Tropical Storm Tuesday

As I write this (at about 5:45 AM), the area where I live is under a Tropical Storm Warning. It is currently raining here although the winds have not yet increased. We are supposed to have seven or eight hours of winds with at least tropical storm force (>39 MPH) gusts.

As I have written before, we live in a neighborhood with many tall trees, including such trees on our lot, that make weather like this most nerve-wracking. I am imagining a worst-case scenario in which we suffer damage that forces us to put the attempt to sell our house on hold. Hey, I am a child of Holocaust survivors and I expect the worst to happen.

“Mother Nature” seems most cruel at present. “The virus” seems unstoppable and although most people who become infected survive, as age increases so does the mortality rate from it. I am not a young person. I believe that until safe and effective vaccines are widely available, we are all going to have to stay in “virus mode.” People who want to go back to normal now are simply clueless.


Today is Roger Clemens’ birthday. If you don’t know–or even if you do–he is one of the most accomplished players in major league baseball history. Clemens won the Cy Young Award as the best pitcher in his league seven times, more than any other pitcher in history.

He was credited with 354 wins in his career; any number 300 or higher is rare and significant. He is the only pitcher in history with 350+ wins and 4,500+ strikeouts. What is also significant is that Clemens is the only pitcher with 300+ career wins who is not a member of the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Clemens has been dogged by accusations that he used steroids during his career. He was also indicted on charges, including perjury and contempt of Congress, stemming from testimony he gave to Congress about his use of such substances. His first trial ended in a mistrial and he was acquitted on all charges in his second trial.

The principle that people are innocent until proven guilty does not apply in the court of public opinion. To the extent that I have an opinion, I think it’s absurd that Clemens is not in the Hall of Fame. Even if he used steroids, those substances cannot turn an ordinary player into a Hall of Fame player.

I don’t know anything about the Basketball or Hockey Halls of Fame, but I think both the Baseball and Football Halls are tainted, primarily by the inclusion of players who don’t belong. However, I think the Baseball Hall of Fame is also tainted by the sanctimonious behavior of many of its voters.

From a Pinterest page, a picture of Roger Clemens:


See the source image


I am currently re-reading Packard: A History of the Motor Car and the Company edited by the late, great Beverly Rae Kimes. She was known as the “First Lady of Automotive History.” The book was awarded the prestigious Cugnot prize for automotive writing.

The book is quite thorough and for someone like me with ADD tendencies it is virtually impossible for me to completely read it word for word. (The book is 828 pages long.) I am also overwhelmed by the desire to re-write history, for Packard to have merged with Nash (or maybe with Nash and Hudson) instead of with Studebaker and at least surviving until Chrysler’s purchase of American Motors in 1987.

I think it is human nature to form an alternate history scenario that ends much more pleasantly than real life. “What If?” is a common question. From the Packard forum (Hey, site moderators. Why doesn’t the Packard forum have a secure URL beginning with https?) a picture of a 1933 Dietrich-bodied V-12 convertible:


See the source image


From Streetside Classics a picture of a 1956 Packard Executive:


See the source image


Maybe some day…








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Update: I’m posting from my phone at 1:10 PM Eastern Time. We lost power at 12:30. In anticipation of such an event I surrounded the milk in the fridge with ice packs. Modern refrigerators are not designed to keep food cold very long without power.

I hope power outages are far less common in the desert. In any event we are going to have some type of backup power system.




Monday Musings 52

The old saw that highly intelligent people lack common sense is usually uttered by unintelligent people in an attempt to feel better about themselves. Being absent-minded or unmindful of mundane details is not the same as lacking common sense. Besides, I defy anyone to actually define “common” sense.

That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.


August 1st marked the fifth anniversary (!) of my receiving my first pension payment from major league baseball. This month’s payment was received today; although the payment is supposed to be received on the 1st of each month, it is actually received on the first business day.

I have probably written elsewhere on this blog about my months of ruminating on when I should start receiving the pension. I performed all sorts of calculations using fixed and variable discount rate models in an effort to find the age that would maximize the present value of those payments. It should come as no surprise that the pension payout is structured in such a way that no real change exists in the present value at age 55–the first age when a person with 10+ years of service can begin receiving the pension–whether one begins receiving it at 55, 60, 65 or any age in between. (The earlier one begins receiving the pension, the smaller the nominal amount. Of course, a dollar received today is worth more than a dollar received five years from now. The amount increases literally every month one waits to receive it, like Social Security. Unlike Social Security, however, the pension is not adjusted for inflation. Also unlike Social Security, where waiting until 70 maximizes the nominal monthly amount received, the max for the baseball pension is age 65.)

I decided to begin receiving the pension on August 1st of the first year I was eligible because 1) that most closely mirrored my last day as a full-time employee of a major league team and 2) that would almost maximize the number of payments I received until they put me in the ground. The baseball pension is an “old-fashioned” defined benefit plan, of which very few exist these days. I did not put one penny into the pension fund; my benefit is a function of how many years I worked and how much I earned.

How much do I receive every month? That’s no one’s business except for my wonderful wife and my accountant.


On this day in 2007 DaimlerChrysler completed a deal to sell an 80% stake in its ailing US Chrysler division to the private equity company Cerberus Capital Management for 7.4 billion euros, or $10.1 billion. Because debt/credit markets were already beginning to suffer at the beginning of the “Financial Meltdown/Great Recession,” DaimlerChrysler and Cerberus had to help with the financing. This was the first time a private equity company took majority ownership of a US car company.

Daimler-Benz AG had acquired Chrysler in 1998 in an alleged “merger of equals.” However, the merger terms clearly favored Daimler and within a year many people at Chrysler said it was being “Germanized” into a mere division of Daimler-Benz. Jurgen Schrempp, Chairman of Daimler-Benz, later conceded that was part of the “merger” plan.

Of course, less than two years after being sold to Cerberus Chrysler filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, which set in motion the events that led it to be purchased by Fiat, the company that currently owns Chrysler. Maybe the echoes of the Great Recession still haunt American car makers today and that partly explains why, in general, they seem very risk-averse in terms of product offerings. The fact that 70% of American adults are overweight and a third are obese also is a factor in the glut of SUVs and pickup trucks. The companies are all too happy to oblige since profit margins on those vehicles are higher than on “regular” cars.

From Classic Cars a picture of one of my favorite Chrysler/Mopar products, the Chrysler 300B:


See the source image


The “B” designation means the car is a 1956 model. The optional engine for this car was the first American motor to offer at least 1 HP per cubic inch, generating 355 HP from 354 cubic inches. The engine also produced 405 LB-FT of torque.

Who knows what long lasting effects “the virus” will have on the US and world automobile industries? Must I write it again? History is replete with examples of the folly of human beings trying to predict the future.







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Where Is Cristy Lee? Redux

First…some good news, for a change. The results of my latest thyroid ultrasound were better than ever. Even the one growth (of about six) on my thyroid that appeared “troublesome” in the past no longer seems to be. All growths were small, <1 cm. The doctor said I could have more imaging in two years, but that wasn’t strictly necessary.

My TSH levels have always been in the normal range although sometimes with some interesting fluctuations within the range. Whatever is ailing me is almost certainly not a function of my thyroid.

More than 52,000 new cases of thyroid cancer and more than 2,000 deaths from it occur every year in the US. Women are 3 times more likely to develop thyroid cancer. Heredity also seems to be a major risk factor.


Second…the months of April, May, June and July of 2020 are the four highest months in terms of views/visitors in the history of Disaffected Musings. If the average of these four months could be maintained for an entire calendar year, that would represent a doubling of these figures compared to 2019. Obviously, people being home much more is playing a role in the increase in blog activity. I am grateful for the increase in views, but I will continue to ask for the sale. Please feel free to tell your friends about the blog and to pass along the URL (, please feel free to click on any (or all) of the related posts at the bottom of each post, please feel free to “Like” any post and to submit thoughtful comments.


Speaking of the history of this blog…it was inevitable, I guess. Where Is Cristy Lee? is now the most read post or entry in the history of Disaffected Musings, even surpassing the About page.

I first published the post about Cristy Lee in January when she didn’t appear on the Motor Trend broadcast of the Barrett-Jackson auction from Scottsdale. Of course, we later learned that broadcast would be the last on Motor Trend, at least for the foreseeable future, as whenever the Barrett-Jackson live auctions resume (now tentatively scheduled for late October, also from Scottsdale) they will be broadcast on History and fyi.

As I suspected when she joined the cast of Garage Squad, Lee left All Girls Garage after season 8. Her departure, and the departure of Lou Santiago and Jared Zimmerman from Car Fix, are almost certainly due to financial considerations. As I have written before, it is show business. The current hosts of both shows, which are produced by the same company, are almost certainly earning less than the previous host combinations. Of course, I am “obliged” to show a picture of the lovely Ms. Lee, this time from her website that I don’t think is actively maintained.


See the source image


Here’s a still from a video on the minion of the Evil Empire, also called YouTube, of a 1961 Pontiac Ventura bubble top. Ever since seeing a 1962 model on TV at the Mecum auction from Arizona in 2019 I have really developed a hankering for a car like this:


See the source image


I think the Mecum car went unsold at a high bid of $62,000, so a car like this is not in my future barring a lottery win. I do, however, have a long history with Pontiac and will always have a soft spot for the make. What is life without dreams?






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Frugal Friday, C6 Corvette Encore

On a personal note…this day in 1999 was my last as a full-time employee of a major league baseball team. I didn’t know that at the time. In normal baseball seasons July 31 was the trading deadline, the day after which it is more difficult, although not impossible, to trade players. I confess I don’t even know if this date is still the trading deadline and, if it is, if it is still possible to trade players after July 31.

I tendered my resignation in May, but offered to stay through the trade deadline. Two of my colleagues, apparently, had a bet as to whether or not I was really leaving the organization. The one who won the bet is now baseball’s “Wonder Boy.”


Another personal “note”…



I have been waxing nostalgic for this car, my 2007 Corvette that I purchased new in February of 2007 and then sold in a panic in October, 2010 when I basically lost my baseball business. Earlier this week while running errands in my Z06, I saw a good-looking C6 convertible (a 2007 Corvette is a C6) with the top down. I am usually the first to make the “Corvette Wave,” but on this occasion the C6 driver beat me to the punch.

Although I wrote a Frugal Friday post about C6 Corvettes last September, I am compelled to do so again today. This is not the least expensive C6 I found on AutoTrader, but it was the least expensive convertible and this 2005 model allegedly has only 16,000-ish miles.



Maybe it’s inappropriate to write about buying cars as “toys” in light of current conditions including the largest quarterly GDP decline in US history. The opportunist in me thinks that this might actually be the best time to indulge oneself in such a purchase, if one is in a position to do so. The seller is asking $23,495, a price that AutoTrader calls a “Great Price” because it is in the lower half of the Kelley Blue Book® value range for this car. (A car with an asking price below that range is also called a “Great Price.”)

What do you think of this car? Is it inappropriate to buy expensive “toys” at this time? During the Great Depression many people of means refrained from buying expensive cars because they didn’t want to draw attention to themselves, not because they couldn’t afford it. Of course, at about $23,000 this Corvette is not expensive, as long as you’re still working and/or have a decent-sized nest egg.






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Throwback Thursday, Rowhouse Edition

See the source image


From the Maryland Historical Trust a blurry picture of a Baltimore rowhouse block. We didn’t call them townhouses in those days.

From the time I was 2 until I was 25 I lived in a Baltimore rowhouse. It is highly doubtful I will ever call another place my home for as long. Counting from the major road at the “head” of our street, our house was the 37th of 38 houses on our side of the block. The block was “split” in two with about 20 or so houses (24?) in one group and the rest, including our house, in the second group. (As a comparison, our current neighborhood only has 37 homes in total.)

Even now, sometimes when I dream of being home it is this house that appears. Rowhouses still exist in droves in Baltimore and in other eastern cities, but for me rowhouses are a throwback to a different and much simpler time. I suppose that someone in my family might be in possession of photos of our house and that neighborhood, but I don’t seem to have any, hence the appearance of the “borrowed” photo.


Speaking of Maryland, on this day in 1952 the Chesapeake Bay Bridge opened. The original bridge, at 4.3 miles in length, was the world’s longest continuous over-water steel structure. A parallel span opened in 1973. From Wikipedia a small picture of the two spans:


Chesapeake Bay Bridge viewed from Sandy Point State Park.jpg


From the Wikipedia article:


“The bridge is officially named the Gov. William Preston Lane Jr. Memorial Bridge after William Preston Lane Jr. who, as the 52nd Governor of Maryland, initiated its construction in the late 1940s finally after decades of political indecision and public controversy.”


Despite being born and raised in Maryland, I have not driven across the bridge that often. The bridge links the “eastern” and “western” shores of the Delmarva Peninsula, with the beach community of Ocean City, Maryland and the Delaware beach communities being on the eastern side. I am not a beach person; Baltimore is west of the Chesapeake Bay.

The Chesapeake Bay Bridge is part of US Routes 50 and 301 and has led to the growth of towns on the eastern shore. Queen Anne’s County, Maryland is on the eastern shore (and at the eastern terminus of the bridge), but is now considered part of the Baltimore-Washington metropolitan area by the Census Bureau. The county population increased from about 15,000 in 1950 to almost 34,000 in 1990 and nearly 48,000 in 2010.

Our future home will not be in a place in close proximity to large bodies of water that require enormous bridges. Maybe my wonderful wife and I should take a drive across the Chesapeake Bay Bridge before we move.






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Random Wednesday

This article, titled “EVs consume more juice than gauges indicate, gas cars less: report” is interesting, in my opinion. ADAC, Europe’s largest motoring association, conducted tests that found, “…Pretty much every EV was underestimating how much charging it required, showing significant variation between the stated power consumption and actual amounts required to fully recharge the car.” Another result of the testing, “ADAC says most of the non-electric cars it also tested were actually more efficient than their load indicators claimed. In fact, the vast majority – 51 of 64 ICE [Internal Combustion Engine] cars tested – actually consumed less fuel than their onboard fuel economy meters were indicating…”


photobyjohnbo has graciously allowed me to show one of his photos of Comet Neowise. Without further ado:


I wonder if we will be able to enjoy more of the night sky after our move to the desert, whenever that happens.


I sent a “hard copy” of this post to Cadillac. In Wave Goodbye To Half The Year I wrote about my belief that an American-made super-luxury car would be successful and that Cadillac was the make most likely to make it work. Here is a picture of the Cadillac concept car, the Elmiraj, that I offered as the basis for such an automobile:


See the source image


I actually received a reply from Cadillac. Here it is:



I realize, of course, that this is a form letter and that it is good PR for companies to respond. Of course, the first sentence of the last paragraph makes no sense (read it carefully), but nobody’s perfect.

Why did I send my post to Cadillac? Why not? Other than a few minutes, what did I have to lose? If I had listened to everyone who told me that I had no chance of working in baseball, my life almost certainly would have been far less rich. I met my wonderful wife because I took a baseball job on the other side of the country.

Don’t drown in your own life. Don’t succumb to the routine. Don’t be afraid to do something you’ve never done before, something that others might say is pointless. Live!








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In Or Out? 10

First…I had another dream in which I began a journey in a car, but did not finish it in one. I dreamt I was on a frantic trip to get from Point A to Point B, for reasons lost forever to dreamland. The road had many steep hills and sharp drops. At one point, the car warned me not to travel on a certain road, not because of road or weather conditions, but because of “political” reasons! I had intended to ignore the warning, but before I ever reached that road I found myself making the journey on foot as my car had just disappeared. I wasn’t even particularly surprised by the disappearance, just determined to reach my destination. However, I woke up before I finished my journey or reached the road I was supposed to avoid. WTF?!


For this edition of In Or Out? I am waiving the five-vote minimum. The car shown and discussed today is one that is not likely to be familiar to most of you.

This car was featured on an Edd China episode of Wheeler Dealers as well as the newer, but less than scintillating spinoff, Wheeler Dealers: Dream Car. Beginning next year, it will be legal to import the first model year of this car into the US as production began in 1996. I present the TVR Cerbera:


See the source image


From Parkers of the UK a picture of the TVR Cerbera. TVR was founded in 1947 by Trevor Wilkinson (whose name was used to name the company) and Jack Pickard. Yes, it is a British car.

The company history is littered with liquidations and ownership changes. If you want to know more, you can read this. The Cerbera was significant in TVR history since it was the first car made by the company that:

1) Was not a convertible

2) Had four seats, all previous TVR models were two-seaters

3) Had an engine developed and manufactured by TVR

The Cerbera did not have traction control or ABS. It was also an extremely light car, especially given the power of the engine. The Wikipedia article about the Cerbera states that at some point in production the cars were available with an inline six-cylinder engine, but I had always heard that the cars were only available with TVR’s own flat-plane crank V-8. The final iteration of that V-8 (not including the “special” Speed Eight Red Rose) displaced 4.5 liters/273 cubic inches and produced 420 HP/380 LB-FT of torque without forced induction. The Cerbera only weighed about 2,600 pounds and with the most powerful engine could accelerate from 0-60 MPH in well under 4 seconds and, supposedly, be capable of speeds approaching 190 MPH.

I really like the “wild” styling of these cars. They have a chopped look about them that is not excessive, in my opinion. Like virtually everything else, I think balance is the essence of successful automotive styling.

The Cerbera was manufactured from 1996 to 2003. Foreign cars can be imported into the US without having to meet DOT or EPA regulations as long as it has been at least 25 years since they were built. The actual number of Cerberas produced is unclear, but is not likely to have exceeded 2,000 and may be as few as 1,100.

OK, good people…the TVR Cerbera, In Or Out? Oh, the name Cerbera was derived from Cerberus, the three-headed monster of Greek mythology that guarded the entrance to Hades.







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The Narcissistic States Of America

These are the events which led me to write this post:


We have had about ten showings of our house. On all but two of them the realtor and their clients have been more than 15 minutes late and with no notification of their tardiness, which I believe is “required” in such a situation. Oh, due to COVID-19 all showing windows have been limited to 45 minutes in this state. The straw that broke the camel’s back happened last Thursday. With barely an hour’s notice we received word that someone wanted to see the house at 10:30 AM. My wonderful wife works at home, but she dutifully re-arranged her work schedule to accommodate.

We left the house at 10:25 AM. As of 11:00 AM no one had showed. How did we know? We have cameras everywhere around our house that we can monitor from almost anywhere. I called the company that arranges the showings and explained the situation. The rep was very sympathetic and offered to call the agent. When she returned to the line she said the agent would not arrive until 11:40, 70 minutes late and 25 minutes after the end of the showing window. She confirmed that the agent is supposed to call when they are going to be late. We cancelled the showing.

YOUR life is not the only one that matters. What YOU’RE doing is not the most important thing in the world. The time and feelings of OTHERS matter. You don’t have to like your neighbors, but your behavior CANNOT fail to acknowledge their presence. COVID-19 has left many people more unhinged than normal and exacerbated the epidemic, the plague of narcissism, but that affliction is far more common than any pathogen.

I can’t tell you how many times I see people plow through stop signs without so much as slowing down, but I can tell you that it is happening much more often than ever before. I can’t tell you how many times I see people looking at their phone and not the road while driving. Those are symptoms of narcissism.

People who believe that they and their ideology can’t possibly ever be wrong are narcissists. We are peons or as Jerry Seinfeld said, nothing but raindrops on a windshield. Oh, no one really gives a sh*t what you ate for lunch so don’t post any photos of it on “social media,” which is a primary factor in the narcissism explosion. I am DISGUSTED by the behavior I see in this country and no side is innocent. Liberals are no less guilty than conservatives and vice versa. A plague on both their houses…

I don’t know if people behave the same all over the developed world, but I can’t imagine it’s worse anywhere else.


I am beginning to see 2020 Corvettes “in the wild.” Here is another example:



Given its shape and its color, this car really stood out from the rest of the traffic, even the Bentley driving in the next lane. Do I think the C8 looks as good as a C2 or a C7? No, but I like the way it looks. Remember that a large engine mounted mid-ship dictates many of the design elements of the automobile.

How many of you have seen a C8 Corvette “in the wild?” What do you think of the looks of the car?






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Empty Thursday

I realize today’s post title will cost me 30% of my readers…


For the last several days I have had much difficulty finding a topic about which to write. Even trying to compose a “Throwback Thursday” post for today proved impossible.

The seemingly interminable state of limbo in which I find myself has simply taken away my ability to create. I am just as tired of writing about the Corvette Companion/Grocery Car as you are of reading about it.

So, what am I saying? The sad thing is I really don’t know. Maybe I just have “blog burnout.” Anyway, even though this action will cost me readers I simply can no longer commit to writing every day.






Wandering Wednesday

First, an apology to WordPress, the platform that hosts this blog. In yesterday’s post, Strange Minds, I asked why the word “dreamt” was underlined in red while composing a post since it is a real word. Well, I asked one of the WordPress engineers that question and they replied that WordPress does not have an active dictionary monitoring posts. The engineer suggested it could be my browser or even operating system.

Second, while I am always grateful for views/comments by markcars2014 and other Canadian readers, I want to note that Disaffected Musings has, seemingly, developed regular readers in Italy, Norway and my ancestral home of Poland. I hope they will continue reading and, hopefully, spread the word.



How many of you have heard of the site postsecret? It was created by Frank Warren in 2004. People anonymously send in their secrets on postcards, which are often homemade, and some are shown on the site.

It is a relic, for lack of a better word, of the days on the Internet before Fack Fucebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc. The site has always been ad-free. For a time, so many secrets were sent in that Warren was able to publish several books containing them.

Some of the secrets are shocking and/or sad. I have always suspected that some proportion, say 20%, are not real. I don’t mean that Warren sends them in himself or via proxies, but that the “secrets” on some postcards are simply made up, perhaps as some sort of wish fulfillment.

Anyway…the picture above is captured from postsecret. I love Fack Fucebook being on the list of apps that don’t bring joy to the user. Here are two results from a study by Stanford University:


Facebook deactivation reduced political polarization

One of the biggest issues supposedly affecting the US voting base at the moment is political polarization — this is the idea that Democrats and Republicans are unwilling to compromise on issues that affect the entire country.

The study found that deactivating Facebook pulls former users more into line with the average position in their respective political parties. Essentially, this means that Facebook deactivation brings users closer to the political center. But, has social media actively led to the increase in polarization, or have the parties and voters drifted further apart of their own volition? According to the study:

“The figure shows that deactivation moves both Democrats and Republicans visibly towards the center. In the control group, the issue opinions of the average Democrat and the average Republican differ by 1.47 standard deviations. In the treatment group, this difference is 1.35 standard deviations — about eight percent less.

“Are these polarization effects large or small? As one benchmark, we can compare these effects to the increase in political polarization in the US since 1996, well before the advent of social media. Using data from the American National Election Studies… [another academic] calculates that the change in a different index of polarization… increased by 0.38 standard deviations between 1996 and 2016. The 0.16 standard deviation effect of Facebook deactivation on political polarization in our sample is about 42 percent as large as this increase.”


Facebook deactivation marginally improves subjective wellbeing

Perhaps the most interesting revelation from the study is that Facebook “does indeed have adverse effects on subjective well being.”


I know that my anti-Facebook rantings will not get anyone to stop using it. I suspect a larger proportion of readers of this blog don’t use Fack Fucebook than the proportion of the general public. I will make a strong statement: I think Mark Zuckerberg is the chief criminal of his criminal company and I think that Facebook should be forced to divest itself of Instagram and What’s App. The possibility that such a divestiture may raise the unit cost of digital advertising is a very small price to pay for stripping Fack Fucebook of its de facto monopoly of social media and for reducing the dangerous amount of power it has. Oh, here’s a remark made by Zuckerberg:


“You can be unethical and still be legal; that’s the way I live my life.”


For me, someone who admits to unethical behavior has no real constraints against using illegal behavior. That’s a trade-off almost no one can negotiate successfully. Fack Fucebook! Delete Facebook!


Given the dramatic slowdown in the number of showings we’ve had for our house between weeks one and two on the market, I must admit to having some doubt that the move to the desert will take place as quickly as I would like. Of course, that means that the quest for a Corvette Companion/Grocery Car has been pushed to the back burner.

Still, I look on car sales websites almost every day although the “journeys” are much shorter than before. I have to admit that despite the change to looking for more modern cars, every now and then I look at something like this:



From this Hemmings ad a picture of a 1963 Buick Wildcat with an admittedly less than desirable 87,000+ miles on the clock and an asking price of $19,900. Throw in the black interior, a no-go in the desert, and this becomes an impractical purchase. Nevertheless, I am really drawn to this car. The heart wants what it wants.









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