Wednesday, January 4, 2017

On a Maddening Loop

Pickup Nation

2013 F-150 Limited Supercab
I have never owned a pickup truck, but I did sell them for several years, and I can tell you that the people who buy them don't fit any of the  convenient stereotypes promulgated
by the media.

My truck customers were both men and women, young and old, rural and urban dwellers, etc. They included people from every income level and educational status.

It is a fact that the top three best-selling vehicles in America are pickups (the Ford F-Series, which I used to sell, occupies to top spot, followed by its Chevy and Dodge counterparts). More people overall buy passenger cars, including the popular crossovers offered by every manufacturer, but there are so many different models and nameplates that the full-size trucks always top the specific vehicle sales charts.

In my own experience, in short, the mere fact that someone prefers a pickup over some other type of vehicle to meet their transportation needs cannot reliably be used to draw any other inferences about that person.

That said, I have watched with amusement over the past couple of days as a simple rhetorical question by political blogger John Ekdahl exploded into to a firestorm of indignation from progressives who object to the notion that their insular life experience
is in any need of more contact with Americans living regular lives. All of the popular media stereotypes are on display in these responses, making the whole kerfuffle an excellent primer on how out-of-touch progressives are.

"Fess up. If you win the Powerball, you're buying that red supercab, am I right?"

The current model year equivalent, but yeah...

Feast Day

Statue at St. Michael the Archangel Church
Today we celebrate the feast day of
St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, the first Catholic saint born in the United States and founder of the first American religious order for women, the Sisters of Charity.

She also established the first free Catholic school in America, in Emmitsburg, Maryland. St. Joseph's Academy and Free School eventually became St. Joseph's College, and there is a major shrine to her located there.

Elizabeth was beatified on March 17, 1963
by Pope St. John XXIII, and canonized on September 14, 1975 by Pope Paul VI.

Among her patronages, Elizabeth is the patron of Catholic schools and of widows.

You Have a Bright Future in Politics, Kid

From the droll comic strip Zits, by Jerry Scott and Jim Borgman, which you should read every day, as I do.

Until Next Time...

On January 4, 1960 John Michael Stipe was born in Decatur, Georgia. Because his father served in the army and relocated his family frequently, Michael spent his childhood everywhere from Germany to Texas, Alabama, and Illinois (where he graduated from high school) as well as Georgia.

As a 20-year-old art major at the University of Georgia, Stipe met and became friends with Peter Buck, who shared his fondness for offbeat records by obscure artists. Before long the pair had dropped out of college to form a band with Mike Mills and Bill Berry.

The band they formed, R.E.M., would go on to a Grammy Award-winning Rock and Roll Hall of Fame career, and they remain one of my own personal favorites. Stipe's unique vocal style and Buck's jangly guitar-playing were a perfect fit, and still give me great pleasure on a regular basis. They were quirky enough that it took them more than a decade to achieve widespread acclaim, though.

The band went from cult status to superstars in 1991 with the release of Out of Time, their seventh studio album overall and their second for major label Warner Bros. Propelled by the band's highest-charting single ever, the signature song "Losing My Religion," the album reached No. 1 on the Billboard 200 Albums chart twice that year, and spent more than two years total on the charts. It received four platinum certifications from RIAA.

The album also included the song Michael always described as his own favorite, "Country Feedback." The song's lyrics are almost stream-of-consciousness writing,
the sort of thing that doesn't make for pop hits but which fans of the band consider emblematic of its best work.

Today's send-off is Michael's performance of the song at the 2003 concert in Wiesbaden, Germany that was filmed for the Perfect Square video (I saw the band on that same tour just a few weeks later). Enjoy...

No comments:

Post a Comment