? Hypothetically, the several states could even contract that out, like in the Star Wars post-Empire Universe where much of the New Republic’s success lay in offering military protection and gaining economic benefit, without undue interference, both due to ideology on the Republic’s part and the express wishes of the locals to govern themselves as much as possible.
            However, don’t confuse a “democracy” with a republic. The former isn’t necessarily just, as in when two wolves and a sheep vote on what to have for dinner. The latter works only if the republic is in the role of the servant of its constituent parts rather than the master. As I’ve cited before, Dishonest Abe turned that principle on its head with the Army of the Potomac.

          • Dottie,

            That is not fair. It is much easier for lobbyists if all of the representatives are located in one location. Otherwise it might require many more lobbyists than are currently employed. (Actually that might encourage job creation.)

          • I remember a blurb on LRC about the subject of congressional representation not too long ago. If representatives were still apportioned according to the original formula in the Constitution there would be something like 12,000 representatives today. The logical result being the United States wouldn’t exist as we know it today. It would have long since broken up into smaller parts. If only…

        • Why not just pass a Stick-A Fork-In-It,-It’s-Done amendment. This amendment would prohibit any new laws for the next 50 years, however, the legislature could REMOVE any laws they want on a vote of 1/3 of the representatives and NO signature from the governor (or President in a Federal case)
          Or better yet, just abolish the whole damn thing.

    • T. Sammons: I agree, was born in ’45 lived in major cities, now live in medium sized one, moved from crowded Florida thirty years ago. More quiet in the house or early in the day at a local park. We would never go back to motorcycles like in the 70’s. Way too much traffic. Over population means no future for younger people not enough jobs to go around and open border folks taking jobs. We never raised kids, we saw this coming forty years ago.

      • Im sorry you have such a pitiful outlook on life… and over population is a relative term. There are over 5 acres of land for every single person on earth and most like to live in cites or with other people. So EVERY family of 4 could have 20 acres without a single city.

        • Don Foster: you must live in a remote area/small town and haven’t been around. If you can’t/won’t see overpopulation crisis and the depletion of natural resources over the decades, (this is not about available land for people to live on) then you are living in a vacuum. Go to: Frosty and read his articles.

          • Overpopulation is part of the fraud of those who wish to manage the planet and everyone’s lives in fine detail. Each one of the frauds, is designed to scare us into obeying the experts. Who are the experts? They are people in the employ of the wealthy control freaks (through one mechanism or another).

            The word “technocrat” has become part of the mainstream now. It was something I had only heard with regards to HG Wells’ “Things to Come” in class on science fiction. Well… what this science fiction was doing was to tell us the plan. Life ruled by experts. But before we get there comes world war and disease to cull the population.

            The simple fact is that if people’s creativity was let loose, that is freedom, prosperity around the world would increase and population would stabilize. It is being poor that requires lots of offspring. Once people aren’t poor any longer they don’t have as many kids. Simple as that. There’s no need for force or management or anything else. But we won’t see the control freaks allowing the third world to develop, allowing the increase in wealth. What we do see is tragic ‘mistakes’ in vaccines their various NGOs give out that result in sterilization and other forms of population reduction.

            John Lennon seemed to have understood the basics of the topic:

            However the control freaks do not want other people to live well. As they see it, the planet’s resources are for them and them alone. And that includes any of us who remains alive.

          • Overpopulation is just another Elite meme; it’s pure unadulterated bullshit.

            You could fit everyone in the world in Texas and have 1200 square feet. Dismal? Yeah maybe that’s a bit crowded. So spread them out over the world and, as Donald notes, every family gets 20 acres.

            I could live on 20 acres with my wife and two kids; hell, probably even feed us even with my poor gardening skills.

            Scarcity memes are one of the PTB’s techniques for herding us.

            And, as a nice side effect, a way of lending support for the REAL reason they want to convince us of scarcity: depopulation, which is their nice word for democide. There’s a strong eugenics streak there, too.

    • Sorry. Just because so many crowd into the Eastern half of the country, and a smaller number but equally as crowded swarm to the West Coast, doesn’t mean the country is “overpopulated”. Where I live you can find places where you can drive for hours and see virtually no signs of human life.

      Unfortunately so many laws are passed for those in far different situations.

    • I was born in ’75 and I think it’s gotten a lot worse since I was a kid.

      I’ve lived all my life in a rural part of Illinois, I’m 37, and I’m pretty sure I can still count the number of times I’ve used high-beams in the minutes.

      I live just minutes away from a national forest, and yeah, like you say, just try to get some peace and quiet there. No pissing in the woods, there.

      Drive fast? Hey, people do it all the time, and get away with it. No, really! Even here in police-happy Illinois, it’s entirely possible to go more than 20mph over the speed limit without going to court. More so now that the state is broke. And just try to keep your speed within 20mph of the speed limit on Chicago freeways and tollways. I took the family to Orlando last year, and the same was true in Nashville and especially Atlanta. Just don’t do it on the relatively empty rural roads; too many tractors and older folks who get nervous once the car is going faster than 45mph.

      Statistics even show that the average person drives more.

      Around here, people got so car-happy that some of my semi-retired neighbors would drive up and down the road a dozen or so times a day, just to do something. Now they don’t. Oh, I know, this is a good way to invite people to bash Obama for a trend that started in the early 2000s and rose 10% every year for several years. We don’t have Russia holding our prices down anymore. Not everyone is unhappy about it, though; with prices high, our local product is price-competitive enough to make it worth pumping again. Yay for the free market?

      And it’s pretty clear who the modern muscle cars are built for, and it’s not my generation. Hell, it’s wasted on the Boomers, now; I got stuck behind a Challenger the other day that was driving 40 in a 55mph zone. Grey-haired feller looked like he was enjoying putting along in his bitchin’ ride, that’s for sure. It made me want to cry about as much as Cadillacs with Northstars going 45 did 15 years ago.

      • I was going to add that, among people I know who are younger, they own a car because they HAVE to have one. If you HAVE to have one, what fun is it? Some folks wouldn’t have one if they didn’t need it, simply because of the liability. I got burnt on cars thanks to Chevy and Dodge putting out such junk back in the 90s. I hypermile a Honda hybrid now. Complain to the government about high gas prices if you want; I took responsibility for my expenses.

        And about people choosing to live in cities: yes, they do, out of necessity; and no, they don’t. They do because that’s where the jobs are, but “in the city” has a different definition now. 60 years ago that would have been IN the city. The closest city to me is St. Louis, which has, in numbers, shrunk drastically. There’s no lack of cars there, though, and here I sit, 100 miles away, and there are people HERE who actually DRIVE to St. Louis every day. Forget 50 miles, that’s 100! The towns that are 50 miles away and closer keep growing every year. Shrinking? St. Louis is GROWING! It’s just that the actual incorporated city is shrinking. Many U.S. cities are like that; instead of growing upwards, they’re growing outwards and with them more driving.

        • For Chicago “must live in the city” is a frequent dating requirement. By that these women mean in the popular neighborhoods. The one I lived in, despite being five minutes from the Loop would not qualify ๐Ÿ™‚

          Essentially for Chicago, “the city” is becoming residential and entertainment outside the Loop and a few other locations. Jobs making stuff are out in the burbs.

      • A few years ago I am taking the shortcut home from work. This involved two stop signs. One crossing a busy road, the other turning left on to one. Get someone timid and the shortcut was ruined. So I am stuck behind this geezer driving a big early 80s caddy. After he missed three chances to go at the first stop light I pressed the horn for each one he failed to go for. After about 3 or 4 at the second stop sign he gets out of his car and walks over to me and askes what my problem was. I told him, ‘you have a V8, use it’. Next opening he comes practically to the traction limit of that old boat and makes the turn.

    • Not that I wouldn’t mind a little extra space to stretch out my legs…but you might be surprised to know that you could theoretically take every person on earth give him/her a room in a 4 bedroom house (4 people per home) on a 1/4 arce and fit them all into Alaska (Do the math if you’d like). Granted you would be a little cramped up there, but you would have the REST OF THE WORLD completely open and free. So “overpopulation”? Depends on how you look at it.

  31. ” Result: People drive slow in cars built to go very fast โ€“ a form of torture unique to our time.”

    I like that comment, and I think it is true.


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