Next POTUS Rides The Beast 2.0 – Whoever It Is

POTUS Limo on test track
POTUS Limo on test track

by Douglas Black  August 11, 2016

The presidential limousine is always a big deal.  Woodrow Wilson was partial to Pierce-Arrows and FDR enjoyed a cigar in the Sunshine Special.  JFK thru Jimmy Carter cruised the Lincoln X-100, suicide doors and all.  Obama has a Cadillac referred to as ‘The Beast,’ will be altered for the next President of the United States. My friends at the website managed to capture photos of the vehicle testing.

According to Joel Patel of Autoblog, “The Beast 2.0 will follow closely behind the current presidential limousine that’s built upon a rugged commercial truck with a sedan-like body.”   Instead of utilizing components from the now-retired Cadillac STS, the new presidential limo borrows parts from the new Escalade.  Still bomb-proof, the prototype sports LED headlights for better gas mileage (what??), has a more angular grille that features Cadillac’s wreathless crest (branding is crucial).


There’s no word on whether the Beast 2.0 will be ready in time for zipping to and from Inaugural Balls in January, but the stealthy photographers reported that GM recently stepped up its testing for the limousine at its Milford Proving Grounds.


DouglasBlack at CAS2015 1 Douglas Black is a writer and photographer in Chicago.



by Douglas Black    May 2, 2016

King Power

Gone is the winter of discontent for Leicester City, champions at long last.  The Premier Football League proverbial basement dwellers, who were considered so unlikely to even stay in the league a year ago that 5000-1 was the wager, yes that Leicester City, are finally champions.

Devine intervention? Perhaps.  Or perhaps we must dig deeper.

The much maligned Chieftain of the House of York, King Richard III, who Shakespeare villainized and called ‘undone’, who history has so despised that his resting place was unrecognized for five centuries, has been the curse of the club.

Sir Ian McKellen
Sir Ian McKellen as Richard III

Recently the old bent King was found, his bones discovered under a parking lot, dumped unceremoniously in an ancient toilet pit.  Oh, the game was indeed afoot.  Certainly Richard had likewise inflicted such disrespect upon the team, season after season.

But Richard III has now been given his horse, interred with full honors among his peers, and the King smiles upon the land.  The curse has been lifted.

Yes, it has indeed been made glorious summer by this Son of Leicester.


Douglas Black is a writer, photographer and historian living in Chicago.  Also and astrophysics enthusiast.

DouglasBlack at CAS2015 1

Trucks Surge, Crossovers Debut

February 21, 2016  by Douglas Black

It was quite predictable.  As the great recession ebbs vehicle sales are up.  And America hit the powerball number as well with gas prices half of what they were two years ago, pushing sport utility and pickup truck sales to record numbers.

Tacoma TRD Pro
Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro Debut

The heavy hitters like GM, Ford, Dodge RAM, and Toyota were showing their big guns this week at the 2016 Chicago Auto Show.  Toyota’s debut reveal was the 2017 Tacoma TRD Pro pickup, while Ford released the new 2017 Explorer XLT Sport Appearance Package, expanding its Explorer line up to six models, which also includes the Explorer Base, XLT, Limited, Sport and Platinum Edition.

2017 Ford Escape
2017 Ford Escape

2017-Ford-Escape-4 Ford made this announcement, along with unveiling the 2017 Ford Escape sport utility vehicle during the Media Breakfast where keynote speaker Mark LaNeve, Ford’s Vice President, U.S. Marketing, SaFord Escape1les and Service said Crossover SUVs are the fastest growing segment in overall sales, and expected to grow over five years.

According to LaNeve, the millennial generation, specifically active lifestyle young adults ages 25-35 years old, are opening their wallets to crossover utility vehicles, contrary to the notion that they are less interested in car ownership than previous generations.

2017 Kia Niro
2017 Kia Niro

2017-Kia-Niro-4 2017-Kia-Niro-6Other producers are taking notice as well.  KIA is expanding their product line with the all-new 2017 Kia Niro hybrid subcompact crossover vehicle, or as Kia describes it, a hybrid utility vehicle. Designed at Kia’s design centers in Calif., the Niro features high-tech safety features including blind spot detection with rear cross traffic alert, autonomous emergency braking, advanced smart cruise control, lane departure warning and lane change assist, making this a perfect vehicle for young families with active lifestyles.

Fastest Starship in the Fleet

May 7, 2015

From Eric Gallina and our friends at comes a story out of this world.  Designer Flavio Manzoni of the iconic Ferrari garage has done some extrapolating into the future and into the stratosphere.


“It all started as a bit of fun”, said Manzoni of his parlay into sci-fi.  “At first it was a sketch, or rather a series of sketches, then it developed into a rendering”, which gave form to the Ferrari spaceship.

“I think it is possible that there are other beings in the universe – more or less evolved”, says the designer, “but I also thinks it is very difficult to intercept”.


The idea, in this bloggers opinion, is to have the faster ship and NOT get intercepted.  Glad to see Ferrari on our team.



No Applause


by Douglas Black, April 29, 2015

An Empty Day
An Empty Day

History was made today in baseball.  It was not a remarkably played game.  It wasn’t a perfect game, nor even a no-hitter.  Willy Mays was not pushing 5 home runs in one outing.  The game was historic due to its silence.

This happened today in the same Baltimore Orioles stadium, the great Camden Yards, where, when new and pristine, this writer was sitting along the first base line during filming a scene or two of the movie “Major League” starring Charlie Sheen, and it was pandemonium.

Over the last several weeks America has been boiling over racial strife, arson, looting and the militarization of law enforcement within our cities.  Riots this week in Baltimore have caused postponements of games in the Orioles home stand against the Chicago White Sox.

Listening to the radio play by play in todays game, one could not help but notice the obtuse silence that punctuated the spaces between a snap of the ball to catcher’s mitt, crack of the bat, and the clapping of encouragement from the O’s dugouts as they took a commanding 6-0 lead in the first inning.  Every hit sounds like a home run.

There were in fact a few hundred spectators – those sports writers, news hounds, employees and opportunists outside the right field fence, not unlike the roof toppers beyond the fiscal enclosures of Wrigley Field.

Perhaps it was possible to relocate the game forty some miles away to the home of the Washington Nationals.  But no, not to be, but not because of anything other than innocent cross town rivalry.  I wonder if, 100 years ago, when the great Walter Johnson was pitching so unbelievably well for the Washington Senators, should they have needed to play a temporary venue such as the home of the Philadelphia Athletics, would Connie Mack have been so accommodating?  Certainly not. Simply business.

Kansas City Monarchs
Kansas City Monarchs

When we think of historic games we think of Jackie Robinson or Satchel Page being allowed to show their dominance in the Great American Game.  We think of Willy Mays and the amazing catch.  We think of Hank Aaron and his home run that surpassed the Babe in career long balls.  And we think of the great Rube Foster who took the Kansas City Monarchs to the first Negro National League World Series when he was a player and executive.

We should not be happy about a new historical mark in Major League Baseball being set by such unpleasantness.  Our game, and our nation, should be past this.

There was another eerie thing about today’s game – there was no applause after the playing of our National Anthem.

Cars You Want, Leading Edge and Bleeding Edge. And Other Automotive Stuff I Want To Talk About. ……. …From enerficiency On The Road, Douglas Black

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