Fandango’s Flashback Friday — January 14th

Wouldn’t you like to expose your newer readers to some of your earlier posts that they might never have seen? Or remind your long term followers of posts that they might not remember? Each Friday I will publish a post I wrote on this exact date in a previous year.

How about you? Why don’t you reach back into your own archives and highlight a post that you wrote on this very date in a previous year? You can repost your Friday Flashback post on your blog and pingback to this post. Or you can just write a comment below with a link to the post you selected.

If you’ve been blogging for less than a year, go ahead and choose a post that you previously published on this day (the 14th) of any month within the past year and link to that post in a comment.


This was originally posted on January 14, 2012 on my old blog.

Saab Story

As a former Saab owner, I was disappointed to learn that the Swedish automobile maker was forced to declare bankruptcy and to call it quits. While the Saab was never quite “mainstream,” it was, if nothing else, unique.

It’s hard to believe that it was just over 30 years ago when my wife and I purchased a 1981 Saab 900 Turbo. On paper the Saab was a great car. We were living in New Jersey at the time and needed a car that could maneuver us effectively through the winter snows and the hilly terrain of West Orange.

As the parents of two young children, we found the four door model to be roomy and comfortable for the whole family. And with its powerful turbocharged engine that kicked in at relative low RPMs, it was fast and handled spectacularly.

Despite all of these plusses, there were some serious minuses. We experienced a series of unexplained and nearly unfixable electrical system problems with the Saab. The car would periodically just stop running.

I recall one time having it towed to a nearby gas station. I asked the attendant if he could figure out how to get it going again. Yes, this was back in the day when gas stations, often referred to back then as “service stations,” actually had a mechanic available to work on cars. A gas station was more than just a convenience store that also happened to have a few gas pumps.

The attendant called over the on-duty mechanic, who popped the hood and gazed down at the turbocharged engine. After a few moments he scratched his head and uttered, in a manner that can only be described as a backwater West Virginia-like twang, “What the hell is that?”

“It’s turbocharged,” I replied, trying to sound as if I really knew what that meant.

The mechanic moved his hand to his chin and took on a contemplative look. Then he shook his head from side to side and shrugged his shoulders. “I wouldn’t know where to begin,” he said, clearly unschooled on turbocharged engines, which, I admit, were rarities back in the early 80s.

I learned, after that episode, to have the Saab towed directly to the nearest dealership in the event of future breakdowns. Unfortunately, Saab dealerships were as much of a rarity as were turbocharged engines.

Naturally, another such episode occurred not long after my encounter with the befuddled mechanic. But this time I was on one of my frequent out-of-town business trips. My wife had both of our young kids secured in their car seats and was driving them to or from somewhere when the Saab, once again, simply stopped.

Fortunately, the car was still under warranty and Saab provided roadside assistance service. A tow truck arrived, picked them all up, and drove the three of them, Saab in tow, to the dealership a few towns over from where we lived. It was sort of an adventure for my kids, but my wife was not a happy camper.

Although we loved almost everything about our Saab, it was, at the time, our only car. We needed something that wouldn’t periodically and unpredictably stop running. This last incident with my wife and kids was the final straw, and we made the difficult and sad decision to trade in the Saab for something a little less esoteric and a lot less finicky.

We opted for one of the most boring and ordinary cars on the road at the time, a 1984 Datsun Stanza, the forerunner to the Nissan Altima.

It wasn’t nearly as unique or interesting as the Saab, which has always been a rather quirky vehicle with a small but enthusiastic following. The Stanza lacked style. It was smaller, slower, and didn’t handle nearly as well as the Saab. But if nothing more than ordinary, it was reliable and it never just simply stopped.

Still, I was sorry to learn about Saab’s demise. Despite its obvious quirkiness and some reliability issues, it still holds a soft spot our motoring past. Finding out that Saab is no more was like hearing that a somewhat strange and a bit offbeat acquaintance from your youth, someone you haven’t spoken with or even thought about for years, had passed on.

It’s truly a sob story.

Fandango’s Flashback Friday — June 11th

Wouldn’t you like to expose your newer readers to some of your earlier posts that they might never have seen? Or remind your long term followers of posts that they might not remember? Each Friday I will publish a post I wrote on this exact date in a previous year.

How about you? Why don’t you reach back into your own archives and highlight a post that you wrote on this very date in a previous year? You can repost your Friday Flashback post on your blog and pingback to this post. Or you can just write a comment below with a link to the post you selected.

If you’ve been blogging for less than a year, go ahead and choose a post that you previously published on this day (the 11th) of any month within the past year and link to that post in a comment.


This was originally posted on June 11, 2017 and it was the first WordPress daily prompts I participated in since I started this blog a few weeks earlier.

Triumph Spitfire

Prior to today, I hadn’t participated in a WordPress prompt. But when I saw today’s Daily Prompt: Triumph, I was reminded of a love affair I used to have in my youth with British roadsters. And so I thought I’d give the Daily Prompt a go.

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I owned, at one time or another, a Sunbeam Alpine, Austin Healey 3000, MG Midget, and Jaguar XK150. And, of course, a Triumph Spitfire, like the one pictured above.

British roadsters in the 60s were notoriously unreliable. Yet I kept buying them over and over despite their poor quality and workmanship. Because when they ran, they were were so much fun to drive. There was just something sexy and exotic about driving around in a British roadster with the top down and the wind blowing through my hair, at least when they were in running condition — and when I still had hair.

That said, of all the British roadsters I owned during my decade-long British roadster phase, the biggest POS was the Triumph Spitfire. It looked great, but as a mode of reliable transportation, it was anything but a triumph.

Whenever the humidity got above 50%, which was more often than not, my Spitfire wouldn’t start. I would have to bring out my jumper cables and persuade one of my neighbors to give me a jump. No amount of time spent at car repair shops specializing in British cars would successfully cure the Triumph’s antipathy toward dampness.

I ultimately had to sell my beautiful but temperamental Spitfire when my frequent tardiness at work resulted in an ultimatum from my boss to either get a more reliable car or find another job.

Alas, keeping my job triumphed over keeping my Triumph.

Fandango’s Provocative Question #17 Revisited

FPQDuring the month of April, in addition to my regular topical posts as well as my prompt posts, I will be participating in the 2021 A to Z Challenge. I will post my A to Z post daily at 6 a.m. my time (Pacific). During this month, I will be revisiting four of my Provocative Question posts, which will be published on the four Wednesdays in April at 3:00 a.m. my time. If you didn’t respond to the original provocative question post, or would like to post a new response, please feel free to do so. Or you can read the responses of other bloggers who did post responses to the original. Anyway, here goes:

Each week I will pose what I think is a provocative question for your consideration. By provocative, I don’t mean a question that will cause annoyance or anger. Nor do I mean a question intended to arouse sexual desire or interest.

What I do mean is a question that is likely to get you to think, to be creative, and to provoke a response. Hopefully a positive response.

Earlier this week I wrote a post I called The Life and Death Paradox. It covered three rather provocative topics: abortion, sex education, and the death penalty. Not surprisingly, that post generated some very provocative comments. So that’s gonna be a tough act to follow.

This week’s provocative question came to mind when my son asked me a question. He wanted to know where we lived when I sold my motorcycle, and I couldn’t remember whether it was in New Jersey or Pennsylvania. I tried and tried, but came up empty. I couldn’t even recall the last time I rode it.

So, I decided to ask a question about human memory, which has been shown to be incredibly unreliable. With that in mind, here is this week’s provocative question:

“How do you know which of your memories are genuine and which have been altered over time or even made up?”

If you choose to participate, write a post with your response to the question. Once you are done, tag your post with #FPQ and create a pingback to this post if you are on WordPress. Or you can simply include a link to your post in the comments.

And most important, have fun.

Fandango’s Provocative Question #17

FPQEach week I will pose what I think is a provocative question for your consideration. By provocative, I don’t mean a question that will cause annoyance or anger. Nor do I mean a question intended to arouse sexual desire or interest.

What I do mean is a question that is likely to get you to think, to be creative, and to provoke a response. Hopefully a positive response.

Earlier this week I wrote a post I called The Life and Death Paradox. It covered three rather provocative topics: abortion, sex education, and the death penalty. Not surprisingly, that post generated some very provocative comments. So that’s gonna be a tough act to follow.

This week’s provocative question came to mind when my son asked me a question. He wanted to know where we lived when I sold my motorcycle, and I couldn’t remember whether it was in New Jersey or Pennsylvania. I tried and tried, but came up empty. I couldn’t even recall the last time I rode it.

So, I decided to ask a question about human memory, which has been shown to be incredibly unreliable. With that in mind, here is this week’s provocative question:

“How do you know which of your memories are genuine and which have been altered over time or even made up?”

If you choose to participate, write a post with your response to the question. Once you are done, tag your post with #FPQ and create a pingback to this post if you are on WordPress. Or you can simply include a link to your post in the comments.

And most important, have fun.

Accidents Waiting to Happen

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People are unreliable. People behind the wheel of two-ton moving vehicles are particularly unreliable. They are texting, eating, spilling hot coffee on their crotches, talking to others in their cars, or simply daydreaming.

I know this because I’m a pedestrian, a bicyclist, and a driver — in that order — and I’ve been almost hit by many a distracted driver. Still, I’m a skeptic when it comes to the notion of autonomous or self-driving cars.

Seriously, who came up with that disastrous idea? Would you trust a car to make its own driving decisions? Would you sit back and write a WordPress post, check your Twitter account, or text your friends while a computerized robocar navigates congested city streets or speeds along a freeway?

And how about when you’re walking in the city? If you were crossing an intersection at a crosswalk, would you bet your life and continue along your merry way if you saw driverless car heading toward you? And as for bicyclists, humans driving cars have a hard time seeing cyclists on the road. Do you think a car with no driver would do a better job?

Sorry folks. I’m a strong supporter of evolving technologies to make our lives easier and better. But self-driving cars? I don’t think so.


This post was written for today’s WordPress one-word prompt: disastrous.