Road trip.

Some friends of ours who used to live in Detroit moved to Nashville a couple years ago and occasionally suggest they’re open to visitors, but the timing was never right until it was, and then it wasn’t. Shadow Show is headed down to SXSW again this year, and is playing gigs along the way. There was one Saturday night in guess-where, so we thought, sure, we can drive down for a long weekend, see the girls, see our friends.

Unfortunately, one of our host’s aunts died, the funeral was a can’t-miss event, so they invited us to stay at their house anyway, etc. etc., and we decided what the hell, let’s go.

I’m glad we went. I hadn’t been to Nashville in decades. It is a decidedly different city than it was then, by a factor of about a million. The changes are…well, it doesn’t matter if we approve or not. They’ve happened and they’re not going away. Yeah, I remember Broadway as a scene but not a Scenetm; back then we went to Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge and had a few beers but did not exit into the alley behind the Ryman Auditorium, former home of the Grand Old Opry, where it was said countless performers before us had done, having one last snootful before taking the stage. On Sunday, I wouldn’t have entered Tootsie’s with a live cattle prod. It was SEC tournament weekend, and the entire strip was rockin’ with basketball fans, drunks and brides-to-be, all entranced by the cover bands playing in every bar.

Oh, those brides-to-be. Someone informed me that Nashville is now Bachville, i.e. the country’s biggest non-Vegas destination for bachelorette parties, and not having known that already makes me feel like I’m not keeping up. March is considered the beginning of Bachelorette season, and they were already evident, traveling in packs, squealing, caroling WOOOOO from pedal pubs, you know the drill. (An aside: Is there a more jarring disconnect between the people on a pedal pub and the people watching them from the street? I don’t think so.) In googling for why this is so, I came across a five year old, but still excellent story in BuzzFeed that goes deep into not only the trend itself, but what it says about the city, which is gentrifying at a staggering pace. This piece was great, too. And full of tidbits like this:

(Bachelorette parties) love taking pictures in front of murals, which, over the last decade, have come to dot every gentrifying section of the city. What started as a covertly capitalist art form (a “I Believe in Nashville” mural designed by a merch company) has become overtly so, as business owners all over town realize the free advertising potential of Instagram location tags. During peak bachelorette season, the photo line at the most popular Nashville mural — artist Kelsey Montague’s “angel wings,” just a block away from Biscuit Love — can take 90 minutes.

An hour and a half wait to take a picture!? I sent this to Alan while we were eating lunch on Sunday, and who should come in and take a nearby table?

We did get to the Country Music Hall of Fame, which was much better than I expected — thoughtfully curated, spiced up with music interludes and interesting artifacts, like Les Paul’s log guitar, outfits from Nudie’s Rodeo Tailors and a lot more. The Hatch Show Print shop is in the same building, so we stopped there, too. Worth a visit for sure.

The Saturday-night Shadow Show was, however, one of their worst, as judged by the musicians themselves. The PA was shit, there were no monitors, they had to play last — touring etiquette in these situations say the road band goes second, I’m informed — and Kate said she never wanted to play a gig like that again. As for me, I’m just glad no one gouged me for parking, which happened in nicer parts of town on Sunday. And it was nice to catch up with Mr. and Mrs. Bassett, who joined us for most of a very long evening.

Did we try hot chicken? We did. It’s a spicy chicken sandwich.

Sunday night was another show, this one at the Brooklyn Bowl, a benefit for uninsured musicians. Elvis Costello and Billy Gibbons were the co-headliners. Elvis sounded less than great; his voice wasn’t coming through, the band wasn’t tight and his roadie brought out a new guitar for nearly every song, none of which seemed to please him. Fortunately, the show was closed by Gibbons, and once he banged out the opening chords to “Sharp Dressed Man,” we knew everything was going to be fine, and it was:

Oh, and that little text block on the mural in the first picture? The one you can’t read? A version of George Jones’ infamous lawn-mower story. His wife would hide all the vehicle keys when she left, to keep her hopeless alcoholic husband from heading to the liquor store:

And I didn’t have to wait at all to take it.

Posted at 3:28 pm in Popculch, Same ol' same ol' |

90 responses to “Road trip.”

  1. Jeff Borden said on March 14, 2023 at 4:03 pm

    I’ve never considered visiting Nashville despite my great love and admiration for real country music (not that country bro bullshit), but you make it sound like a fine weekend away.

    Unfortunately for Nashville, the backwards people in Tennessee hate the city because it is Democratic and it refused to bid to host the QOP convention in 2024. So, the rubes in the state legislature are working to screw it over. First, they passed a bill cutting the Nashville City Council in half and redrew district lines to make it easier for redneck rubies to run and they’re now working to gain control of the city’s airport and all sports venues. It’s straight out retaliation.

    My disgust with the bastards in the QOP is bottomless. . .much like the party’s level of depravity.

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  2. LAMary said on March 14, 2023 at 4:20 pm

    Musician adjacent son Pete likes Nashville. He says it’s not as effed up as a lot of southern cities.

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  3. Heather said on March 14, 2023 at 4:36 pm

    I’ve never been to Nashville, but a couple I know went for a weekend some years ago and said they didn’t love it because it wasn’t very walkable. I don’t know if the situation has improved any.

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  4. Alan Stamm said on March 14, 2023 at 4:55 pm

    We made the monster, and now we can’t control the monster. It’s the plot of every monster movie.”
    — Steve Haruch, Nashville Public Radio senior producer, on pedal pubs and larger “transportainment” vehicles [NYT, September 2021]

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  5. basset said on March 14, 2023 at 4:57 pm

    Michael Nesmith’s spangled suit there, good choice.

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  6. Joe Kobiela said on March 14, 2023 at 5:03 pm

    I had a day to kill in Nashville a few years back, and used my time to take a guided bike tour of the city. Managed to learn a lot and see some things, the bat building and the C-3PO building were neat. Lately have stayed up by Vanderbilt University if I overnight, some good food and fun to run down broadway to the river in the early morning. It’s kinda funny that the bro country pukes have bought up the old bars in order to build new bars that they want to be like the old bars. From what I hear, East Nashville is more like the old Nashville but that may have changed also. Maybe you have to leave Nashville to find Nashville
    Pilot Joe

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  7. alex said on March 14, 2023 at 5:17 pm

    I regret that I haven’t spent more time in Nashville, having overnighted there numerous times on my way to other places further south, but I’m always hearing great things about it. My parents had friends who retired there and used to visit them frequently and they thought it could be a livable place for themselves.

    Don’t know if I could stand having Marsha Blackburn as my senator, not that the unevolved primates representing my state are much better.

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  8. Deborah said on March 14, 2023 at 5:29 pm

    I’ve only driven through Nashville, never stopped or stayed. I probably never will now because I have so many other places to go and see around the world before I kick the bucket. If I was younger I’d definitely give it a shot.

    Meanwhile whatever is going on in Amarillo, TX is not looking so good.

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  9. apocalipstick said on March 14, 2023 at 5:48 pm

    If you ever get back to Nashvegas, visit the Museum of African-American Music. It’s nice.

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  10. David C said on March 14, 2023 at 6:26 pm

    Our pedal pub got a ticket. It’s a real pain in the ass when you get behind it. Main Street was narrowed when it was rebuilt a few years ago as a traffic calming measure. That worked fine. You can now use the crosswalks as intended. It was fine until that damned thing came. Now traffic backs up and gridlocks at the intersections. It’s not going to change though. The Tavern League is the most powerful lobby in Wisconsin and Oshkosh.

    Pedal pub ticketed off approved route

    The company that operates the Oshkosh Pedal Trolley, a 14-person party bike that operates downtown, will ask the council Tuesday to approve another one-year license.

    One point of discussion may be that Oshkosh Brew Bike operated outside of its approved route two times last year, with the second violation leading to a ticket. The ticket, which cost $232, appears to have solved the problem, and police say there were no further problems after September.

    City staff is recommending approval of a 2023 license but wants to keep the quadricycle off the part of Main Street between Parkway and Merritt avenues.

    The party bike does not sell alcohol but allows patrons to bring up to 36 ounces of fermented malt beverages along.

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  11. Sherri said on March 14, 2023 at 7:52 pm

    My perception having grown up near Nashville is that it is not any better than any other Southern city. But I’m also seldom in the touristy parts of the city.

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  12. basset said on March 14, 2023 at 11:16 pm

    I’d rank it higher than that, Sherri. Would say one of the best of em, actually.

    not any better and a whole lot worse, though, for me would start with Jackson, Mississippi and continue with Atlanta, Houston and New Orleans.

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  13. Dave said on March 14, 2023 at 11:36 pm

    Basset, not to be contentious but I thought as soon as I saw it that it was Gram Parsons’ Nudie suit. I thought he had two, the one pictured and the one with a cross on the back and a smaller cross on the front.

    The two different times our son lived in Nashville, we found it to be quite a mob scene but I sure enjoyed going into Ernest Tubb’s Record Shop and seeing people playing music on the street, trying to make it and wondering, how far do they ever get when they start out this way. I also remember paying a good bit of money just to park. Sadly, we never made it to the Country Music Hall of Fame.

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  14. basset said on March 15, 2023 at 12:07 am

    Y’know what, Dave, you’re right… Nesmith’s suit is here, scroll down quite a way:

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  15. basset said on March 15, 2023 at 12:09 am

    Y’know what, Dave, you’re right. The Nesmith suit is here, scroll down quite a ways:

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  16. Dexter Friend said on March 15, 2023 at 2:32 am

    I have driven through the Nashville area quite a few times while highballing to Florida. I always wanted to take in a little of the city but was always out-voted. It’s like being in Slidell and not being able to get to New Orleans just across the water. That happened to me too, decades back. Time restraints off, in my life, the worst , dirtiest, most fucked-up city ever , including places I saw in Vietnam, was and maybe still is Macon , Georgia. What a shithole. I probably think that because I was rolled there, robbed of a puny 38 cents and a poorboy little bottle of cheapo bum wine.

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  17. Sherri said on March 15, 2023 at 3:29 am

    “Best” is kind of vague, and really determined by a set of criteria, of which visitors would have a different set than people who live there. I see Nashville schools as about as fucked up as usual in the south, without the conscious attempt at integration that Charlotte NC carried on until recently. I see not much attempt at public transit, instead trying to build roads to address traffic congestion which has created more traffic congestion, which is pretty typical of southern cities. Atlanta does have Marta, but the suburban resistance to it limits its usefulness. Politically, the worst parts of Nashville are technically not Nashville, but Williamson County suburbs south of Nashville.

    I’ll concede that it’s not fair to compare Nashville to any cities in Mississippi, Louisiana, or Alabama, because those are the third world country equivalents in the South. Those states are so bad, nobody should compare themselves to them. I’ve always said that Alabama’s motto should be “At least we’re not Mississippi”.

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  18. alex said on March 15, 2023 at 7:21 am

    Those states are so bad, nobody should compare themselves to them.

    Indiana gets compared to them all the time. Our metrics on all of the markers of backwardness pretty much align with theirs, always bottom in the nation in one category or another. There’s a reason we’re known as “the south’s middle finger.” But at least we’re not Mississippi.

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  19. Jeff Gill said on March 15, 2023 at 7:54 am

    If Stanley Tucci can do Italy, Will Ferrell can do US interstate culture & cuisine, right? (I’ve eaten at the “Big Texan” three times, and avoided the 72 ounce challenge successfully all three visits.)

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  20. Mark P said on March 15, 2023 at 9:56 am

    Dexter — have you ever been to Augusta? I worked at the paper there in the mid-70’s. I can’t think of much to recommend it, unless you like lily-white golf. Maybe it has changed since I escaped.

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  21. FDChief said on March 15, 2023 at 10:15 am

    I’m handicapped by not having the slightest clue as to why anyone would want to do one of these pre-nup blowouts. I’ve got the same blind spot about theme parks and Vegas; they just seem desperate and too-much-like-work to be relaxing fun.

    As for Nashville…it seems appropriate that the joint is going upmarket. “Country music” as a brand seems to me to have gone the same way; from a fundamentally sorrowful music rooted in hardscrabble poverty and loss to the FGL-style of proudly boastful ignorance. It’s hard to see how either ends well.

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  22. Dorothy said on March 15, 2023 at 10:56 am

    I need to give a shout out to Greenville, South Carolina. We lived in Simpsonville, a suburb, for three years and really loved it there. Great downtown with jazz music outdoors on (I think) Friday nights. They shut down the streets and allow foot traffic and there were many good restaurants in the main drag downtown. Lots of great festivals were held there and we never had a bad time when we went downtown. Sabroso (not downtown) was where we ate our fave Mexican food – it wasn’t too far from our house.

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  23. Mark P said on March 15, 2023 at 11:59 am

    Several of my fellow Augusta Chronicalleers escaped to the Greenville paper. At least one of them actually stayed there through retirement.

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  24. Brandon said on March 15, 2023 at 1:28 pm

    it’s not fair to compare Nashville to any cities in Mississippi, Louisiana, or Alabama

    Not even New Orleans?

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  25. Sherri said on March 15, 2023 at 1:45 pm

    Most people, when they think of New Orleans, think of the French Quarter and great music and food. Tourist stuff, in other words. But everyday New Orleans is not that. It’s great wealth next to abject poverty, it’s a school system that post-Katrina was turned into a charter school experiment, and it’s in a state where global warming is going to destroy half the state but the economy is dependent on fossil fuels.

    I’ve spent too much time working in local governments to ever just look at cities as tourist destinations. I can enjoy them as a tourist, but even then, I’m looking at how they work (or don’t work).

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  26. Sherri said on March 15, 2023 at 2:06 pm

    It’s not about life, it’s never been about life, it’s about misogyny.

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  27. LAMary said on March 15, 2023 at 2:51 pm

    Unless it has changed dramatically I think the Hunts Point neighborhood in the Bronx is the worst place I’ve ever seen in the USA. There were packs of feral dogs, the scabbiest strung out hookers and pimps who looked like the stereotypical pimps in bad movies. I used to bring someone from the warehouse where I worked along when I’d go to my car. There was about a fifty fifty chance there was a hooker servicing some truck driver who was leaning against the car.

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  28. alex said on March 15, 2023 at 3:06 pm

    There was about a fifty fifty chance there was a hooker servicing some truck driver who was leaning against the car.

    Wasn’t there a google maps picture of such activity posted here one time?

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  29. LAMary said on March 15, 2023 at 4:56 pm

    Alex, could be. There was a documentary series on HBO a few years ago about that neighborhood and it is notorious.

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  30. Sherri said on March 15, 2023 at 6:54 pm

    While I wait to hear what the insurance company will do about my wrecked car, I bought a new car. I got a Honda CR V Hybrid, but it won’t be available for a couple of weeks. Dealers are selling cars in transit to the lot.

    I hate car dealers.
    Me: this is what I will pay.
    Salesman: okay, but we have these packages that we sell all cars with, that’s another $3980.
    Me: No, thank you, I don’t need those
    Salesman: well, I’ll see if my sales manager will take that.
    He disappears for a while. I’m the only customer in the store.
    Salesman: sales manager says we have to add the packages.
    Me, standing up: No, I don’t want them.
    Salesman: No, here’s where you offer a price in between the two numbers!
    Me: No.
    Salesman: but you get something for that!
    Me: I’m not paying for something I don’t want. You’re getting a 9% margin on what I’m offering, that’s fair.
    He goes back to sales manager
    Salesman: well, today is your lucky day! The sales manager said okay!

    But it was useful for teaching my daughter how salesmen try to make you feel bad and make you feel like you’re doing something wrong, and the asymmetry of the situation.

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  31. Sherri said on March 15, 2023 at 7:19 pm

    The media isn’t ready to defend a multiracial, multicultural democracy.

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  32. Sherri said on March 15, 2023 at 7:43 pm

    “Take your time.”

    Maybe if you’re coming on a show to promote your anti-wokeness book, have a definition of work handy.

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  33. David C said on March 15, 2023 at 8:06 pm

    When we bought our present car, they showed us a video of the great paint protection they were going to give (sell) us. It was the nonsense where they spray lighter fluid on the car and touch it off. Mary laughed and said “Nobody does that and we don’t want it. Turn that shit off.”. I was so proud. The F&I guy turned it off and said “you don’t want any of this, do you?”. We signed the papers and were gone in 20 minutes. The car is nine years old now, the paint still looks great, and we didn’t pay them $600 to wax our car. We’re going to buy another car later this spring. I plan to do everything with emails and texts. I’m not going to set foot in a car dealer until the deal is set and I go to test drive it and sign the papers. If they don’t like it they don’t have to sell me a car. Someone will.

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  34. Sherri said on March 15, 2023 at 9:03 pm

    David, I went into the dealer because I wanted to test drive one before I decided on the Honda. If the salesman had attempted one more round of the game, I would have walked. I had done my research, I knew what price those cars were selling for (MSRP, as opposed to a premium over MSRP like they were a few months ago), so I wasn’t there to negotiate, I was there to buy or walk.

    When the car arrives and I go in to pay the rest of the price, then I’m sure they’ll try to upsell me on more stuff, like an extended warranty. I’ve already told them this is a cash deal, I’m not financing.

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  35. David C said on March 15, 2023 at 9:29 pm

    One thing I’ve learned, and it’s a stupid game. They’ll give you a better price if you finance. The lenders sell them a package of loans for a certain percentage and the dealer can sell the car for less knowing that they’ll get a to keep the percentage above the rate they buy the loan from the lender. Then you pay it off in full the first month. It pisses off the dealers because they lose all their percentage but tough.

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  36. Sherri said on March 15, 2023 at 9:53 pm

    Yeah, I know about the finance game, but I can’t be bothered. From my research, there doesn’t seem to be that much discount to get off MSRP right now; it’s supply and demand. We’re still dealing with the impacts of supply chain disruptions.

    My original plan had been to continue to keep an eye on inventories and wait a few more months before buying, but getting rear-ended changed things.

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  37. basset said on March 15, 2023 at 11:04 pm

    Sherri, your salesman conversation reminds me of one Mrs. B and I had at a Hyundai dealer in Nashville. Salesman got us in the little room and left, with his phone on the table and on, as if we wouldn’t notice.

    So, we let him get out of sight and had a little fun with it, talking about how much we wanted to pay for the car and finally seguing into what kind of deceiving lowlife would pull a trick like leaving his phone in the room and listening to us, after which we walked and nobody chased us.

    And the add-ons… forget what they were that particular time but it seemed like a few years ago “industry standard” was the favorite bullshit term. A few hundred extra for saying the tires were filled up with nitrogen, it’s the industry standard… several hundred more for spraying Scotchgard on the seats, industry standard…

    Getting rear-ended made a difference for us too, had a 05 Camry with 305k on it… “paid for and runnin’ good,” as the saying goes, if that hadn’t happened we still woulda had years to go on it.

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  38. Dexter Friend said on March 16, 2023 at 3:25 am

    In the local paper years ago, a farmer was interviewed about his business plan. He traded up to new equipment when the stuff he had still had value. He even had his car on a time plan. Every third year on May 1, the salesman was called and the price was negotiated for a plain sedan, color whatever was on the lot, and the salesman dropped off the new car and drove away in the used one without ever seeing the farmer.
    Good job, Sherri. Dad showed me how to deal with car salesmen in September, 1967 when I bought my 1963 Galaxy 500. The guy told us it was a 1964 model and wanted $995. Dad knew better. He said it was a 1963 model. The salesman opened a desk drawer pretending to look at his car list, but I saw that the drawer was filled with cartons of Camel cigarettes. His name was Fred. Fred lit a Camel and said he must have been looking at the price for that ’64 Chevy. I offered $800 and paid $65 per month for goddam forever. One salesman at the Hicksville, Ohio Ford dealer let me get to the big door before summoning me back to accept my offer on a 1980 Chevrolet Citation. That car was a winner…until a mostly blind diabetic old man ran a stop sign and cut the car nearly in half.
    Good news-Bad news– My roof is fine, but a corner of the house is sinking and needs to be built up. Good, the interior water damage shall be covered; the foundation work is on me. Apparently I am negligent in not having my foundation inspected every few years or whatever. Yeah, whatever….

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  39. basset said on March 16, 2023 at 9:02 am

    And that was back when cars looked different every year… a 64 Ford was nothing like a 63.

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  40. Dorothy said on March 16, 2023 at 9:56 am

    I despise most car salesmen with the heat of a thousand suns. I’m glad for the last 25 years or so we’ve been leasing or buying with my cousin’s husband Bob, a great stand-up guy who never bullshit us or pressured us. He’s retired now so I’m not sure what we’ll do when we have to get our next vehicle. He helped us get a new Chevy Blazer in June 2021 when new cars were just so hard to find. Every transaction with him was painless and enjoyable actually. Maybe he can point us to another salesman at the same dealership and ask them to turn off the b.s. offers and routines. We have to drive to Elwood City PA to get the vehicles but it’s always worth it.

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  41. Julie Robinson said on March 16, 2023 at 10:21 am

    Ditto on buying cars. Our credit union in Fort Wayne used to hold rental car sales twice a year with no dickering and all the maintenance records available for perusal. IIRC we bought four cars through them over the years, all less than a year old. Right now we’re holding onto our 2014 CRV while the fam lobbies me on electric. Hasn’t worked yet.

    Dexter, consult a structural engineer, but you probably need piers and they are pricey. Been there, done that, wrote the stupid big check.

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  42. Deborah said on March 16, 2023 at 10:43 am

    My husband’s grandfather and then his father and uncle owned a car dealership in their small central, IL town and a few others in small towns around there. My husband didn’t want to have anything to do with it when his father tried to get him interested in taking it on. My husband’s cousin now runs it. When he was in highschool my husband had to sweep out the service dept floor every morning before school, dirty work to start the day. Most of the customers were farmers, I think it was a Chevrolet/Buick dealership, or at least it started out that way. Every few months the family drove around town in a brand spanking new model, but as you can imagine cars mean nothing to my husband, we don’t even have one in Chicago anymore, he dreads dealing with getting a new car in NM eventually, so do I.

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  43. alex said on March 16, 2023 at 11:51 am

    There was, I believe, a ’62-and-a-half Ford Galaxie that looked like a ’63. The frowny-faced ’62 model wasn’t selling well so Ford released the ’63 half a year early with a much friendlier mien.

    I hate car shopping too. Glad my vehicles are all paid off and built to last.

    Anymore, I can’t see buying brand-new unless you want something like a Toyota truck, which is impossible to find used because people don’t part with them. Otherwise I’ve had good luck with 3-year-old vehicles coming off of leases.

    What I really want, though, is at least one more car with a manual trans, probably the current iteration of the Honda Civic Si.

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  44. JodiP said on March 16, 2023 at 12:41 pm

    I have been lucky with my car purchases. We have a reputable used car company that is very fair, no dickering which I first used in 2010. In 2021 I decided it was time for a new car and wanted a Subaru, but that company didn’t have any–they are in high demand. My wife did a search for me and found a used one at a dealership in our area. We did a bit of back and forth with the trade in price for my old car, and that was it. We knew it was a good value. It was also a great time to buy because the market was flooded as rental agencies were offloading cars. I am hoping it’s the last car I buy with our plan to move to Europe to a city with robust mass transit.

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  45. alex said on March 16, 2023 at 1:03 pm

    I was wrong on my Ford history above. There was a ’63-and-a-half Galaxie that was introduced mid-year with a fastback roof and a 427-cubic-inch engine and it was intended for the racing circuit.

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  46. Icarus said on March 16, 2023 at 2:32 pm

    Why is car buying such a game? when I go to the grocery store we don’t haggle about the price of each item…at least not yet.

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  47. Sherri said on March 16, 2023 at 3:22 pm

    Blame Henry Ford. He created the concept of franchised car dealerships which were exclusive to a manufacturer, and since that time, the system became entrenched and protected in law. People buying a car hate it, but you don’t buy a car often enough for it to be a political motivation to do something about changing an very entrenched system, while the car dealers will fight tooth and nail to protect it.

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  48. Mark P said on March 16, 2023 at 5:27 pm

    I ordered a new Ford Maverick pickup and have been waiting six months. And there is still no hint of when I can expect to get it. The dealer is asking MSRP for orders but is asking more for trucks that come on the lot because there is such a strong demand. Some dealers are asking a $10,000 premium on a $33-35,000 MSRP. Ford is not happy. They are penalizing some dealerships with fewer deliveries if they charge over MSRP on new cars, so the dealers are finding “used” cars with maybe 30 miles on the odometer, and charging way over the new price. I think Ford would go to a direct-order system if they could manage it.

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  49. David C said on March 16, 2023 at 5:51 pm

    In almost every Podunk town in America the big wheels are the guys who own the car dealers. Also in every Podunk town there’s an insurance salesman who looks in the mirror and sees a politician who by God in going to Madison, Lansing, Olympia,… and show them how to run the state like a business. So the car dealer puts up the money and Podunk elects the insurance salesman. Since Podunk is so over represented in any state legislature the car dealers have their way.

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  50. Sherri said on March 16, 2023 at 10:30 pm

    Car dealers have influence everywhere, because car sales are a big source of sales tax revenue. Sales tax is a big part of how local and state governments are funded.

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  51. Dexter Friend said on March 17, 2023 at 3:51 am

    Mark P, you are in Rome, right? I liked that town, and that is where I found a thick wallet sans cash but full of credit cards. I was just a kid and didn’t know what to do to return it, our hotel was miles from the cop shop and we travelled by our bus. We left for Indianapolis that day and then on to Chicago where I just stuck the whole wallet into a post office drop box. I hoped the postmaster sent it back to Georgia. Yeah, we played a baseball game in Augusta, but not on a good field in a stadium…I think we had to play on a crappy high school field with rocks in the infield. About 110 miles SW of Augusta, near Macon, we played a local team from Warner-Robbins. We faced a pitcher who was doppelganger to the late J. R. Richard, who was our age, but was in Louisiana, so it was not him. This kid threw harder than anybody we ever saw, and we saw some future pros as we toured the country. I remember how I, normally a contact hitter who rarely struck out, could do nothing but fan the air. I never got the kid’s name…surely a scout saw him and signed him to a fat contract.

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  52. Jeff Gill said on March 17, 2023 at 9:40 am

    You will not regret spending St. Patrick’s Day 1946 with Jack Benny & a returning Dennis Day:

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  53. Mark P said on March 17, 2023 at 10:16 am

    Dexter, yes, I’m in Rome. It’s not a bad place to live. The county is about 100,000, but we’re in a kind of economic backwater since I-75 missed us by about 20 miles. We have Berry College, which is supposed to have the world’s largest campus at 27,000 acres. As a kid we lived across the street from the campus and spent many hours riding our bikes there. My wife and I live on Lavender Mountain, which lies at the north end of the campus. I went to high school with the guy whose family owned the local paper, the Rome News-Tribune. I stopped subscribing when the actual news constant shrunk to almost nothing. The paper was sold to a bigger group located near Atlanta. The weird thing about the town for me is that although nothing seems to change, every single thing I remember from my childhood has disappeared — the hospital where I was born, the house I grew up in, the elementary and middle schools I attended, my grandmother’s house. Even the path we took to get to Berry College is blocked by a four-lane highway. Plus, of course, my and my wife’s families are all dead, and lots of my high-school acquaintances are as well.

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  54. Bob (not Greene) said on March 17, 2023 at 12:05 pm


    Those Jack Benny shows from about 1946-51 are some of the best comedy shows ever. Dennis Day turned out to be terrific at comedy and while I would have preferred “Clancy Lowers the Boom” instead of “Danny Boy,” this is a great show.

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  55. Julie Robinson said on March 17, 2023 at 12:53 pm

    Talk about kissing the blarney stone; this interview of my Irish great-grandfather is from 1954. Not everything he says is accurate and there’s a loud parakeet I’d like to retroactively strangle, but it’s still a family treasure.

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  56. Scout said on March 17, 2023 at 2:21 pm

    Many of you may enjoy today’s edition of Jeff Tiedrich’s GQP Dumbstupids and the Dumbstupid Stuff They Do*.

    “Marjorie Taylor Greene, synapes struggling mightily to connect with one another, dove head-first into the situation and refused to take “it’s a fucking bag of dirt, Marge” for an answer.”

    * Not the official name

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  57. Sherri said on March 17, 2023 at 4:40 pm

    I’ll be interested to see why Jeff Tiedrich thinks DeSantis won’t happen. I tend to agree, I’m just curious about what will do him in. Will it be how Trump towers over him on the debate stage even with DeSantis’s high heels? (Ron is allegedly only 5’7”, and wears cowboy boots with his suits to give him a few more inches.) Will it be ozempic face? (Reports are that DeSantis is rapidly losing weight, leading to speculation that he’s taking the hot new weight loss drug.) Will it be that he apparently needs a manual to figure out how to act like a normal human being?

    He’s been trying hard to show MAGA world how tough he is, but I don’t think his tough guy persona will survive contact with real people.

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  58. Jeff Gill said on March 17, 2023 at 4:41 pm

    It’s not so much that I think Jared Kushner could be bought with a (presumably) jewel encrusted dagger & sheath worth $24,000 that I am amazed at the number & variety of grafty grifty grimy gifts described in this brief account. What do they think they’re buying?

    (This should be a gift link accessible to anyone)

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  59. Scout said on March 17, 2023 at 4:50 pm

    Sherri, I’m interested too. I keep hearing that DeSatan’s fascist schtick doesn’t play well outside of FL and that he actually has all the charisma of a wet paper bag. That may be part of it. It is fascinating to watch him and the orange blowfish attack each other vying for the cult’s support.

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  60. Julie Robinson said on March 17, 2023 at 8:13 pm

    Peggy Noonan reportedly said DeSantis seems like a guy who would unplug your life support to charge his phone. For possibly the first and last time I find myself in full agreement.

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  61. alex said on March 17, 2023 at 8:15 pm

    That was interesting, Julie, although the parakeet certainly did try to upstage your great-grandfather. 1954 was the year my parents got married. More than a lifetime ago for me.

    Jennifer Rubin, formerly a conservative columnist at the Washington Post who came to disavow the GOP because she couldn’t defend it any longer, has been prognosticating that DeSantis will be a big dud, just too uncharismatic and (as he showed this week by kissing Putin’s booty and pissing off Republican Senate leadership) not ready for prime time. She expects he’ll flame out just like JEB! and Scott Walker did, early favorites who got lots of buzz but then turned into total flops.

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  62. Jeff Gill said on March 17, 2023 at 8:29 pm

    Phil Gramm’s immortal line in 1995 before he breezed to the nomination and then was easily elected president:

    “I have the most reliable friend you can have in American politics, and that is ready money.”

    You recall how the Gramm administration turned out.

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  63. Deborah said on March 17, 2023 at 10:12 pm

    DeSantis’s squint is in league with Melania’s. It’s just as phony, what’s up with that? It’s weird, what do they think is cool about squinting?

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  64. Dexter Friend said on March 18, 2023 at 5:04 am

    Mark P: Your comments remind me of Winston-Salem, where I first reported to the Zinzendorf Hotel when I played baseball; it stood right beside the RJR factory which produced Camel and Salem smokes. Across the street was a diner, 69 cents, 2 eggs, toast, bacon, grits, coffee. That hotel was a de facto HQ for us, in and out of there many times during the 2 years I played before the army got me.
    Just 22 years later, heading to Charleston for a vacation, my wife and I drove there to see what the old area I once knew so well looked like. The hotel, long demolished, replaced by a glass palace office building. The cigarette factory business had been totally shipped out to Whittaker Park on the freeway, and the factory leveled, no trace left. Across the street, no diner, just another glass palace. The street had been re-designed with new curbstones and sewer grates…I was amazed, no trace that the area I knew ever existed. Better, I suppose…the hotel had no A/C and the rooms were infested with cockroaches. BIG motherfuckers.
    The huge Wachovia bank tower still stands there, reminding poor folks who owns that town.

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  65. Brandon said on March 18, 2023 at 4:46 pm

    @Deborah: It’s the Clint Squint.

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  66. Dave said on March 18, 2023 at 5:00 pm

    Dexter, I’m almost positive that is the cigarette factory I took a tour of back in the spring of 1969 when I found myself in Winston-Salem and got a free pack for touring it. Thankfully, one habit I never took up.

    DeSantis, among other things, loves the philosophies of Hillsdale College and appears to be trying to make Florida schools over in Hillsdale’s image. Where education goes to die.

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  67. Dave said on March 18, 2023 at 5:15 pm

    Julie Robinson, do you remember your great-grandfather at all? That’s remarkable that the family has such a recording.

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  68. Deborah said on March 18, 2023 at 7:10 pm

    I read a great sentence by Tom Nichols in The Atlantic about Kevin McCarthy “…But the amalgam of ambition, fear, and opportunism that holds McCarthy’s skeleton together is, apparently, a powerful epoxy”. It was in regard to what McCarthy tweeted today about Trumps upcoming indictment by Bragg in NY next week (I hope). McCarthy is finding fault with the indictment, of course he is. Trump is fomenting violence again. Personally, I’m not worried, I doubt there will be many “protestors”.

    I got some bad news recently, my youngest niece’s husband (the farmer) is not doing well at all, he’s not expected to live much longer. They have a 7 year old boy, so it’s very sad. He has had cancer off and on for a long while and it has reared its ugly head again. He’s gone through many treatments and is now in hospice care. Bummer.

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  69. Julie Robinson said on March 18, 2023 at 7:56 pm

    Dave, he died just a month before I was born, but everyone had stories about him so I kinda felt like I knew him. My family were big fish in the small pond of where I grew up. That’s why I went to a large, out-of-state university. I craved a little anonymity.

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  70. David C said on March 18, 2023 at 8:03 pm

    I was sort of pissed at Biden on St. Patrick’s Day when he invited Qevin to the White House to meet the the Irish PM and said that the congress could get something done if they would ignore the extremists “on both sides”. I know that shit gives the villagers a chubby but who the hell is the Democratic equivalent of Margery, Gym, Gaetz, etc. There aren’t any. Why feed that stupid narrative?

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  71. Sherri said on March 18, 2023 at 9:08 pm

    Took delivery of my new car today! According to the VIN, it was assembled in Greensburg, Indiana.

    One thing I’ve already ordered is a mirror upgrade; it doesn’t come with Homelink to open garage doors, but you can replace the mirror with one that does. It also doesn’t come with a spare tire, which is apparently common on hybrids as manufacturers look to save weight. It has a tire sealant kit instead.

    Now to learn about all the fancy new sensing and driver assist technologies on these new-dangled cars!

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  72. Julie Robinson said on March 18, 2023 at 9:21 pm

    Congratulations, Sherri! Hope it’s not too new-dangled for you. (Smile. I just autocorrected Venmo to Vermont elsewhere.)

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  73. Sherri said on March 18, 2023 at 10:56 pm

    Ben Barnes says he and John Connolly did indeed do the October Surprise (gift link):

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  74. Dexter Friend said on March 19, 2023 at 5:35 am

    Dave, when you entered the factory, a beautiful young woman always was there with a cig burning in the ashtray; I am sure that was a requirement. Tours were instantaneous, and a pack of smokes was always given at tour’s end. The tobacco in bulk like smelled heavenly as , of course, it had not been lighted yet. We quickly observed the shift changes, and when a new woman took the receptionist chair, we’d take another tour to get another pack of cigarettes. If they caught on, nobody cared as they wanted their product out there getting people hooked.
    I remember the high level machine noise and nobody wearing ear/hearing protection. I remember how the Salems were made. A double filter with paper and tobacco on either end, and a sorter shoving a single layer into a razor-sharp blade which chopped the long piece into 2 perfect cigarettes. Camels were straights; no Camel Filters were invented yet. They just got rolled automatically and proceeded straight to packing.
    On that trip we saw the Moravian community tourist thing. I remember only costumed long-skirted women walking about.

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  75. David C said on March 19, 2023 at 7:02 am

    I could live without a spare tire. The only time I used one in forty-seven years of driving was twenty-five years ago when I hit a piece of Michigan’s crumbling infrastructure and tore a one inch hole in my tire. Calling a wrecker once in almost 50 years would be fine. Any of the slow leak nail in the tire sort of thing has been caught by the TPMS well before there was any problem that needed the spare.

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  76. Dorothy said on March 19, 2023 at 8:59 am

    Sherri – we have the MyQ garage door app on our phone and it’s terrific. I use it on the days I walk over to the school bus stop to retrieve my granddaughter. When we get back to my house, if she runs ahead of me I use my phone to open the garage for her and she waltzes right in the house.

    We had to give a nickname to our garage door when we moved in, like giving a name to your WiFi. Laura suggested we use BobSweet – that’s the name of the character Ned Beatty played in Silver Streak. Well, it was his character’s FAKE name. If you know the movie, you know what I’m talking about.

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  77. Deborah said on March 19, 2023 at 10:52 am

    We got a garage door opener in Santa Fe the day before we left for Chicago. We had to put a wifi extender in the garage for it to work on our phones, as the garages are not adjacent to our condo unit. I was told by the installer that I could operate the garage door on my phone from Chicago if I needed to. Ha!

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  78. Icarus said on March 19, 2023 at 11:21 am

    Deborah, yeah it will use your cellular data to connect to your SF wifi. It comes in handy if you forgot to close the door. You can also add people to your account who can then install the app and have access, if you want.

    Last summer I ordered an upright Freezer for our garage. The delivery person accidentally hit the garage door sensor (He was extremely careless). Since then the door would not close properly and we had to do it manually. After a while of doing that, the garage door became unstable and we had to get it replaced. Hence the MyQ here.

    The person who measured the door did not account for an uneven pavement, and thus we are waiting for the door company to replace a section with a smaller panel, and also install an adjustable weather strip. I still owe them $2K so they have to eventually do it, but it has been 4 months since installation (I’m not in a hurry to depart with my $2k so I haven’t called them about it).

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  79. Dave said on March 19, 2023 at 11:41 am

    All I can say is that I have had several flat tires over a 57 year period. David C., I think you’ve been very fortunate.

    We have the MyQ app and once opened the garage door for a delivery when we were in Virginia so yes, Deborah, if you have a signal, you can open your garage door.

    Icarus, is the sensor out of alignment or is it broken? He must have been clumsy beyond measure to do that.

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  80. Icarus said on March 19, 2023 at 11:47 am

    Dave @ 79: we did everything we could to try and realign. sometimes it would work, sometimes it would. We even replaced the sensor. I suspect the age of the door and equipment and the Mississippi heat factored in as well.

    A new door was in our future, I just felt we had a bit more time until this incident accelerated the purchase ($4k total).

    It’s lucky my contract job covered the garage door, and another wishlist item (staining and sealing the back deck) before F*X Corp prematurely ended what was supposed to be a 6-month gig.

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  81. Dorothy said on March 19, 2023 at 12:28 pm

    On Election Day when I had to be out from 5:30 AM until god-knows-when (my husband got home from work around 6 PM) we gave our neighbor one of our garage remote controls to come over and let Nestle outside. The second time she did so, on her way back home she must have accidentally touched the open button in the pocket of her coat. When Mike got home the garage was open. I checked my MyQ app and sure enough, at 1:30 the signal went off that the door was open. I had not been looking at my phone (working the election!) so it had been open for several hours. If I had just opened it from about 4 miles away using the app, I could have closed it too. But it made more sense for Rene to do it with the remote. She was embarrassed that the door was open for that long. It is a very cool feature that you can open it using the app, I admit!

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  82. Julie Robinson said on March 19, 2023 at 12:48 pm

    Apparently garage door technology was revoluionized while I wasn’t looking. We have remotes clipped to visors and a keypad on the side of the trim. It doesn’t matter much right now since the garage is too small for a car and the opener is broken. So maybe we’ll get fancy whenever we get around to replacing it.

    The reality of flat tires is that I’m not changing one on the side of the road no matter what. Dad made me learn but I’m hiring that one out.

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  83. Icarus said on March 19, 2023 at 1:01 pm

    Julie Robinson et al: what you do not want is an Alexa-enabled garage door opener, or if you do…don’t let the default command be “Alexia open the garage door” as anyone could do it if you have a device within earshot. Oh and one annoying thing about the MyQ app…if you don’t use it frequently, it logs you out and you have to go through some hassle to relog in. I get the security but honestly, if I’m accessing my app, I probably really need to get into my garage and don’t have time to futz around with security questions.

    We had a tire blowout on a trip to Michigan one year. We weren’t in the middle of nowhere but we knew we could fix it faster than waiting for Triple-A to find us. On our minivan, the spare is actually located underneath the car carriage so there is some complexity involved.

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  84. Sherri said on March 19, 2023 at 2:51 pm

    I’ve said all along that Teslas in FSD mode are not safe to be on our roads. The rest of us did not sign up for this beta.

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  85. Deborah said on March 19, 2023 at 5:23 pm

    My dad taught me and my sister how to change a tire too, but I’ve never had to do it since then, thank god. If I had to do it now, it would be painful. I don’t remember much about how to do it for one thing, and it’s all probably completely different now, not to mention all of the lifting, kneeling and stooping involved.

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  86. Sherri said on March 19, 2023 at 5:31 pm

    The last time I had a flat tire, I didn’t even have time to consider whether to change the tire myself or call AAA before a Good Samaritan rolled up with his own jack and tools to change it for me.

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  87. David C said on March 19, 2023 at 5:31 pm

    If Muskmobile doesn’t replace Elmo at the helm within the next year, they’re going down the tubes. He’s too erratic, making too many stupid decisions, building too many factories in advance of demand, integrating too many parts to make the cars cheaper to build but impossible to fix. He’s also flirting with tissue box shoes and storing his urine in jars territory. The man is sick.

    Dave @ 79. I really must be lucky. I’ve only had the one blowout. Lots of tires have needed patching. My ’78 Rabbit had a tire that they pulled off to repair a leak and they found four or five plugs already in it. I’d better careful what I’m nonchalant about. As soon as I don’t have a spare, my luck will run out.

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  88. Mark P said on March 19, 2023 at 6:21 pm

    There are lots of reasons I wouldn’t buy a Tesla based on actual function. Musk gives me other reasons. I don’t want a car that can have functions disabled without my knowledge or consent. I also don’t want a car whose guiding light prefers lies over function. It’s obvious that cameras alone cannot work as well as cameras with radar or LiDAR.

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  89. LAMary said on March 19, 2023 at 6:47 pm

    Manually operated garage door here. Since the garage is full of the inhouse brit’s woodworking stuff it doesn’t make any difference. I have zero bluetooth, Alexa or whatever enabled appliances, entertainment equipment or anything else. I don’t understand how one uses bluetooth to do something with a refrigerator. Last September when I had two major appliances die within two weeks of each other I bought the most old school variety of replacement. The jazzy fridge croaked. I have a fridge now that has a freezer on top, fridge on the bottom. My dishwasher does have a couple of choices of what sort of wash to do but I have to push the button to start it. While shopping for these appliances online I saw toasters with bluetooth. I guess the bluetooth allows you to put the bread in, walk away, lower the bread remotely, then go back to take it out before it’s cold.

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  90. tajalli said on March 21, 2023 at 2:32 pm

    Had a flat yesterday (front driver’s side) on a busy residential street. Turned around so I’d be working at the curb. After I’d gotten it jacked up and lug nuts removed, along came the minister from the nearby church. Got him to remove the rather heavy tire. Then, a neighbor came up, put on the spare and brought out his electric pump and tightened the lug nuts. But he didn’t want to properly inflate the spare, rather smaller tire, to the recommended PSI of 60. The minister started yammering about Jesus to me and I ended up explaining his own religion to him. I much preferred the flat tire to the yammering, which was exhausting. I’ve probably only changed a tire 3x in my life, so pretty good track record, but I would have had to had the car towed if there’d not been a spare, so hurray for spares. It seems to have been the valve stem, so back to the place I bought it for a repair.

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