Archive for June, 2011

Little Red Corvette

Today is the birthday of the Chevrolet Corvette.

It’s 58.

The creaton of Harley Earl rolled off the assembly line in Flint, Michigan in 1953.  There were only 300 made.  The base price was $3498.oo.

A 1958 Corvette today would cost you about $185,ooo on e-bay.  Seriously, it’s in Brentwood, Tennessee…where all the Country Stars live.

It looked like this.

1953 Corvette

This First Generation style lasted until 1963 with the introduction of the Corvette Stingray.

1963 Corvette Stingray

Which frankly, is my favorite.  The Mako Shark inspired bullet car was designed by Larry Shinoda with major inspiration from a previous concept design called the “Q Corvette” by Peter Brock and Chuck Pohlmann under the styling direction of Bill Mitchell.  Mitchell was recruited by Harley Earl.  Harley was a pretty sharp guy.

The 3rd generation, 1968-1982 took on an even sleeker look, and featured T-Tops for the first time.  It sold in record numbers regardless of the new EPA reguations and the gas crisis of the 1970s.  I guess if you could afford a Corvette, you could afford gas.

1974 Stingray

Germantown, Ohio, where I grew UP was Corvette Crazy back then.  Most of them were Goodwood Green, a Chevrolet/GM signature color, and they rode around in packs through the tiny town. 

It was awesomely loud to this teenager driving his 1963 Dodge Dart with “push-button” transmission.

For shame!

The 3rd Generation included the 25th Anniversary Corvette as well.  It was sharkier looking generation and really, really popular.

The 4th Generation Corvette, or as I like to call it, the ungainly years, lasted from 1984-1996. 

1984 Corvette

1983 was not a good year for GM/Chevy or the Corvette.  The fourth generation Corvette was the first all-new Corvette since 1963. Production was supposed to begin for the 1983 model, but quality issues and part delays resulted in only forty-four 1983 model prototypes being produced.  They which were never sold. All of the prototypes were destroyed except one, it had white exterior and medium blue interior, a L83 350ci, 205HP V8, and 4-speed automatic transmission.  After extensive testing and modifications were completed, it was initially retired as a display sitting in a external wall over the Bowling Green Assembly Plant’s employee entrance. Later this only surviving 1983 prototype was removed, restored and is now on public display at the National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green, Kentucky. It is still owned by GM.

So, if anyone tells you they have an 83 – liar,liar, pants on fire!

Which brings us to C-5, or Generation 5.

 Corvette Z06 Hardtop Coupe 

From 1997 to 2004,  Cheverolet stole ideas from Nissan and Mazda listened to its customers’ complaints about styling design and ended UP being judged by the automotive press as improved in nearly every area over the previous Corvette design.  Frankly, it didn’t take much.

Now, with Generation 6, we have the most expensive Corvette ever, it’s also the safest.  It’s pretty too.

Corvette ZR1

Chevrolet has been working on the 7th Generation since 2007.

It was supposed to come out in 2011 to add to the 100th year celebration of Chevrolet, but well, the shit hit the fan with the car industry, and, oh heck, you read the papers.

The Corvette C7 will come equipped with Chevrolet’s upcoming 5.5 L small block V8 that features a number of technical advancements including an aluminum block and heads (does no one UP there remember the VEGA?) and a revised combustion system.

And for all you gear heads out there who actually know what this means, the engine will retain the pushrod, overhead valve design configuration.  WTF?

Power will likely total 440 hp (328 kW), – which is huge- an improvement over the 436 horsepower available currently in the Corvette C6, but with improved fuel economy due to the new engine’s smaller size and advanced features.

BTW, the MSRP is $109,800.00 for a 2011 Corvette ZR1.  Wonder what it will be worth in 58 years?

The C7 is on track for a debut in 2012.  Just in time for the end of the world.

So, happy birthday Corvette, even for a Thunderbird fan like me, it’s nice to know we’re both June babies, even if I am a year older!

Rod Blagojevich, who won the Illinois governor’s mansion twice before his big mouth and scandal made him an international joke, got some really bad news Monday.

Blago

He was convicted of at least 17 corruption charges, including trying to sell President Barack Obama’s Senate seat.

The verdict, coming after his first trial ended last year with the braindead jury deadlocked on most charges, was a stunning blow and defeat for Blagojevich, who spent the last 2½ years insiting he was innocent on TV reality shows and in the witness chair.

His defense team, who were apparently not all that good, posed a case that hours and hours and hours of FBI wiretap recordings were just the musings of a politician who liked to think out loud.

Of course, Blagojevich doesn’t have a monopoly on criminal behavior for profit in Illinois.

Not a Monopoly

He became the second straight Illinois governor convicted of corruption. The man who sat in the chair immediately before him, George Ryan, is in the federal pokey serving 6½ years.

Blagojevic, when sentenced later this year, is most likely to get a prison term of UP to 15 years.

After hearing the verdict, Blagojevich turned to defense attorney Sheldon Sorosky and asked “What happened?”

Here’s what happened Ron, you got caught.  You’re just another sleazy crooked politican who tried to cash in on your office and your big fat mouth got you in trouble.

Seriously, Ron, what happened?  The jury decided you’re not a truthful person.

They decided you’re a disgrace to public service.

They decided you’re a bad guy.

They decided you were as guilty as sin.

And they nailed you.

That’s what happened, dumbass.

His wife, Patti, slumped against her brother after hearing the verdict, then rushed into her husband’s arms.

Before the decision was read, Blago blew his wife a kiss across the courtroom, then stood motionless, with his hands clasped tightly.

The verdict capped a long-running Nancy Grace/Joy Behar/Ricki Lake show  in which Blagojevich starred while blurting on a recorded phone call that his ability to appoint Obama’s successor to the Senate was “f—ing golden” and that he wouldn’t let it go “for f—ing nothing.”

All that was missing was the single wide and the tornado!

The 54-year-old Democrat, who has been free on bond since shortly after his arrest, had little to say when he spoke with reporters as he left the courthouse, saying he was disappointed and stunned by the verdict.

Really, stunned?  Disappointed? 

Stunned at whar?  The jury was smarter than you?

“Well, among the many lessons I’ve learned from this whole experience is to try to speak a little bit less, so I’m going to keep my remarks kind of short.” Blagojevich said.

Again, I say, no shit.

He added, that the couple wanted “…to get home to our little girls and talk to them and explain things to them and then try to sort things out.” His two daughters are 8 and 14.

And I feel for them.

The case exploded into scandal when Blagojevich was awakened by federal agents on Dec. 9, 2008, at his Chicago home and was led away in handcuffs. Federal prosecutors had been investigating his administration for years, and some of his closest cronies had already been convicted.

Blagojevich was swiftly impeached and removed from office.

The verdict is a huge victory for U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald, one of the nation’s most prominent prosecutors, who, after the governor’s arrest, had condemned Blagojevich’s dealings as a “political corruption crime spree.”

On Monday, he said the key question for the jury was whether to accept the defense suggestion that Blagojevich’s activities amounted to “the kind of political wheeling and dealing that is common in Illinois and around the country.”

In a dramatically rising voice, Fitzgerald said, “That couldn’t be any further from the truth. … Selling a Senate seat, shaking down a children’s hospital and squeezing a person to give money before you sign a bill that benefits them is not a gray area. It’s a crime.”

Fitzgerald also addressed a question that has hung over the case ever since Blagojevich was arrested: Why did authorities not wait until the governor actually made a deal for the Senate seat? Doing so might have helped ensnare other conspirators.

A U.S. Senate seat “should not be put up for sale. You should not let the sale happen. … Our job is to try to prevent crime, not just prosecute crime.”

Personally, I think they were afraid of whom they would catch!

On Monday, the jury voted to convict on 17 of 20 counts after deliberating nine days.

Why, oh why did it take nine whole days?   Did they need time away from work?

Blagojevich also faces up to five additional years in prison for his previous conviction of lying to the FBI.

They get real pissy when you lie to them, really, don’t do it.

Blagojevich was acquitted of soliciting bribes in the alleged shakedown of a road-building executive. The jury deadlocked on two charges of attempted extortion related to that executive and funding for a school.

Judge James Zagel has barred Blagojevich from traveling outside the area without permission. A status hearing to discuss sentencing was set for Aug. 1.

The charges carry a possible sentence up to 300 years in prison, but federal guidelines mean he will serve only a fraction of that.

Ok, no one lives to be 300 anymore.

Judges have leeway in sentencing and can consider many variables, such as whether a defendant took the stand and lied.

Prosecutors have said that Blagojevich did just that.

Well, duh!

Former prosecutor Jeff Cramer estimated that Blagojevich would get between six and 12 years. Another former assistant U.S. attorney, Phil Turner, guessed closer to six years.

When jurors spoke to reporters on Monday, they said the evidence was clear, but that “He was personable,” according to Juror No. 103.  “It made it hard to separate what we actively had to do as jurors.”

Please do not tell me you felt sorry for this guy.  He’s personable, so let’s go easy on him.  From what I read, Clyde Barrow was pretty charming too…should we slack off if the criminal is a nice guy?

Juror No. 140 said she found Blagojevich’s testimony over seven days at times “manipulative.  “Our verdict shows that we didn’t believe it.” 

Fired from the Governor’s office, fired from “Celibrity Apprentice” by Donald Trump because he was unable to do simple office skills, the former Governor has now been fired from polite society. 

He’s going to jail…for a long time.

He hasn’t said he’s sorry.

He probably won’t, and if he does, which he should, he’ll probably only be sorry that he got caught, not for the laws he broke.

What a Bobblehead!

Talk about your bobble heads!

Just Like Elvis…

Ok, I’ll start by saying that I know it’s bad form to make light of anyone’s death.

But, good taste, and proper behavior have never stopped me before.

A friend of the British Prime Minister, David Cameron, was found dead on the crapper just like Elvis in a Port-A-Potty at a music festival last week.

Christopher Shale, the friend, chaired Cameron’s West Oxfordshire constituency’s Conservative Association. Cameron said Shale was a “close and valued friend.”  

The Glastonbury festival is a fixture of Britain’s music calendar, attracting about 170,000 people to the farm in southwestern England.  

Sort of a Woodstock with tea and crumpets.  The line-UP included U2,  Morrissey, Mumford & Sons, Coldplay, and of course the ubiquitous Beyonce. 

Really, I’ve seen enough of her…most of us have seen way too much of her, put some clothes on!  Geeze!

Since the local police didn’t pick UP the phone when I called, I don’t know the cause of death. 

But, I guess, as ignominious as his death was, when ya gotta go, ya gotta go!

Captain Kangaroo…

…or at least the guy who played him, Bob Keeshan would be 84 today.

It’s Bob Keeshan’s birthday.

Captain Kangaroo

His show ran on CBS from October 3, 1955 until Decmeber 8, 1984.

He was a children’s television pioneer.

I loved that show.

Mr. Greenjeans, Mr. Bunny Rabbit, Mr. Moose, Mr. Baxter, Baby Duck, Kathy, Artie, Slim Goodbody…I miss them all.

I was three when it started and 32 when it went off the air.

I remember hearing the music and running to the TV and staying there the entire time.

Yeah, I miss it.  Kids today, they really do have it worse than we did.