The World’s Best-Selling Car makes car enthusiasts smile

Posted By on January 21, 2020

Annalyn on Christmas 2017

Annalyn in her Cozy Coupe
Christmas present in 2017

Although mentioned in publications before (here’s an older article), I always smile when I see the Little Tikes Cozy Coupe in automotive stories. In part, because the car is not what people envision of when they read “World’s Best-Selling Car,” but also because the manufacturer, Little Tikes, was founded in Aurora, Ohio (where I worked and we lived when first married) and manufactured the best-selling one-seater in Hudson, Ohio (the plant and headquarters was about a mile from our house in the 1980s and 90s).

Anyway, posted an article last week highlighting Jim Mariol the designer and his alma mater, the University of Cincinnati (LINK to their article about him). I enjoyed reading the article and all the links, especially now that my granddaughter drives a Cozy Coupe  (photo of Annalyn a couple years ago)  … and remembering the smell of the plastic when the wind was just right from the Little Tikes plant (they were bought by Rubbermaid in 1984, now Newell Brands)

Jim Mariol designed the world’s best-selling car, beloved
by toddlers for 40 years

Daniel Strohl on Jan 16, 2020

It seats just one, has no luxury amenities, sports zero-wheel drive, and its original design didn’t change for 20 years. Still, the car that Jim Mariol, a former Chrysler illustrator and Fisher Body Craftsman’s Guild winner who died over the weekend at 89, designed – the Little Tikes Cozy Coupe – went on to outsell every car on the market for decades and remains popular to this day, more than 40 years after it was introduced.

Music Monday: Green Day and the a US National Park road trip

Posted By on January 20, 2020

220px-Green_Day_-_Nimrod_coverMore than a few of us have contemplated just what it would take to see as many U.S. National Parks in our lifetime (and Canadian National Parks for me). Likely, very few of us will accomplish the lofty ambition, but then as I recently mentioned to my daughter who enjoys tying visits and hikes in our National Parks on her family vacations –  it is “the journey Green_Day_House_OF_Blues_2015_2not the destination.”

I’ve seen a similar (or the same?) article before with the map showing the Ultimate U.S. National Park Road Trip before, but when reading it again a couple weeks ago, I was listening to music and contemplating the lyrics to the song “I hope you have the time of your life.” Hm, I then thought, it might be worth archiving the map along with the 1997 Green Day song Good Riddance (Time of Your Life) for Music Monday.

  Green Day – Good Riddance (Time of Your Life) | 1997

Here’s the Google Maps for the full trip: [1] [2] [3] [4] [5]

If exploring the breathtaking beauty of our National Park System in one road trip is something on your bucket list, this may be the perfect map for you.

In celebration of the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service, blogger Randy Olson devised an optimal route to see the most epic national parks across the nation.

The U.S. National Park System technically consists of 59 parks, but 12 of them are in Alaska, Hawaii and other U.S. territories. This road trip is focused solely on those you can reach by car in one trip within the Continental 48.

Even with the reduction of the parks outside the Lower 48, Olson included 47 others along his route that stop in 23 different states. If you’ve never been to the Grand Canyon, Great Smoky Mountains, Joshua Tree or any of the other great National Parks, this may be the best way to see them in one shot.

Those determined to finish the trip can do so in approximately two months. The route covers 14,498 miles. Olson starts his trip at the Grand Canyon, but he designed the route as a loop, so you could begin anywhere on the map and travel in whichever direction you’d like.
The Stops (more…)

What is going to stop the US stock market and $AAPL stock?

Posted By on January 18, 2020

While working on post highlighting the DJIA crossing 29,000, I realized that the stock market has blown through that milestone and is rocketing towards 30,000 and that I’ll have to start over (probably a “worry-wart” post is coming).


One of the big contributors to this Dow Jones Industrial Average is Apple ($AAPL). It just continues to trade higher. AAPLDay200117The fact that CEO Tim Cook has learned to put his personal politics aside and work with President Trump certainly doesn’t hurt when gaining favor with US trade negotiations with China. Of course the entire economy benefits with lowered tensions and tariffs, but those who play the game best are the ones who work within the system. Apple is doing this pretty well considering.

On the other hand, passing and signing big trade deals like USMCA between the US, Mexico and Canada and getting phase one in place with China APPLStockChartJan2020doesn’t hurt either. Personally, I suspect those foreign leaders playing hardball with the US are beginning to think the election in November favors  President Trump … where as they may have been waiting out his term believing a Democrat would be easier to manipulate into a more favorable deal?
(speculation on my part)

All in all, the economy is still holding up well (housing starts up today) and companies who already have a great product AND know how to play ball in today’s divisive political culture, will come out ahead … ahead so much so that I’ve humorously added a Post-It Note to the AAPL chart on my computer monitor (photo left).

Also while thinking about how Apple’s CEO Tim Cook worked with leaders in China and “likely” a leader he doesn’t particulaly see eye to eye with in the US (President Trump), this bit of sage advice that I jotted down a while ago came to mind:

A wise senior business leader once said, “It is impossible to prosper when there is war. You must seek peace first; then you will prosper.”

So .. the sooner you make peace with your adversary, you’ll be able to refocus you energy on mutually beneficial outcomes.

Tech Friday: The subscription models and the 180K threshold

Posted By on January 17, 2020

Macintosh_128k_transparencyBack in the late 1980s when I was starting in the commercial printing and eventually ‘small time’ publishing business (Consolidated Printing and Publishing Co), I didn’t realize how far ahead of the game we were when focusing on the subscription model. Early on we were able to capitalize on few people in the printing industry being computer savvy, so when Aldus Pagemaker (now Adobe) and the Apple Macintosh computer came out, I was able to build “newsletter” templates for customers who were told to stay in touch and/or market to their customers with regular mailings. This was before email or the world wide web, so correspondence was either in personMake-Newsletter-templates-designs (sales calls) or by using the phone or mail. Eventually we had a decent string of regularly published newsletters and just needed the fresh content to fill the pages (fill the templates).

Fast forward 30 years and the subscription business model has taken over when it comes to technology. Now we pay monthly or yearly for our internet connection and wireless, our software licenses and hardware. We pay for cloud subscriptions that offer everything from online apps to data storage and virus detection. Illustration of cloud storageMagazines and newspapers are still focused on the subscription model too … but are likely delivered as digital content to a phone, tablet or connected computer device rather than printed on paper. Music, audio and video that were once purchased on vinyl, tape, cds, dvd or digital files, are now subscribed to with any number of streaming services which automatically bill monthly or annually. The number of subscriptions continue to rise and are likely straining tight budgets.

Do you want to eat this month or pay for your subscriptions? Where is your limit? 

On a lighter note, my 2010 BMW X5 35d is ready for some service as it has just rolled past 180,000 miles … unless odometers no longer roll?


An old photo triggered an “almost happened” memory #TBT

Posted By on January 16, 2020

While soring through my office file cabinet to make room for more current folders, I ran across an old lease contract and photo from an “almost happened” business decision. It would have been a decision and a location move that may have changed our future and had ripple effects even for the lives of my kids (like those “time machine” movies).


Flash back to 1986, when I was running a part time printing business out of our garage and basement when we were in our small Aurora-Hudson Road house. I worked a day job primarily in sales and then rebuilt printing presses and ran small print jobs in the evening.

Eventually we decided that it was time to either sink or swim and that I should go into my own business full time. So in 1985, NAPL_Plaque_CPPI paid NAPL for some research to understand where commercial printing services were needed and what city offered the best location for a commercial printing business to succeed. I don’t recall all the locations, but remember that our decision came down to either Raleigh/Durham NC or Port St Lucie, FL – not Ohio. Having a sailboat, we opted for Port St. Lucie and put our house on the market at the same time I quit my job, we were having our first child and Brenda would be staying home a few months before going back to work … in a new location! Gulp … but being young, naïve and “without children” had us thinking this was a good plan (Brenda’s parents even sat us down to make sure we had thought this through .. but we opted to forge ahead).

So the week our daughter Katelyn arrived, I headed south leaving Brenda and Katelyn in our SOLD house with Brenda’s mom for the week in our $500 high-mile 1970-something Chevy Caprice wagon. I haul everything that a moving van would not take plus a few tools to get ready to start the business … and find a place to live since the buyers were closing on our current home. It was stressful.

Upon arriving at the commercial unit (photo above), where I previously put down a $700 deposit and had signed off on the remodeling plans, I found out the landlord had left the country. Seriously … he went to the Bahamas. He under investigation for tax fraud and was being sought by the IRS. My deposit was gone, no work was done, I could get the keys to the space to start working on my own and 1000 miles away in Florida without my wife and newborn daughter was the last place I wanted to be.

We made the decision to drop the moving idea and instead looked for a house in Hudson, kept my job a little longer and then the following year with a severance package (Knight-Ridder closed our Ohio office), started Consolidated Printing and Publishing Co after remodeling a freestanding commercial building in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio in 1987 (photo below). 


And as they say, the rest is historyand a history without any regrets! 

Testing Amazon Prime deliveries using Key for Garage #video

Posted By on January 15, 2020

A year or so ago, I “was” planning to give the Amazon Key service a try by having shipments delivered to the condo in Florida when we are not there. So I purchase a smart lock and then realized that Amazon didn’t offer Key delivery Garage_Prime_Newsletter_1200px_v4._SX970._CB1556133220_services in Delray Beach. I sent it back as I really wasn’t that comfortable with the idea anyway.

For Christmas this year, Katelyn and Drew gave me the hardware so I could connect our overhead garage door to a cellphone app (and eventually to our smarthome devices with a little IFTTT tweaking). I was skeptical that it would work on our pool house detached garage since it is a commercial unit and does not work with built-in car remotes etc (saved this for the Honda but never could get the commercial version of “rolling codes” to JerryRiggedSumpPump200106work – nor would the BMW X5 35d).

Now that the garage door is working, how about setting up Amazon Key for the garage door (here’s a recent Verge update on using garage door openers with Amazon Key).  A few click later KEY was set up … but untested … until this week when I ordered a new Zoeller sump pump and switch to rebuild the old corroded pump so I have a backup (My Jerry-Rigged sump pump is temporarily doing the job).

Hey look (my WyzeCam Pan video below)lo and behold, Amazon Key for Garage worked.

What is Key by Amazon In-Garage Delivery?
Protect your packages by getting them delivered into the safety of your garage — perfect for when you’re at work, away or even on vacation. Get started with the Key by Amazon App and a Key by Amazon Smart Garage Kit.

How does it work?


Desultory - des-uhl-tawr-ee, -tohr-ee

  1. lacking in consistency, constancy, or visible order, disconnected; fitful: desultory conversation.
  2. digressing from or unconnected with the main subject; random: a desultory remark.
Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!