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Saying Goodbye to a Classic Car

On the morning of April 15, 2018, a (now former) friend of my daughter rang my cell in frantic state. The (then) twenty-three old had borrowed her car, while his vehicle was in the shop. The young man claimed that someone sideswiped Molly’s convertible when parked and he was away meeting a client. I learned that dents and scrapes spanned front to rear panels and the door between them, amid his gasping and repeated promises about paying for repairs. He never did.

The car is gone now; the why and how is an oddly twisted tale that I tell after depositing the insurance check. That act closed the story’s last chapter. 
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Hello, Mini

What a strange place to find a classic: Carport along a nearby alley. So which of my neighbors has been hiding this lovely? With no license plate. Apparently good condition. Cool color. Best of all: Steering wheel on the right side! It’s a British beauty.

Had there been a license plate—out of respect for the owner’s privacy—I wouldn’t have stopped to capture the moment. No identifying information encouraged me to take license (ah, hum, dumb pun) with Leica M10 and Summarit-M 1:2.4/50 lens. 
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Scooter Booter

Did you know that mopeds typically are bigger air-polluters than cars or trucks? Kind of diminishes their mystique, don’t you think? Yeah. Yeah. But I would still consider riding (and owning) one. Some newer models’ emissions are cleaner (and, yes, that’s a justification).

I shot this scooter nearby the bridge that crosses Washington Street to The Hub shopping plaza, on March 2, 2017, at 11:41 a.m. PST, using Fujifilm X100F, which settings were changed to those used by photographer Kevin Mullins, with Classic Chrome film simulation. Vitals: f/4, ISO 400, 1/950 sec, 23mm. 
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My Two Losses

This week I pick up the pieces of early May and return to business as usual—eh, hopefully. I’ll recount events chronologically, offering context for near absence on my personal site and complete disappearance from BetaNews, where my last story, as of writing here, was April 27, 2016.

The following day, there was an unfortunate vehicular incident, involving our six-and-a-half old Toyota Yaris, which the insurer designated total loss. That wasn’t the outcome I had hoped for, despite extremely generous compensation for the car’s value. We paid for the Yaris in full and, as such, planned on running it for many more years yet. 
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Our Yaris

We begin the year with a new auto, purchased a few weeks ago—2010 Toyota Yaris. The cutie car replaces our 1992 Toyota Corolla, which was totaled in a Black Friday weekend 2009 accident.

The family looked at several options, including the Honda Fit. Hertz rented us another Yaris, which charmed us all with its snub nose, compact size, and tight turning radius. We couldn’t resist. 
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$4,999 Car Is the Answer

Today’s Jeopardy question: How do you turn around the auto industry? For at least one automaker, perhaps even two or three, a sub-$5,000 car is my answer. Over lunch, I read news analysis “Small Isn’t Beautiful” in Sept. 19-25, 2009, Economist (I’m a print a subscriber). Economist aptly explains why the auto history is hosed, now that cash-for-clunkers programs are gone, there’s no credit for fancy, high-priced cars and demand increases for smaller, fuel efficient and environmentally friendly vehicles. Let’s not forget the production problem: For mature markets, at least, production capacity exceeds demand (and did before the econolypse).
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Hybrid Cars are a Bad Idea

I philosophically oppose the concept of hybrid cars. The hybrid is a feel-good response to concerns about the environment that doesn’t go near as far as needed. For other folks, hybrid auto is a no-conscience purchase; it’s about saving money on gasoline. Mother Nature deserves better than these gas guzzlers and air polluters.

How about those natural gas vehicles, like the Metro buses moving around Washington, or ethanol-powered alternatives? They’re no better choices than hybrids. All these vehicles are bad for the environment and in their wickedness preserve an oil-based infrastructure and economy that long ago surpassed any meaningful usefulness. 
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