Monday Musings 63

I tried an Impossible food product for the first time, a breakfast sandwich from Starbucks. I have to admit it wasn’t bad. It wasn’t bad at all and I will probably order one again.

I know some people have a “philosophical objection” to Starbucks and that’s OK. If you don’t want to eat/drink there, you don’t have to. You don’t have the right to try to physically stop me, though. (Sorry for the split infinitive.)


I will probably not watch the Super Bowl. Of course, I didn’t watch either conference championship game. My wonderful wife and I helped her parents set up their Hulu account, gave them a Hulu tutorial, and programmed their in-vehicle garage door openers so they would work with their garage door. The first activity took a long time, way too long.

Of course, I am not happy the Packers lost although I am happy the Chiefs won. The main reason I probably won’t watch the game (I stopped watching the pre-game show decades ago) is I don’t want to watch the Tom Brady Genuflection Show.

I give him props for leading his team to the Super Bowl; he’s the most accomplished quarterback in NFL history, maybe its most accomplished player regardless of position. However, I suspect the broadcast will simply be an over-the-top homage to Brady.

For some reason, he has always rubbed me the wrong way. When he destroyed his cell phone during the “Deflategate” situation I really began to dislike him. The ends do not justify the means.

I can appreciate his extreme competitiveness. Non-sports fans and fans alike really have no idea how competitive professional athletes are. This post about Randy Johnson chronicled a time when he went ballistic over a ball/strike call during a spring training game. Still, like all behavioral paradigms, competitiveness in the extreme has many drawbacks.

Go Chiefs!


This Hemmings article is titled, “Turnkey replica cars are now legal, but many replica carmakers aren’t ready to make them just yet.” The piece begins,


For David Smith, the president of Factory Five and one of the members of the SEMA steering committee that advocated for the Low Volume Motor Vehicle Manufacturers Act, last week’s news that the replica car law passed its last regulatory hurdle before going into effect should have been cause for celebration. Instead, as he noted, he saw it as a mixed bag.

“We were prepared for this in 2015 and invested in vertical integration at the time,” Smith said. “But with all the delays, in lieu of going forward with full production we used that space for another purpose – to do more with composites – and now it’s booked. That’s definitely going to slow down our ability to take advantage of this law.”


Smith said it will still take another year or two before Factory Five is up and running. Government is not a panacea populated by supermen! Government creates many problems. What the ratio of created problems to solved problems is depends on one’s perspective, no doubt.

That it took five years to get this act implemented is yet another example of the ponderous nature of government. It can’t move quickly, which is often quite the detriment. If government labs had been in charge of developing a COVID-19 vaccine, they would still be arguing over the color of the lab coats.

From Allard Motor Works via Hemmings, a picture of their J2X Allard replica:


Post Image


They have offered turnkey replicas to customers in the UK, Canada, New Zealand and China. The United States is the only country where they don’t/can’t do the engine install for the customer.

I’m sorry, but selling 325 cars a year (the annual limit to the number of turnkey replicas that can be built), and the drivetrains have to be certified for emissions compliance by the EPA and the California Air Resource Board, is not going to hurt anyone. Smug, self-righteous and arrogant people who think they are in charge of everyone’s lives need to go away.

I can’t stand Tonald Drump, but I also can’t stand the belief that government always knows best. It doesn’t.







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“Thoughts” For Sunday

Posts having to do with sports are almost always read less frequently than posts about cars. Although I hardly follow sports at all anymore, they will always be a part of my history and I will write about them from time to time. Even though I never bagged the “ultimate” prize, very few people have even one of these rings, let alone two.



I have been told I am unnecessarily pessimistic, that I have much for which to be thankful and much of which to be proud. (Maybe I should stop writing…we’re getting lightning and thunder [and heavy rain] here in the desert as I write this.) As I have written, though, I was a “high achiever” for most of my life and just cannot get used to being relatively inactive in terms of a career.

Still, I do take pleasure in some things. Take a look at this:



As shallow as this may sound, if you had told me 30 years ago that one day I would be the second owner of a car that had a six-figure sticker price when new I would have asked what you were smoking, especially since the car still had the original bumper-to-bumper warranty when I bought it, meaning it wasn’t an old car, at all. (Yes, another Rules Of Logic run-on sentence!)

Of course, I didn’t pay anywhere near the sticker price as I was able to take advantage of new car depreciation to buy the Z06. I remember when I was floored by the notion of a $50,000 car when I was in high school. I think a Rolls-Royce model (the Camargue?) was the first new car that I had ever heard cost that much. Actually, with a little research I have unearthed that given the £/$ exchange rate when the Camargue was introduced, and the “premium” Rolls-Royce charged US customers, the Camargue was about $75,000 when new in 1975.

Anyway…it is often difficult to appreciate significant changes in one’s life because they are usually not the result of a discontinuous change in what I can only call “life function.” I didn’t win the lottery to be able to afford my Z06. It’s like if a person loses some weight over a period of a couple of years. They and their significant other won’t notice the change as much as someone they have not seen for five or ten years.

The loss of my baseball consulting business, on the other hand, was a discontinuous change. As I have recounted before, in the space of 11 days in October, 2010 I basically lost my business. In some ways, I have never recovered from that experience, especially given I have never found an interesting and fulfilling work situation since. I really enjoy writing this blog, but it’s not paying me a living wage. Again, I don’t need the money, but part (and only part, IMO) of the boost in self-esteem that comes from a job is from the compensation. Besides, unless your last name is Buffett or Bezos or Gates, you never have enough money.

On the topic of money…part of me (notice I wrote “part of”) would prefer to win $2 million or $4 million in a lottery instead of winning $200 million. Why? One reason is that Arizona does not allow winners to claim their prizes anonymously. Even if one sets up a trust or series of trusts, the attorneys and their staff would know as well as lottery officials. Remember Mark Twain’s famous line, “The only way two people can keep a secret is if one of them is dead.” Many winners of huge prizes have become targets including one man in West Virginia who was murdered because people wanted his lottery money.

Also, winning a nine-figure prize would be a discontinuous change that would inevitably lead to some behavior that would be a tip-off to one’s newfound fortune. On the other hand, winning a seven-figure prize would not really change much about the life my wonderful wife and I have. We already have no debt and have a healthy net worth. As I have told her many times, I think we could keep such a jackpot a secret from EVERYONE in our lives. I sure would love to find out if that is true…

What do you think? I would very much like to read your thoughts.







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Hammerin’ Hank

It really doesn’t seem possible that it was almost 47 years ago that Dr. Zal and I watched Hank Aaron hit his 715th career home run, breaking the record long held by Babe Ruth. Time waits for no man.

Despite the “steroid era” and the adaptation of modern analytics and training techniques, Aaron is still the all-time MLB leader in career RBI, extra base hits and total bases. He is also in the top five in career hits and runs scored.

Like many successful athletes–hell, like many people in general–Aaron lamented many of the changes in his sport that had occurred since his playing days. He thought the emergence of the “three true outcome” hitter made the game far less enjoyable. Three true outcomes refer to home runs, strikeouts and walks, events where the pitcher and hitter determine the result of the plate appearance without the impact of fielders.

Despite amassing 755 home runs and 1,477 extra base hits (double, triple, home run), Aaron never struck out more than 97 times in a season. I believe the single-season “record” for most strikeouts by a batter in a season is over 220. Of course, Aaron didn’t face the same proportion of pitchers with 100+ MPH fastballs and nasty secondary pitches as hitters do today.

I know it’s a coincidence, but I always found it interesting that Hank Aaron was born on February 5 and Babe Ruth was born on February 6. Oh, $50 a month was the reason that Aaron and Willie Mays were not teammates. After starring in the Negro Leagues (sorry, SJWs, that’s what they were called and that’s what they’re still called) with the Indianapolis Clowns, Aaron received two contract offers from MLB organizations. Quoting Aaron, “I had the Giants’ contract in my hand. But the Braves offered fifty dollars a month more. That’s the only thing that kept Willie Mays and me from being teammates – fifty dollars.”

I salute the memory of Henry Louis “Hank” Aaron.


See the source image


Evidence that in baseball one player cannot usually make a team great, Aaron played on only one World Series champion, the 1957 Milwaukee Braves. (OK, I’m stretching the point. The Braves had a winning record every season they played in Milwaukee, 1953-65; Aaron debuted in 1954.) What was happening in the automobile world in 1957?

The Automobile Manufacturers Association banned factory-sponsored racing. The ban proved to be less than effective as “privateers” with industry connections still found ways to race cars.

Pontiac celebrated its 50th anniversary and Oldsmobile celebrated its 60th. Of course, fuel injection became an option in the Corvette. It’s not as well-known that fuelies were also part of Pontiac’s lineup for the 1957 model year, available only in the limited-production Bonneville model. Their engine had a larger displacement than Chevrolet’s (347 cubic inches compared to 283) and was “rated” at 315 HP, compared to 283 for the Chevy. Of course, the Chevrolet engine really had about 290 HP, but the marketing people liked the idea of 283 HP from 283 cubic inches. Similarly, many automobile historians think 315 HP is an understatement. I have read that Pontiac never put an official HP rating on the engine simply saying it produced “in excess of 300 HP.”


See the source image


From eBay a picture of (hopefully) a 1957 Pontiac Bonneville. Only 630 of these were made at a price of $5,782, by far Pontiac’s most expensive model and far more than most ’57 Vettes even equipped with option code 579D, the 283 HP fuelie. The base price of a ’57 Corvette was $3,176 and option 579D cost $726. Even with another $1,000 in options, the car was less expensive than a Bonneville.

Tying this post up, Dr. Zal’s father drove Bonnevilles for years, but never had this one. I spent much time in one of his Bonnevilles as for the first two years of high school, his father would take us to school and my father would take us home. The last two years I usually drove us to and from school in my Pontiac, the 1967 GTO.







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Car-Garage Convergence

I did not live in a dwelling with a garage until I was 38. Even though I was renting the house, I felt like I had “made it.”

Fast forward a few years…the house in which my wonderful wife and I lived for most of our time in Texas had a 3-car garage, but we “only” had two cars. After we moved to the mid-Atlantic, we lived in a house with a 2-car garage, but we had three vehicles.

Fast forward to now…



Our 2015 Cadillac ATS was delivered yesterday. (Many thanks, Austin.) I did not want to take a picture from the rear and show our license plates. Can’t be too careful these days…

While the garage is smaller than a 3-car should be, after removal of lots of “stuff” we are able to park three cars in it. We have a 3-car garage with three cars, as it should be. Yes, we took the ATS to the grocery store yesterday and it easily handled our purchases.

I actually drove it for the first time and it was impressive. The car is comfortable, chock full of features like lane departure warning and is surprisingly nimble. Here is a better picture of the Z06 and the ATS:



Wish us luck with our new vehicle. Hey, just wish us luck and I will do the same for you.


The nearly $1 billion Mega Millions annuity jackpot could be won this evening. At our age, my wonderful wife and I would take the cash, which is about $720 million. Even assuming paying about 50% in taxes, that would leave a sole winner with $360 million, free and clear.

Arizona is, unfortunately, not a state in which a lottery winner can remain anonymous, unlike the state we left. The conventional wisdom is if one should find themselves in this position, tell as few people as possible and set up some legal entity that does not bear the name of the winner(s) to claim the prize.

This should surprise no one, but I have already set up a spreadsheet with the numbers 0-9 and the letters a-z each assigned a random number. If the miracle happens, I will recalculate the random numbers thousands of times and then sort by that number. The six or eight characters that appear at the top will be the name of our trust to claim the prize.

Like I wrote yesterday, we have no debt, a good net worth and are not spending money we can’t afford to buy lottery tickets. The ticket displayed yesterday cost $6. Spending $6 to have a chance to win $360 million, no matter how small that chance, seems reasonable to us. As I have said to my wonderful wife hundreds of times, “Wouldn’t that be something?”








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Almost Thursday

Yes, it is Thursday, not a few minutes before Thursday. Take a look at the B line on this Powerball ticket.



Since I bought the ticket I was obsessed with that B line and, somehow, felt it would be the winner. Here are the actual winning numbers from last night’s drawing with one matching ticket sold in the state in which I was born and raised, Maryland:

40 53 60 68 69

Not far off, huh? Yes, it’s just a coincidence (including the location of the winning ticket)–an after the fact association, if you will–but it still “speaks” to me.

The odds of winning any prize in either giant multi-state lottery are about 1 in 30 or 1 in 25, but my wonderful wife and I are on quite a dry spell having bought many times that number of tickets in the last 12-18 months without having won anything. Put down in black and white it seems like a giant waste of money. Still, if we don’t play the lottery our chances of winning a life-changing amount of money are zero. If we play, then our chances asymptotically approach zero, but they’re not zero.

We have no debt and we have a healthy net worth. We are not spending our last dollars in the hopes of winning the lottery. I think playing not only gives you an infinitesimal chance of winning, but it allows you to have very pleasant daydreams about what you would do if you won.


Frank Luntz is a Republican pollster who predicted that the Democrats would win the two Senate runoff elections in Georgia to gain de facto control of that body. In this CNBC article he makes some chilling comments after recently hosting a virtual focus group of Americans from across the “political spectrum”:


“It’s going to be very tough for the president and Congress to find that middle ground because, quite frankly, it doesn’t exist. It was the most contentious group I’ve done in a long, long time. It was even more contentious than in the lead-up to the election.” (The focus group was held earlier this week.)


Ironically, even though a shrinking number of “unaffiliated” voters can give that group more power in an otherwise deadlocked political landscape, I think it has become inevitable that the US cannot exist much longer in its current state. Whether it happens in 10 years or 50, I don’t see any solution except dissolution.

Given that most elected officials in the US only care about being elected and re-elected, and nothing about actually governing, I don’t see a “way out” other than to get out. I know I have written this many times before, but the results of the 2020 elections only show how divided the country is. The Senate has 50 Democrats and 50 Republicans. The House has 221 Democrats and 211 Republicans with three vacant seats. The most polarizing President in US history did not really inflict much damage on “his” party, which actually gained seats in the House. That party distribution in both houses is not a mandate from the people, it’s a strong indication that “the people” are not capable of delivering a mandate.

I’m not even going to write that I hope I’m wrong because nothing lasts forever. If it’s time to dissolve the US into two or three countries, so be it.


Would the dissolution of the US lead to more automotive innovation in one of the “spin-off” countries? After all, a country that is not the US would not be bound by US DOT and EPA regulations. Would “modern” versions of a car like this return?


See the source image


This is a picture of a 1958 Cadillac Eldorado Brougham that was offered at the RM Sotheby’s Arizona 2018 auction. Body shapes like this are probably in violation of current US regulations and laws, but in a country that is not the US could these shapes return?

I am quite enamored of these cars that were not only a styling tour de force, but also had many innovations such as the first automatic two-position memory power seats. These are a contender to be part of Ultimate Garage 3.0, but not a lock.

I welcome thoughtful comments from you on any post topic from today or any other day.







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Wandering Wednesday

First, from Wikipedia:


Wandering, in people with dementia, is a common behavior that can cause great risk for the person, and is often the major priority (and concern) for caregivers. It is estimated to be the most common form of disruption from people with dementia within institutions. Although it occurs in several types of dementia, wandering is especially common in people with Alzheimer’s Disease (AD). This can be due to forgetfulness and also to a frequent need for stimulation.”


My post titles are not intended to be disrespectful or to make fun of people with illnesses. As regular readers know, I like alliterative titles and alliteration, in general, and sometimes my posts are not “linear.”


I found a statement by GM Vice-President Steve Hill, as reported here, to be most interesting. Hill remarked that the median household income of a mid-engine Corvette buyer is $76,000 higher than those who purchased a C7 Corvette. That is not a small difference.

If this difference holds, it is evidence that many people in the market for high-performance cars were, indeed, put off by the front-engine design of previous Corvette generations. Maybe Chevrolet/General Motors knew what they were doing, at least in this context. OK, a couple of photos:


See the source image


I can’t imagine anyone reading this blog wouldn’t know, but the top photo (credited here) is of a C8 Corvette and the bottom photos are the C7 Corvettes that my wonderful wife and I own. I no longer feel that she will definitely buy a C8 convertible.


I found this CNBC video to be most interesting as well. It is a 15-minute report on why Japanese automakers are still producing sports cars in the “age of SUVs.” If you’re reading this blog, then I think you would enjoy watching it.

One of the reasons the Japanese auto industry is still making cars like the new Supra is to distinguish themselves from the rest of the industry by giving people the option of buying cars for the fun of driving and not for grocery shopping and schlepping the kids. With rare exceptions like the Corvette, American car companies (at least GM and Ford) have basically abandoned the coupe and sedan markets. In the piece, the narrator also quotes some “experts” who think it is premature to assume that SUVs and pickup trucks will always have at least a 70 percent share of the US market. From a picture of the aforementioned Supra:


See the source image


Yes, many JDM fans are unhappy with Toyota’s partnership with BMW that created the new Supra, that the car can be considered to be a re-skinned BMW. Hey, I think it’s better that the partnership was used to create this car and the new Z4 than to create another pair of SUVs.


After the landslide in the 1972 Presidential election, many pundits proclaimed the death of the Democratic party. After Watergate just a couple of years later, many of those same pundits proclaimed the death of the Republican party. History is replete with examples of the folly of human beings trying to predict the future.

Today, a new administration takes office. While I am not a fan of either party, I hope that the rancor and vitriol of recent years fade, at least a little. The anger and extreme disrespect prevalent today are, in my opinion, a manifestation of arrogance and ignorance. NO ONE has a monopoly on truth and wisdom and neither does ANY ideology. Oh, the remark about arrogance and ignorance is not an attempt to channel Bull Durham.


Stay safe and be well.









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Getting Old Tuesday

I had quite the fall yesterday, caused simply by trying to get out of my jeans so I could put on my “night clothes.” It is a VERY good thing that the floor of the master bedroom is now covered in carpet instead of hard wood, but I am still quite sore this morning.

The combination of Meniere’s Disease and advancing age is wreaking havoc on my balance. While living in a one-story house usually accelerates the decline in bone density and cardiovascular health, I know that if I had had a similar fall at the top of the stairs, I wouldn’t be writing this post now. EVERYTHING is a trade-off.


Some more pictures from the desert:



With a little research I have figured out why the smudged picture of Venus turned out that way. In low light an iPhone camera slows the shudder speed (to allow more light) so almost any movement will make the picture blurry. I cannot hold the phone still enough to get good photos in low light with my phone. Is that another manifestation of advancing age and/or Meniere’s? I don’t know.


From this CNBC article comes a list of the states to which people are moving and from which they are leaving, according to U-Haul. OK, people using U-Haul to move may not be representative of the entire population, but it’s still interesting to see. Here are the top five growth states in 2020:


1. Tennessee
2. Texas
3. Florida
4. Ohio
5. Arizona


California ranked last in 2020, behind Illinois and New Jersey. California has been in the bottom three states since 2016 and Illinois has been in the bottom two since 2015, when U-Haul began ranking states. Everyone repeat after me: People Vote With Their Feet.

From this US News article comes this list of the top and bottom states in population growth since 2010:


1.Utah (17.1%)
2 (tied). Idaho (16.3%)
2 (tied). Texas (16.3%)
4. Nevada (16.1%)
5. Arizona (15.8%)
6. Florida (15.3%)
7. Colorado (15.1%)
8. Washington (14.1%)
9. North Dakota (13.4%)
10. South Carolina (12.6%)

41 (tied). Michigan (0.9%)
41 (tied). New Jersey (0.9%)
43. Pennsylvania (0.6%)
44. Rhode Island (0.3%)
45. Mississippi (-0.1%)
46. New York (-0.3%)
47. Vermont (-0.4%)
48. Connecticut (-0.6%)
49. Illinois (-2.0%)
50. West Virginia (-3.7%)


The first list is just a 2020 measure while the second list uses a ten-year period so I am not calling this an apples-to-apples comparison. By the way, I had to deliberately leave out the space between 1. and Utah or otherwise the WordPress editor would have indented the list. WHY does WordPress assume that every numbered or bulleted list has to be indented?! I had to copy the list to Microsoft Word and paste it from there, but WordPress still wanted to indent the list unless I left out the space.

Eight of the ten fastest growing states are west of the Mississippi River and all ten of the slowest growing states are east of the Mississippi. Most of the latter group are also in the Rust Belt and/or Northeast. More from the article:


“Of the 10 most populous states, eight have seen population growth decline since 2010, while California, once touted for its population growth that boomed between 2000 and 2010, has seen stark declines in growth, losing population between 2019 and 2020 for the first time since 1990. Illinois and New York also saw population losses in the last few years, with both states’ 2019-2020 population loss marking their highest such decrease in the last 30 years.”


With the purchase of the 2015 Cadillac ATS, all of the ruminating over what to buy has ceased. With it, a large source of blogging material has disappeared as well.

As the vehicle world seems to be moving ever faster towards electric and SUVs/pickup trucks, I wonder just how much material I will have for writing about cars. I open the floor to suggestions about what to use as a source for automotive content. In the interim, a picture of the only car in my “inner sanctum” among Ultimate cars that could be acquired for a five-figure sum:


See the source image


Remember that the quest for a car to accompany our Corvettes began with a car like this 1965 Buick Riviera GS. At this moment in time, such an acquisition will simply not happen. Oh well…









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A Surprise Addition To The Family

My wonderful wife and I certainly did not plan on this happening…no, she is not pregnant. We are both way past the age for that.

First, somewhat of a detour. Do you remember this car?



While on a “fact-finding” mission yesterday, look what we found:



The top photo was taken at the Barrett-Jackson auction in Scottsdale in January, 2019; the bottom was taken yesterday while we were out test-driving more cars. Yes, it’s the same car, “The Blue Meanie” as I have dubbed it. What a small world!

I bid on the car–a custom 2014 Corvette convertible–at the auction and just missed winning it as my bid of $65,000 ($71,500 all in) was the next-to-last bid. Ultimately, the car was purchased for $77,000 all in. The car is being offered for sale for not much more than that, about $79,000.

At the dealership with “The Blue Meanie” we test-drove a Lexus RC and, holding my nose, a BMW 435i convertible. While it was a beautiful car (in Orange!) and drove well, the back seats in the RC were, indeed, too small to be useful. In fact, after we returned from the test drive, the manager asked us what we were looking for and then told us that the RC was not really suitable for four adults. Also, the asking price on both cars–above $30,000–was more than we wanted to spend.

This dealership was an independent without a large inventory and too many SUVs and 4-door sedans in that inventory. We were treated well, but they were trying to sell us a car.

We stopped for lunch (Jack In The Box drive-thru that we ate in the parking lot, I’m up to 44 tacos) and afterwards I suggested we see if we could find another Cadillac ATS coupe to drive. We were simply gathering more information, or so we thought.

While I drove, my wonderful wife found an ATS coupe not close to where we were or to where we live, but it was listed at what AutoTrader called a “Great Price” so we decided to see it. We arrived at the third largest Toyota dealership in the country in the middle of a big sales event.

Supposedly, this place had about 100 salesmen working yesterday. Anyway…we arrived and then notified the salesman who came out to see us that we wanted to see and to test drive the 2015 Cadillac ATS coupe in their inventory. Here it is:



We took the car for a test drive and after we returned we asked for some “privacy” (not that we could actually have any in that setting) so we could discuss the situation. My wonderful wife has learned some things from me about negotiating and made what I thought was a fairly aggressive offer for the car. To our surprise, after the obligatory “I have to see my manager” they accepted our offer, almost 10% below the “Great Price.” I guess the offer wasn’t that aggressive, after all. However, I never expected to buy a car with a purchase price beginning with a “1.” That 2015 ATS is now ours although we still haven’t picked it up as we need to arrange a wire for the rest of the purchase price.

I also never expected to buy an ATS with the 3.6 liter/217 cubic-inch V-6 engine (321 HP/275 LB-FT of torque), but that’s what we bought. The color is called Majestic Plum Metallic and although the interior is black, the car’s windows have a decent amount of tinting.

This ATS drove very well, like the other one we drove. It is well-appointed and has usable rear seats and a decent-sized trunk. It has four new tires with a date code indicating they were manufactured in the 38th week of 2020.

I am under no allusion that the dealership didn’t make a healthy profit on the car. That’s their business and as long as we are happy with what we paid, then they are entitled to make a profit. Thanks to Austin for taking care of us and yes, I am aware he wanted to make a sale.

When we woke up yesterday we absolutely had no idea we would end the day with another car in our possession. Wish us luck with our new car.







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No, I haven’t forgotten the 50th anniversary of the Baltimore Colts winning Super Bowl 5. You can read the linked post to read about my experience that day.




The End Of Frugal Friday?

Originally, I was going to call today’s post “Frugal Friday, 25 Miles From Home Edition” and briefly talk about Charles Edwin Hatcher, better known as Edwin Starr. (He was a singer and the first of his two top ten hits was “25 Miles From Home.”) I was going to show the least expensive cars with engines of at least 8 cylinders no more than 25 miles from my home zip code.

All of those cars were either Camaros, Challengers or Mustangs. As my vehicle universe is far smaller than that of the rest of the world I am beginning to wonder if Frugal Friday has outlived its usefulness. I will always be grateful to David Banner (not his real name) for suggesting the feature, but after almost two years (the first Frugal Friday post was in February of 2019), I am reminded that all things must come to an end.

Does anyone have any thoughts on the topic? I would be happy to read them.


One of the reasons Chevrolet/GM made the “radical” change to a mid-engine design for the Corvette was to bring new buyers to the Corvette market. Granted, the rollout was compromised by the damn virus and UAW strike, but so far that seems to be the case. According to Vice President of Chevrolet Steve Hill, two out of three C8 buyers are new to Chevy. [emphasis mine]

Interestingly, prospective C8 customers have been cross-shopping the new Stingray with its long-time rival, the Porsche 911, more than any other car. Since the 911’s price is in six figures and one can buy a nice C8 for $70,000-$75,000, it should be no surprise that many people are choosing the Vette. Of course, the Corvette has long been an unbelievable bargain in the world of performance cars. It’s just that a lot of buyers in that market would not consider buying a front-engine car. You can call them “snobs” if you like, but people’s perceptions and preferences are what they are.

From Car Buzz, a picture of a 2021 Corvette:


See the source image


We see a lot of C8 Corvettes here in the desert, but we see A LOT more Porsches. Obviously, the former is a brand-new model while the latter is not.



The tile and carpet work are all done. My wonderful wife and I are very happy with the outcome. Although no one reading this has any frame of reference (well, except maybe K Squared), we are just overwhelmed at the transformation of the house from dark space to light space. Remember this photo?



We chose a local company over a “big box” retailer. The latter wanted significantly more money AND wanted additional bullsh*t fees AND wanted us to do some of the work! So far anyway, we are happy with our choice. Yes, the newly carpeted rooms have that new carpet smell. This, too, shall pass. Of course, little carpet fibers are still everywhere as you can see in the picture. We will vacuum this weekend.

Speaking of the weekend, I hope all of you enjoy yours.







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Throwback Thursday, TV Commercials

First…I must admit I am disappointed at the lack of votes for yesterday’s A Or B feature. Enough said…


These days, it is easy to avoid TV commercials and based on those I do see, almost all of them should be avoided. I have written of my extreme disdain for the Limu Emu and Doug commercials. I can happily report that we no longer do business with that company, in large part due to those commercials.

Some commercials, though, are still clever, but certain commercials from the past seem to continue to resonate. How many of you know who Jack Somack was? If I show you a picture you might recognize him:


Alka-Seltzer’s “Spicy Meatball” Grows Better With Age


The picture is from Ace Metrix, which is, apparently, a company that tests the effectiveness of commercials. This is a still from the famous Alka-Seltzer “Spicy Meatball” commercial. Reluctantly, I will publish a link to the commercial from a Minion of The Evil Empire. Jack Somack is the man in the commercial suffering through ruined take after ruined take. By the way, political correctness is not that new. According to Somack’s biography on, despite its success the commercial was pulled from the air after protests from Italian-American anti-defamation groups that the commercial promoted unflattering stereotypes of Italians. By the way, according to imdb, Somack did not begin acting professionally until he was in his 50s. Maybe it’s not too late for me… 🙂

What commercials from the past do you remember fondly?


Speaking of TV, 50 years ago was the middle of the 1970-71 TV season in the US. What was the #1 rated show for that season? Marcus Welby, M.D. That was significant as it was the first show aired on ABC to finish #1 in the Nielsen ratings for an entire season.

Robert Young came out of a seven-year retirement to play the lead role. I could swear I have read that thousands of people wrote letters to “Marcus Welby, M.D.” every year asking for medical advice, but I cannot find corroboration. From Nostalgia Central, a picture of the cast of the show:


See the source image


On the left, of course, is Robert Young. Elena Verdugo, who played nurse Consuelo Lopez, is in the center and James Brolin, Dr. Steven Kiley, is on the right. The show ran for seven seasons. As regular readers know, I am a fan of many TV medical dramas. My favorite show ever is House, M.D. My favorite show currently airing on US television is Transplant, a Canadian show airing on NBC about a Syrian refugee doctor working in a Toronto hospital.






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