Grokking the Con

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Anyone who hasn’t grokked the con by now is probably a hopeless case. Tesla has been in “business” for going on 15 years and still loses money despite taking billions.

Ask yourself what kind of “business” gets propped up by the government for that long – and what it implies about the reasons for propping it up.

Tesla’s purpose isn’t crony capitalism/rent-seeking, except incidentally.

Its purpose was to habituate the public to the EV as a “normal” car. As the inevitable replacement for our current (IC) cars.

To get the public used to hearing about and seeing electric cars. And most of all, to sex them up.

This was also done in order to nudge the car industry into the Electric Car Era – to nudge it into committing billions to EV development, which has happened. So as to mainstream EVs.

To make them seem The Future – and  IC-powered cars so yesterday.

Note that all of this came from above – as opposed to organically, from below.

You see, it was determined more than 40 years ago that IC-powered cars had to be gotten rid of – at least, for the masses.

But how to do this?

Americans loved their cars and though the affection has waned, they still do. Cars are mobility – which is another aspect of freedom. Come – and go – as you like, on your own schedule – and on the spur of the moment.

IC cars are not tied to umbilical cords – and older IC cars are completely under the control of their owners.

You perhaps see the problem . . . from a certain point of view.

Except for a brief moment at the very dawn of the car age, EVs  haven’t been able to compete with gas and diesel-powered cars in terms of their economics or their practicality. Only a small handful of quirky (and affluent) people would freely choose to spend 50-plus percent more to buy an EV that goes half as far as an IC-powered car and needs at least 5-6 times as long to recharge as an IC-powered car takes to refuel.

The market for EVs as they are – as opposed to how they are hyped – is extremely small.

The first attempt at purveying EVs via major car companies such as GM (the EV-1/Impact of the mid-1990s) and Ford (Ecostar) failed as badly as a cannonball trying to float.

As long as gas prices stayed affordable, so IC-powered cars would always remain preferable to EVs, because of their superior versatility and convenience.

And gas became even more affordable, despite occasional price burps upward that were due to market manipulations, not diminishing supply. It had been hoped that the proletariat – that’s us – could be nudged out of their cars by the phantom menace of Peak Oil.

But production kept increasing and that con came undone.

The new con was – is – environmental.

Our cars weren’t going to be sideline by lack of fuel. But our cars were choking the life out of the planet, it was asserted.

Suffocation was imminent.

But that con fell apart, too – or at least, began to look obviously sketchy, even to the average useful idiot. Smog disappeared. Decades ago. Anyone could smell that modern IC cars were – and are – extremely “clean.” So clean that controlling emissions – in the usual sense – had become a regulatory non sequitur. Angels dancing on the head of a pin stuff.

So a new “emission” was invented – along with a new con to accompany it.

Carbon dioxide – and “climate change”!

The latter being rebranding of “global warming,” which had to be airbrushed over because the prophesied warming became cooling. The hot summers of the ’90s gave way to the cooler winters of the 2000s.

Time for a marketing reboot.

Climate change fit the bill because no matter how warm or cold it got the blame was still there. It was easy to use the digital-age 24/7 captive media to beat up hysteria by daily alarmist reporting about a hurricane happening somewhere. Or a flood or drought or some other thing. It’s a big planet and something not-pleasant, meteorologically speaking, is certain to be happening in some corner of the world at almost any given moment.

It it didn’t matter that all of it was within the normal spectrum of a climate that has been changing for billions of years. People bought this con – and that gave EVs the political pretext necessary to obviate the market obstacles.

This time, EVs would be mandated – and subsidized. To prevent the climate from changing.

People would – in time – no longer be free to not buy them. And they would be forced to finance them right away.

Enter Elon.

A hip, young – well he was, 15 years ago – Tech Dude of the type worshipped by Millennials especially. He would do what ossified Detroit could not: Build planet-saving electric cars.

Of course, he would get “help” – from Uncle.

The very same Uncle, it must be said, who “helped” Elon’s “social media” friends take over and Thought Police digital-age communications. Not coincidentally, it has become “dangerous and derogatory” to “deny” – that is, to question – the “climate change” catechism. To write unflattering truths about electric cars, such as their much-reduced range when it gets cold out and their much shorter economically useful lives, because of the inherently early death of their batteries relative to the EV itself – and the economically untenable replacement cost of the battery vs. the depreciated value of the EV itself.

Well, Elon got his ticket – and we are taking the ride.

The EV pushers who also control the levers of macht – of power; it sounds so much better in German – decreed that EVs must be built and that those who did not build them must buy “credits” from those who did.

That would be Elon.

Elon, meanwhile would make flashy promises and produced some flashy EVs. Note the flashy part.

Not  practical or efficient.

But flashy. Fast, gadgety. Hip, virtue-signaling.

And just as functionally gimped – and economically insane – as ever.

We are almost there now. EVs are within a couple of years of becoming the only cars we’ll be allowed to buy and possibly also to drive. The IC car restricted areas – and outright bans – that are already being imposed in Europe are going to be imposed here. The government won’t have to resort to physically taking away IC cars; people just won’t be allowed to use them. Lawn art, garage sculpture.

The Motor Law – for those who get the reference.

And Elon will have served his purpose. Tesla will likely shut down soon – because Tesla will no longer matter.

Got a question about cars – or anything else? Click on the “ask Eric” link and send ’em in!

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123 COMMENTS

  1. Another thing that shows the engineering skipping of steps over at Tesla Motors from the latest episode of richrebuilds: https://youtu.be/o-7b1waoj9Q?t=523 (at 8:45). Tesla Motors use a memory chip soldered on to the board that can only do a finite number of writes before its dead. Then they have written to A LOT. So the chip fries after about four years. When it fries the car is dead. The official and only repair accessible to most people is $2000+. The guy in the video will replace the chip. But that surface mount small soldering. A learned skill.

    If incompetence couldn’t explain this one it would be to make the car disposable. And ‘buy a new one’ is exactly what people would think if it were anyone else. Where’s Ralph on this? Where are the “consumer advocates”? No where to be found. If Ford or GM tried this there would be screaming, congressional investigations, etc. Tesla? Crickets.

  2. Nunzio, that’s why they had a guy stay up to run off anyone who wanted to park on that side of the street and that half of the block. Since only the few who own cars who live in the Village would park there, it was just a matter of maintaining the continuity of the space where there was plenty of it.
    It was easy to get the parking on the other end because of the intimidation value of a nearly 100 foot long tractor-trailer on new arrivals. After I was in the space, the same guy who had stayed up to keep the earlier one open spoke to everyone who parked in front of me and let them know that their car might be damaged when it was time for me to leave. We wound up with a little cutie who drove a little British sports car and worked in an office across the street. He got her number and called her when I was ready to leave. She was amazed by the ability to maneuver a truck in such tight spaces and stuck around to watch me leave, shooting me a thumbs up as I cleared the intersection. I was amazed by how easy New Yorkers were to intimidate at intersections. I just button-hooked my way to the highway without anyone trying to pass on my blind side.

  3. Resistance is Futile. You will Assimilate. You will do what the mentally retarded Puerto Rican ex-bartender tells you to do.

    • I can understand why you are so compliant since you can only relate to her via ad hominem.
      She wouldn’t be any harder for me to relate to than any other actor or talking head that I dealt with when working as a cameraman. Most of them know that you can make them look and/or sound pretty bad in the editing suite, so they treat you with respect. She was chosen from a bunch of wannebe actresses, so just think of her s being good at following her script and you won’t have any problems.

  4. Rush – Red Barchetta

    My uncle has a country place
    That no one knows about
    He says it used to be a farm
    Before the Motor Law…

  5. you may think you’re freest
    inside of your prius
    inside of your honda
    that you’re so, oh,fond of
    but back in the day
    with v8s on display
    we got the chicks
    hip,hip and hooray!!

  6. As to how Tesla can stay operating despite losing billions, well, Elon Musk is a billionaire (software later to become PayPal) and he has a good line of credit. Worth about $2 billion or so. So he can keep Tesla afloat himself along with investors.

    Much of the Chinese economy works the same way. Firms lose money but government backed banks keep lending and don’t foreclose. That is the Tesla model, though here the banks seem willing to lend themselves and now Tesla has many investors whose money is at risk.

    Tesla can’t fully succeed in the long run w/o a better battery and range. In Texas that 300 mile range is a joke. Plus the slow recharge factor. And electric power isn’t free either. And terrible resale value. Etc.

    I read where Musk is predicting (again!) that he has some new gimmick. A “new chip” supposedly will make Teslas into autonomous driving taxis, like Uber w/o a person at the wheel. Says that’s up for next spring. He seemed to be serious. After reading that I pondered how to sell Tesla shares short…

    • The dude is being a hypocrite. He went on Rogan and talked about how we’re basically past the event horizon of A.I. taking over and eventually killing us, yet he wants to facilitate and perpetuate that by deploying his imperfect technologies out in the real world, any casualties being broken eggs for the omelet I guess. I don’t remember if his statements on Rogan were before or after the hit though.

      • Brandon, it wasn’t long ago he was warning of AI. I guess those last several losing quarters changed his mind.

        • I’ve been using robots for my entire life and they have always been programmed. The only thing that has changed is the ability to modify the programming by AI algorithms, and if you give an AI algorithm any more authority than a pet or a child, you deserve everything that might happen to you.
          Those who have never written a mainframe computer program make very inept judges of the capability of AI algorithms.

    • E-loon Musk[rat] is so full of shit, he could run for president…and win.

      And the public is so gullible, they keep believing the lies…just as they do with the politicians. We live in an idiocracy.

      Meanwhile, have they even noticed that Tesla has apparently scrapped the electric semi truck, which was going to be “revolutionizing the trucking industry”? LOL!!!!

      But not only does the public believe…they even INVEST in this bankrupt company, which is given BILLIONS of dollars of THEIR money via Uncle, and STILL can’t make a profit nor a truly stand-alone successful product!

      The utter insanity of these times!!!!!

      • Not to nit-pick, but he’s South African so he can’t run for president. Full of shit isn’t a constitutional requirement, though I’ll concede that it sure helps people get the job.

        • That didn’t stop Obama. Nor will it stop Cruz, Rubio, or Harris.
          The Constitution is so well ignored that lip service is the only service it serves.

          • Hey Vonu,

            Well, the much expanded interpretation of the commerce clause seems to be doing OK.

            Cheers,
            Jeremy

        • Well then, E-Loon would be our second “African-American” president! I’ll bet he can lie just as good as Obammy; and he’s already familiar with being on the dole….. Makes wild claims that he can’t fulfill…… can turn billions into a deficit….. The guy was born for the job!

    • Musk is doing much better with SpaceX because he can out-compete Boeing and Lockheed with technology and limited bureaucracy that doesn’t have to kowtow to NASA or Roscosmos.

  7. Global Warming: High tech doomsday cult. Send me $20 or 12 years from now you will be dead. Send payments to latestdoomsdaycult.com
    So, what about the inconvenient fact that manufacturing these batteries makes more CO2 than an IC engine does over it’s entire lifetime?

    • Hi Johnny,

      It’s all part of the plan. The “emissions” issues associated with EVs are well-known; they’re just being ignored . . . for now.

      Wait.

      If EVs ever replace IC cars, then the “emissions” problems will all of a sudden be noticed.

    • And they conveniently ignore the fact that generating the electricity to charge said EVs creates the same or more emissions as an IC engine…..they’re just relocating those emissions to a remote location- ’cause if the dummies can’t see/smell them, they obviously don’t exist, and therefore, their cars are “clean and green”.

  8. You gotta hand it to Elon. He’s not only good at getting money out of the government and other Corporations using the strong arm of said government, but he somehow is able to bamboozle it out of investors as well. The religions fervor of Elon’s fanboys is also remarkable.

    • It’s not all remarkable. Once you’re a billionaire getting money out of government is pretty easy. Remember lobbying returns something like $750 for every dollar spent. It’s the minimum buy-in and getting listened to in the first place that’s tough. The investors in a time of ZIRP, LIRP, QE etc isn’t all that difficult either once you’re a billionaire.

  9. The Law of Survival and Natural Selection: What tends to work tends to survive. What doesn’t tend to work tends not not survive. All the coercive government in the world cannot make socialism work, it cannot make the EV more versatile and practical than IC. Eventually winter comes in places like the north east, the midwest, the Rocky Mountains.
    A standard of living sustained by the IC cannot survive when less efficient and practical vehicles are mandated by authority. Global Warming mystics make out like kings on the con…until the day they demand people give up their furnace in the dead of winter. At that point, they find out, just as Marie Antoinette did, just how funny it is to tell people to just eat cake. We don’t need faith in leaders; we just need to understand how reality works. The con is not sustainable, to turn the concept on the con artists.

  10. gtc, a strange coincidence, but an electrical wind generation company NE of Big Spring, Texas on FM 669 has an almost identical emblem on their building. The first time I saw it I wondered if there was a connection between it and TMC.

  11. It was a beautiful day, the sun beat down
    I had the radio on, I was drivin’
    The trees went by, me and Del were singin’
    Little runaway, I was flyin’

    ‘Nuff said.

  12. The agenda in place is to revert rural America to wilderness. This will require forcing rural Americans out of their country homes and stacking and packing them into human habitation zones (otherwise known as cities).

    People are generally easier to control when you restrict or eliminate their options.

  13. Anyone who’s ever played around with electric motors has dreamed of electric cars. There’s a ton of upside to using AC motors, which everyone is aware. But those pesky batteries. They just refuse to get in line with the rest of the drivetrain. So what about other generators like fuel cells? Well, they work much better, but not economically and difficult to manufacture. So what about turbines? Well, they’d be better, but then again why not just go to direct drive and mate it to a CVT? Again expensive and hard to manufacture in quantity.

    My favorite alternative tech idea would be a nuclear core boiling water for a steam turbine, mated to an electric generator+super capacitor (to get off the line) mated to direct drive motors on all 4 wheels. With a proper condenser you wouldn’t even need to add water other than the occasional top off for evaporation. No more implausible than what we’re seeing now…

    • Recycling that used nuclear core might be a problem. Also start up/shut down. Nuke fuel rods get very hot (for the steam!) but you have to work hard to keep them cool below a certain temp. Not sure you want one sitting in your garage.

      That being said, future tech might make such a device possible and safe. But not on anyone’s horizon yet.

      • The newer fuel rod constituents require constant attention to cooling after their removal from the reactor, unlike earlier ones. This makes it impossible to merely plop them into a dry cask or pool.
        Nothing that comes out of a coal- or natural gas-fuelled power plant which is anywhere as noxious or longterm as a “spent” nuclear fuel rod.

          • They don’t reuse anything. They convert poorer forms of fissionable material into better forms. Their usefulness is largely limited to making plutonium for nuclear weapons.

        • I thought the latest generation of nuclear power (heh) was a small liquid Thorium reactor; possibly scalable down to ‘tabletop’ dimensions.

          • The only nuclear reactor that is scalable down to tabletop dimensions is the radioisotope thermoelectric generator, which has been in use in satellites and space probes from their beginnings.
            Scaling down is not the problem with commercial power generation that scaling up safely has always been.

    • When I was a kid I had electric cars that would run forever without stopping or recharging or any of that garbage. They were light and quick. Probably could have improved their (scale) quarter mile if they were heavier.

      Slot. Cars.

  14. Wait another 2 years when the political terrorists gain total control of the DC mafia. You will submit…Or die.

    • Hi Democrats Are,

      They will try, certainly. But I strongly suspect there will be resistance in that event. I say this without relish; violence is the last thing I want. But when violence is directed at you, self-defense becomes not only justified but imperative.

          • Plain text. The talking head made the point that the people had been disarmed two years ago. Now they couldn’t fight back and MSNBC would never admit that was the same argument against gun control for every country.

            And to address those always buying a new car to get a few more mpg, I’ll quote from Tom Woods email this morning:

            “Chase Bank got raked over the coals by the outrage factory the other day when it posted a Tweet that went as follows:

            You: why is my balance so low
            Bank account: make coffee at home
            Bank account: eat the food that’s already in the fridge
            Bank account: you don’t need a cab, it’s only three blocks
            You: I guess we’ll never know
            Bank account: seriously?

            Chase was flayed alive for this.”

      • Dem, eric, everyone, take a listen to this entire thing. I know some are going to say ‘Oh, I know all about this already”. No, you don’t. There’s a great deal we don’t know about and I’ve never trusted the internet or a phone line.

        Through a friend, whose mother worked for AT&T, I confirmed my phone was tapped in 1972. Of course I had some clue just because of the things you might hear or not hear back on those old lines. But it’s different to know the FBI and other agencies are monitoring everything you say and every piece of mail. I found out once again in the late 80’s when a friend worked for the phone company. I got copies of the reports they had on me and the agencies doing it.

        But don’t worry, it couldn’t happen to YOU.

    • Only if you are so naive and/or ignorant to be unable to outthink them. The DC mafia isn’t very good at anything but paying and receiving bribes.
      They’ll stay out of my part of the country because many here will just shoot them.

  15. Why are very few stating the obvious about electric putzes? They are not green whatsoever. Massive (and more ) ‘carbon pollution’ created than with manufacturing cars today, both in mining raw ingredients for and manufacturing batteries etc, in the 3rd world, but not ‘seen’ here in the US. Out of sight, who cares? Child miners work force, paid a pittance.
    Congo’s Miners Dying to Feed World’s Hunger for Electric Cars
    https://www.thegwpf.com/green-killers-congo-miners-dying-electric-cars/
    Batteries cannot make renewables reliable
    https://www.cfact.org/2019/04/26/batteries-cannot-make-renewables-reliable/?mc_cid=b014964838&mc_eid=bbcbf58c24
    Selling hogwash by propaganda, just like the ethanol lies.
    There is info out there stating the truth about the electric putzes. Not many seem to be motivated enough to go search. Too razzle dazzled by the gizmo’s and gadgets attached to them. Too many commercials saying how ‘space age-y and ‘Jetson’ the ev’s are. Your gas driven car is the putz.’

  16. Highway Star.

    Radar Love.

    Road Runner.

    Hot Rod Lincoln.

    One Piece At A Time.

    Dead Man’s Curve

    Racing in the Street.

    Cadillac Ranch.

    Ride On Josephine.

    Just to name a few off the top of my head.

  17. I saw this a long time ago. It doesn’t matter now if Tesla goes out of business like they deserve because the damage has already been done, people (including car enthusiasts) are used to seeing EVs as the future (or, worse, the present) and manufacturers are going all-in to avoid being out-EVed by them. Tesla and every car they’ve ever made could cease to exist tomorrow and it wouldn’t make a bit of difference because the virtue-signaling and climate panic are still there in full force, as are all the me-too EVs produced by mainline manufacturers.

    • If TSLA goes under it will make Theranos’ investors look like a bunch of amateurs (which they were, when it comes to investing). So many elites are deep in Tesla stock that the calls for bailouts will completely drown out the “I told you so” from people who understand these things.

  18. “Americans loved their cars and though the affection has waned, they still do. Cars are mobility – which is another aspect of freedom. Come – and go – as you like, on your own schedule – and on the spur of the moment.”

    Americans love their PICKUPS too! A 4wd pickup with a camper shell on the back is the ultimate freedom: drive just about wherever you want and then pull off and sleep in the back whenever you want.

    I’m trying to get back to that set-up. The gas penalty over a small car is pretty much offset by the savings on the cost of motel rooms, and you don’t have to plan ahead and make reservations, or sleep with bedbugs.

    • You got it, Dread!

      Unless one is commuting 100 miles a day, MPGs really don’t matter in the scheme of things. I’ve been driving 10-15MPG vehicles all of my life- and after all is said and done; after ya consider the cost of gas vs. the benefits received; the money saved on being able to haul and tow stuff; the fact that big beefy trucks last longer and need far fewer repairs, etc. etc.- the few hunnert dollars a year difference in gas is negligible.

      The MPG obsession is yet another Uncle-induced construct.

      • Nunzio, it baffles me to the core. When conversing with my peers, the dam mpg discussion comes up all the time. I’ve given up.
        They all chastise me “ohhh, but mr. rich guy can afford a 15mpg car, can’t he” in jest of course, but they believe it.
        Recently, I just say, “believe what you want, I’ve given up trying to convince you guys the past 20 f’in years, but please note, I’ve been driving 10-15mpg cars my whole life even when I was dirt poor” and “when you guys were trading in your 20mpg car for a 25mpg car, I didn’t”
        It’s just friggen simple math!!!!!!!!!!!!!

        • Aint THAT the truth, Chris!

          Number-wise, I’d certainly be considered among “the poor”- I tell people who balk “I can’t afford to drive a fancy newish high-MPG vehicle”. Heck, my trucks cost as much or less than just the down payment they put on their “efficient” vehicles.

          I can afford to fill my tank because I don’t have a monthly payment. And funny thing is: I’ll buy an old truck and drive it for 10 or 15 years- meanwhile they will go through 3 or 4 or even 5 new cars in that time period, and easily shelling out $50K-$100K….,meanwhile, all I’ve spent is $4500, and a few hundred dollars a year more in gas…..

          And of course, in the real world, their vehicles never quite get the advertised MPGs…or they may when brand new…but after a few years? My neighbor’s wife’s little 4-cyl. car was getting 23MPG…. I used to get that with my big, safe, comfortable Lincoln Town Car! Watching a Scotty Kilmer video last night…a guy writes in; he’s getting 15MPG with his 10 year-ol;d Prius!

          I dunno- but putting $100 into my 44 gallon tank at the pump, for something that is practical for me to drive, and which I enjoy driving, seems a lot easier than the thought of sending many hundreds per month to a bank…and then still having to put $60 or $70 worth of fuel in the tank at the pump.

          • Nunz, you can’t even hope to pass that old car for a new model. Unless you have a “new” vehicle, you’re not keeping up with the crowd……hence, trading every other year.

            You may be going broke doing it but it’s gonna be hard to tell if that 2 year old isn’t the latest model for sure. As the owner of the radio station in O’ Brother Where Art Thou? said in reply to his constituent who made the point of not letting the competition get ahead, “Oh yes yes yes, we can’t let the competition get them”. The sarcasm was lost on the promoter.

            I copied a part of Tom Woods email today about the Chase Bank taking flak over this(here it is again).

            “Chase Bank got raked over the coals by the outrage factory the other day when it posted a Tweet that went as follows:

            You: why is my balance so low
            Bank account: make coffee at home
            Bank account: eat the food that’s already in the fridge
            Bank account: you don’t need a cab, it’s only three blocks
            You: I guess we’ll never know
            Bank account: seriously?

            Chase was flayed alive for this.”

      • Those who drive big beefy trucks usually have the hunnerts of dollars and the interest in spending them on such.
        I have subscribed to Gary North’s very reasonable philosophy to vehicle acquisition and use since reading it. While he is a family man and prefers minivans, I am a legally homeless snowbird living very comfortably on $971 in SS. This is possible because I do not buy anything of low utility. If I can’t live in it, it will not become my daily driver.
        Last year, I investigated the option of moving into a section 8 apartment in a senior facility, which I easily qualified for. The $300 rent wasn’t a problem. The one year lease was. I can buy a lot of gasoline for $300 a month and my van gets a reasonable 17-18 mpg regardless of where it is driven. I prefer to do so in temperate places. For those of us who can afford more but eschew it, there is no better way to insure saving more than $100 a month, which will make the transition to mandatory Medicare the end of the year easier. My lifestyle appears in Rayo’s Vonulife, for those inclined to exchange glamor for personal liberty.

        • You got the right idea, Vonu!

          Best thing is, in your van, iffin ya don’t like yer neighbors….you can easily move. In a welfare apartment, you definitely wouldn’t like your neighbors….and nobody ever moves (I knew a guy who used to manage a Sec. 8 complex….the stories he’d tell!).

          Seems like the lighter one travels through life…the better the quality of that life. Most people get it backwards…they think the more crap they have, the better life will be- then they spend all of their time acquiring that crap- and when it fails to satisfy, they turn to intoxicants.

          • Senior section 8s are totally different from unrestricted ones.
            It is always entertaining to watch somebody with a custom 80 foot class A maneuver it and the trailer and the boat in the Walmart parking lot, assuming they aren’t smart enough to keep it out.

            • Senior ones are not much better. Same people- just older. Half of them are raising the grandkids (“just having them visit” ((every day))) )- and they don’t just take seniors…they take “the disabled” of any age.

              My idiot sister lives in one.

              Not to even mention the way they treat YOU. They do inspections every month; Have someone come 4 times a year to change the batteries in the smoke detectors (Which is handy, actually, ’cause the drugged-up(as in Rx) senile residents are always leaving stuff on the stoves) …ditto the HVAC filters.

              My sister has a cat. She had to pay an extra fee; has to get the cat poked with a needle every year and show management proof that she did…..

              30-something year old paranoid nut-case nextdoor to her….one day if he forgets to take his pills, he’ll probably end up killing several people. (Talk about paranoid! I went to drop somethimng off at my sister’s once. Sat at her kitchen table for a few minutes; we’re talking. Paranoid dude knocks on the door….I hear my sister saying to him “It’s my brother”. Paranoid dude: “You want me to call 9-1-1?”! [That’s the best way to get someone killed!]

              Oh, and everyone’s at least half deaf….they bl;ast their TVs, and fall asleep with them on. Management goes home at 5PM. Cops don’t care. (The sheriff’s mother lives in the same place. Well…former sheriff- he’s now a convicted felon).

              I’m sure my sister would trade ya her apartment for your van in a heartbeat! (And this is a “nice one” in a small rural town= you should see the ones in the boigger towns and cities!)

              Roach motels, that’ll suck any humanity out of you.

              • Senior section 8s are a lot different in small towns than big cities.
                If your sister would trade, why can’t she go buy one of the older vans that are increasingly being sent to crushers to make room for new vehicles?
                If she can’t find a salesman who will find her a older van, she needs to look for one, because auto salesmen are getting desperate enough to actually look for what the customer wants instead of what they have on the lot.
                I bought my current van off of a lot that only stocked minivans and SUVs. They’d had a regular customer call and ask them to find him a half-ton van. They did and called him, and he never came for it. They were the only used car lot in that town that had a fullsize van. When I called them, the price went down during the call. It started at $4900, it ended at $4000. I walked across town to see it and the price had dropped to $3500, which was as low as they would go. I sold three ounces of gold to the ripoff coin dealer next door, added $300 cash from the ATM across the street, test drove it and bought it. They probably sold it for what they had in it or less, just to get rid of it to a very motivated buyer.
                I applied to the senior section 8 last year and easily qualified. They wanted $300 for a efficiency and I looked at it. The deal killer was the one year lease. I can buy a lot of gasoline for $300. I have no good reason to stay in Wyoming for the winter. Neither would her cat.

          • It will soon become more American after 2008 repeats in spades.
            I went to the Rubber Tramp Rendezvous the first year, when 45 people showed up, with everything from tents to big class As (only one, and he parked across the road). This past winter, it supposedly drew 10K people and most of them were in vehicles they’d brought to build. I won’t bother in the future. I’ve been thinking about starting a vandweller only group, but I’m not geeky enough to build my own website, nor ambitious enough to bother.
            I’m anticipating a larger number of carcampers in the future, although the vandwellers are starting to spike up in numbers, especially if you count the good time vanners.

            • People ruin things. If ya got something good (A good place to stay; a good way to be stealth…) guard it and don’t invite anyone ya don’t know personally and love, ’cause once word gets out and the masses come…it’s all over.

    • Oh, I really like my little car when buying gas! And it’s handy and economical for Buttercup to go shopping in town (~130 miles RT) at least when the county road is dry. It’s getting hard to squeeze into parking lots with a pickup these days. We’ll probably keep it until it just can’t reasonably be fixed anymore, because it’s paid for, plates are permanent, and liability insurance is minimal.

      But I got to realizing that more and more I just hated traveling although when I was young it was a great adventure. Part of it is more traffic and having my own 40 acre slice of heaven, but a big part is trying to do 700 mile days in a damned uncomfortable little car. My old junky pickup is the most comfortable thing I have to drive. A somewhat nicer version with a small camper on the back would make a nice relaxed travel vehicle.

      • I hear ya, Dread. Same here- I don’t care to leave my own property unless absolutely necessary- and when I do, even just to go to the next county to go shopping, I’m always glad when I cross back into my “backward hillbilly” county.

        Besides, there’s nowhere to go anymore. Everywhere you go looks just like every other place these days; and since this ain’t America no more, the only real difference between places are whether they’re communist or ultra-communist.

        And yeah, those parking spaces….. Even here in rural paradise, 2 hours from any city; where half the people drive duallies….and 90% of the places have spaces that make ya thinkj they’re expecting Smart Cars……

      • For some strange reason I’m getting a bit of wanderlust again. Maybe because I got my eyes fixed and can actually see again! Besides we have one daughter in Arizona and one in Michigan, and Buttercup says we should go visit them once in a while.

        There’s still a lot of back roads in the West if one has the time to stay off the damn interstate. I have absolutely no desire to go East again and definitely never again through Illinazi and Shitcago – but just maybe the northern route through the UP ???

        • Talk the one in Michigan to visit Arizona. That’s a decent drive. You could probably use 66 some.

          I miss the days of simply tearing off to parts unknown and doing nothing but enjoy it.

          Even when I began trucking in ’73 with my own rig I looked forward to those times, late at night around some large holiday, traffic would be non-existent, even trucks, since you couldn’t always get unloaded the day before.

          Almost always two lane roads, troopers weren’t out so you didn’t sweat doing over the PSL. Passing by Green Gables while Waylon sang about it, a Detroit Diesel keeping time.

        • Actually, the Michigan crew are all coming out here in July. The single daughter is planning to fly up here and ride back east with them and then fly home. But it’s been three years since we’ve seen the g-kids.

          There’s lots to do around our place: riding horses, hiking, and shooting guns. I hope to do some serious sitting on grandpa’s lap driving lessons, and take them in the jeep and/or pickup up and down our fire trails. Not all of the world is flat and paved!

          • dread, I’m envious. Anything offroad keeps me sane.

            I was just outside and realized I’d left the “shield” off the Z and had used it as drain pan for the lawn mower and not quite gotten it out of the way. Oh, what a tragedy to lose a thin piece of ABS that “protects” my engine.

            I’ve only had one pickup that didn’t have the “shields” and it was the one that caught holy hell. The Nissan’s got mashed in so they’re junk beside the barn. ABS ones got broken, burn barrel material. I’m tempted to get some 3/8″ plate, weld both sides of some thick, small angle iron all the way across, outside edges down and welded and see how that holds up. Probably put them on the underside facing front and back.

            Years ago this thumping company had some big stuff up under their trucks pretty much all the way across from frame rail to frame rail and stout tubing stuck out to the sides with tubing that stuck out 6″ or more beyond the body running the length of each side. I’m guessing that saved hell out of mangled sheet metal, bent frame and driveline.

        • I remember a 70 mile rural highway in New Mexico that had only 14 properties on it back in the early 80s. I even remember driving down the center of the road because in that 70 miles I did not see another car.

          • That could be same highway where, after crossing the state line from CO, I would let my new 1980 fast geared pickup run 80 mph – LOL

            • dread, I’d have rebuilt my 82 long ago if it were a crewcab. Unfortunately, CJ has never experience a single cab. Our previous dog was totally flipped out when I hauled him in a regular cab.

              We’d gone looking for artifacts in what had been a field at one time, now just pasture. He got out, hauled ass around to the other side, jumped back in, tried to find a back seat to get into, then jumped out ran to the other side, reversed and came back in the passenger side…..and upon trying to get over the back of the seat, found no back seat. He was like a cat in a roomful of rocking chairs the whole time. Just couldn’t get over not having a back seat. I never tortured him with a single cab again.

              • Ha, 8! That’s why I won’t have a single cab either! Gotta be an Xtra or crew, with an 8′ bed- which, sadly, eliminates most 60’s – 80’s P/Us- and half of the more modern ones, ’cause so many of ’em have chopped beds. For all the P/Us out there…it’s still a P/U wilderness.

                • Nunz, I’m driving my first Xcab short bed. I hate it. If I have to have a short pickup for maneuverability, I’ll have a long bed for everything else.

                  My 93 Turbo Diesel X cab long bed 4WD manual was like driving a truck and I felt right at home. The rear seat was plenty big to sleep in and with blacked out windows, it was pretty much a home away from home.

                  I don’t think people back then realized the crewcab was very little longer than the X cab.

                  You’re right about the wilderness. I can only find used ranch/farm truck in long bed and now, very few of those. The wife had to tell me about a guy who came out of Wally the other day while I was inside that got into a crewcab long bed pickup. She was shocked. I was too.

                  This is a symptom of city folks only wanting the height and room of crewcabs and not needing to haul anything. I despise having to use that 6′ bed for hauling 8′ material. The only pickup I ever had without an 8′ bed was the Nissan and that wasn’t much of a pickup.

                  • Yep, Eight. I never bought the maneuverability thing. Another 1.5′-2′ of bed….and what, a foot at the most for a crew instead of extry cab?

                    No matter how ya slice it- too big to park in NYC (Not that anyone who drives a P/U would want to be there anyways); and not big enough to matter in the real world.

                    It’s just so retarded: 20′ of hood and cab, and a diesel engine, to pull around a li’l bed that can’t hold a sheet of plywood.

                    • A pickup would be easy for me after having parallel parked a 53 foot trailer with a full sleeper on the street in Greenwich Village. It helped that it was at 2 or 3 in the morning and a guy had waited up for me to keep the space open. I amazed myself by doing it with no pullups. I repeated it a few hours later at the other end of the block and other side of the street.
                      While they were unloading the truck, I was playing with my new-to-me Cannon AE-1 Program, during which I took a wonderful photo of the Twin Towers.

                    • Damn, Bill! I can’t even wrap my head around that! (Can’t even imagine any contiguous space that long existing along the curb!)

                  • The IFS affects the turning radius more than the length. I dunno if they’ve re-engineered them since 1988, but the solid front axle trucks turn much sharper. Heck, my big ole Suburban will turn almost as tight as my little-bitty FWD car! And it seems like the Jeep will almost turn the inside rear wheel backwards – ha!

                    • I recently had to turn around in a small place with a short wheelbase tractor and a belly dump. I was reminded how tough life was on a construction trailer when I could see the trailer going backward.

                      I do like the relatively new spread axle trailers that automatically raise the front axle in a sharp turn and then reload it when your turn is done. It saves a ton of tire wear and stress on everything involved.

                    • I do believe they put the turning stops in different places on different iterations of the same trucks….

                      Guy I know has a truck that’s almost a clone of my F250- only his is a 350, crew cab vs. my Xtra cab. Both 4×4; his is a diesel.

                      I had to change a couple of injectors on his once, and when I test drove it afterwards, I couldn’t get over what a pig it was when it came to turning! The truck is only like 9 INCHES longer than mine.

                      I mean, the difference was noticeable even in non-tight spots…. His wheels just didn’t turn anywhere near as sharply as mine.

                      My F250 (and my Excursion, which is on the exact same chassis/same wheelbase) turn just as sharply as a car….

                  • Four-door pickups with long beds are the new status symbols in town. Those who don’t love them hate them because they tend to take up 4 parking spaces in crowded lots.
                    I’ve never seen anyone parallel park one, and they are really taking their chances angle parking one in a town with a lot of ignored car only angle parking.

            • I really don’t want a crew cab or x-cab because I want an 8′ bed for a camper and just don’t want a pickup that’s too long. I’d like to run some back roads and mild trails if we ever go traveling. Looking for an 88-95/98 K2500 regular cab long bed is like trying to find a unicorn.

              • dread, I can sympathize with your needs. I know where there are early 90’s of this description that don’t run. I’ll check with a guy and see if he still has his 4WD like that. It was a fine looking pickup, then he let some guys have it. They put a carburetor engine in it but it wouldn’t run correctly. I have no idea what the problem might be.

                I’m driving a 2WD long bed reg cab for work. It’s a 2000 I think. I was amazed it had a long bed even being a regular cab. It had the 5.3 removed and replaced with a 4.8 but it runs good, even has cold a/c. They were speaking of selling it which I dissed given that nobody would give anything for it and it serves its function with the county well, even has a lift gate on the rear. If it were 4WD I’d change my tune and tell them I’d take it off their hands.

                I don’t know if you want to drive to west Tx. to get a non-running pickup but if you do, let me know.

              • Sorry, no but can’t because I don’t have a pickup I trust for a 2K++ miles round trip to haul it back on a trailer. See, I’m looking for a pickup to be able to do that with – LOL!

              • I suppose I really should just put a new engine in the old C-20. With the 4 speed it will go 95% of the places you would go with a camper, especially with the extra weight on the back. It’s getting a bit of rust but it would still probably outlast me. The trouble is that where we live it is hard to justify putting money into anything 2wd anymore.

                A few days ago I looked at a county pickup that the grader driver left parked: pretty new Silverado 2500 HD, single cab long bed, all white, gas, A/T, but with a manual transfer case lever! I could almost live with something like that if/when I had the money. I don’t know if the dealer will even sell something like that to a guy walking in off the street? You probably have to order a half dozen of them at a time.

              • Several dozen people here call those their daily drivers. They are selling for almost as much as the current year, and there are more mechanics that can fix them than have computers to talk to the new ones.
                In most places, they’ve been sent to the crusher so the dealerships can move their new trucks off the lot to make room for next year’s models that are already arriving.

    • Electric vehicles powered by theoretical, fictional, or undefined energy sources have been common in science fiction for a very long time. Internal combustion is rare except in near future science fiction. It was always assumed something better would be found. Batteries however were almost if not always a backup system. The battery powered electric car really has no place in science fiction because it is fundamentally old obsolete technology. Sure batteries got better but the fundamental problems that made battery electric cars fall by the wayside still exist.

      As I wrote before, electric cars are the future when and if an energy source suitable to make them practical, cheap, etc is developed. That kind of source appears in science fiction. It may be zero point, nuclear, or something else. But it’s generally not some crappy chemical battery.

      As such I don’t think anything science fiction conditions people to battery powered electric cars.

  19. I know this isn’t quite on topic, but something just occurred to me this week: no one makes CAR songs anymore. Back in the 1960s, you had 409, Little Deuce Coupe, Little GTO, Hey Little Cobra, The Little Old Lady from Pasadena, etc. This reflected the PASSION people had for cars back then. Now, there’s a dearth of passion for cars, and this is reflected in the dearth of songs about cars…

    BTW, someone commented that it would be nice if someone would make a movie built around the song, The Little Old Lady from Pasadena. Set it in the 1960s with the super stock Dodge and everything. That would be cool!

    • Depeche Mode is a required lineup for me while driving.
      Behind the Wheel
      Route 66
      Stripped
      Never Let me Down
      Fly on the Windscreen.
      and others. And just about every music video had a car in it.

    • Hey Mark,

      Don’t forget Maybellene!

      Queen did, “I’m in Love With My Car” in ’75. Can’t think of anything after that.

      Cheers,
      Jeremy

        • I don’t know of very many. I think Neil Young’s “Long May You Run” debuted in 1976. There must be others that have come along but I really haven’t paid much attention to popular music since that time.

          Of course there are lesser-known artists who have been doing car songs. For example a band called the “Nashfull Ramblers” (now Nick Norcross and the Ramblers) did some in the 1990s (such as “This Old Nash Loves to Roll”). The 1960s though was definitely the golden era for that genre.

    • Great point, fully agree.

      Even the purely utilitarian Honda Cub got a Beach Boys song.

      NOBODY is going to write a song about their Prius.

      Just like everything else around us in this shitty ersatz world, the very joy and soul has been sucked right out of yet another part of life.

      If it doesn’t involve staring blankly at a blue screen while frantically finger fucking some “device”, nobody wants to know anything about it.

    • No longer worth making car songs, never was worth making songs about what’s come after. So everyone just sings about sex now, or makes generic fight songs, or just mashes buzzes and bleeps together and tries to pass it off as “music”.

      I do rather like listening to car songs (of course) but at this point it so often just makes me sad or angry, hearing these odes to an vanished time when you didn’t need a track just to experience driving as something other than a chore (on top of which, sanctioned racing hadn’t yet become a complete dumpster fire either).

  20. Well, it wasn’t like the Big 3 didn’t try hard enough to make the cars of the late ’70’s and early ’80’s so horribly ugly and bland that we would outright puke, because they did that in spades, and it still didn’t kill the American Love-Affair of the automobile. But all the post-9-11 nanyisms and forced “safety devices”, along with stratospheric price tags and insurance rates, certainly has done a bang-up job!

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