Sunday In The Neighborhood

First, a picture of the star of the neighborhood:

 

 

This is BB’s and MB’s wonderful dog. Besides being adorable, he is smart and possesses a great temperament. If you couldn’t tell, he is a Basset Hound. (I have not given his name since this blog is still technically anonymous, seriously.) We will miss him and his “parents” after we move, but never forget that the only constant in the world is change. Yes, that’s probably the 40th time I’ve written that “truism” in this blog.

What BB and MB didn’t know until now is that when I was very young our neighborhood also featured a wonderful Basset Hound named Ginger. Therefore, I have long had an affinity for the breed.

 

 

This picture looked better to me in my car than it looks here, I guess. We live in a valley of sorts and this is a view of it from just west of our house, facing west, into the valley right around sunrise. This is not a scene that will be available to us after we move to the desert.

 

 

This is a picture of a small lake that is actually in a neighboring state, but not that far from where we live. If it weren’t for the very large difference in taxes, my wonderful wife and I might have purchased a house on this lake. Arizona has some lakes, but none surrounded by these types of trees, as far as I know.

As the prospect of the move becomes more real, I am waxing nostalgic for the area in which we have lived for more than a decade and for the house in which we have lived for almost exactly a decade. My wonderful wife and I have lived in this house longer, far longer, than we have lived anywhere else.

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Speaking just for myself, and this will sound like a shallow perspective (and probably is), but one reason the move appeals to me is the difference in car culture. Although car clubs and car enthusiasts exist here, it’s nothing like in the desert.

Part of owning a Corvette is the pleasure one gets when seeing another one while driving and engaging in the “Corvette Wave.” Since the late 1950s, Corvette drivers have acknowledged each other when passing on the road. Where we live now, we don’t see that many Corvettes except as part of a gathering of the local Corvette club. Where we are going, many more Corvettes can be seen on the road in addition to other performance cars we almost never see here. What can I say? I love cars. (Really? The next thing you’ll tell me is that Shaquille O’Neal is very tall…)

 

 

By the way, July 1st marked the first anniversary of my wonderful wife’s purchase of her 2018 Corvette convertible. Where has that year gone?!

 

#BassetHound

#CarCulture

#TimeFlies

#somanycarsjustonelife

#disaffectedmusings

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Fractal Friday

Fractal: Noun, a curve or geometric figure, each part of which has the same statistical character as the whole. Fractals are useful in modeling structures (such as eroded coastlines or snowflakes) in which similar patterns recur at progressively smaller scales, and in describing partly random or chaotic phenomena such as crystal growth, fluid turbulence, and galaxy formation OR Adjective, relating to or of the nature of a fractal or fractals. Synonyms for the adjective: unmethodical · uncoordinated · undirected · disorganized · unarranged · unplanned · unpremeditated · indiscriminate · random · inconsistent · desultory · patchy · fragmentary · sketchy · sporadic · spasmodic · fitful · inconstant · intermittent · irregular · erratic · stray · spot · casual · occasional · haphazard · chaotic · nonlinear · entropic

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On this day in 1863, which was also a Friday, the Battle of Gettysburg ended with a Union (Northern) victory. The battle was the largest ever fought on the American continent, as well as the costliest one in terms of casualties in US history with about 50,000 in the three days.

Gettysburg is almost certainly the most studied battle by American military historians and many people are far more qualified than I to discuss the details and ramifications. Many of those who have studied it, but not all, consider Gettysburg to be the turning point in the Civil War in that Robert E. Lee’s army did not attempt any more strategic offensives.

You may think I have completely lost my mind, but I am more convinced than ever that the US as we know it will not exist in 50 or 100 years. Some catalysing event, most likely the election of a President with extreme views, will cause those states opposed to that election to leave the country. Of course, that is what happened before the Civil War as the election of Abraham Lincoln was the “last straw” for Southern states and, beginning with South Carolina, a total of 13 states seceded from the country.

This time, however, I think the states that were responsible for creating the event will bid good riddance to those states that want to leave the US. What happens to national defense, maintenance of interstate highways, collection of taxes and disbursement of government revenues, etc. are impossible to know in advance. However, in the American political world, real debate has ended. Each side simply yells louder and louder often engaging in nothing but propaganda and lies. An uninformed population buys the agenda that suits its a priori view of the world, almost never engaging in a rational analysis of the situation. I think “social media” is not what its advocates claim, a way to unite the world, but is instead a great divider as it makes climbing into bubbles way too easy.

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

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Do I even want to mention that Lincoln will not resuscitate the Continental and will, instead, build nothing but crossovers and SUVs? Not really…too depressing.

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I readily acknowledge that I am an idiosyncratic person. My views and tastes often defy categorization and usually, but not always, stray from the mainstream. “This above all: to thine own self be true.”

I am asking all of you to cast a vote on which of these three idiosyncratic automobiles, that have been discussed in this forum over and over (and over and over…), you prefer.

 

 

All of these photos were taken by me. The top is a Cadillac XLR, the middle is a Buick Reatta convertible (I prefer the coupe but couldn’t find a picture of one on my phone) and the bottom is a Cadillac Allante.

You can choose your favorite using any criteria you want. I would just like to read your thoughts after babbling about these cars for so long.

 

I will not be posting tomorrow and probably not on Sunday. I might, in fact, return to a five-day posting schedule only posting on weekends when the mood strikes. Have an enjoyable, safe and sane Fourth.

 

#FractalFriday

#DissolutionOfTheUS

#AutomotiveIndulgence

#somanycarsjustonelife

#disaffectedmusings

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The Second Half

Welcome to the second half of 2020…

 

Today is Jose Canseco’s birthday. (That means it’s also the birthday of his less famous twin, Ozzie.) Canseco was a successful, but somewhat infamous major league baseball player. He was the first player in major league history to hit 40+ homeruns and steal 40+ bases in the same season. Canseco was the American League’s Most Valuable Player (MVP) in 1988.

He is also known for admitting he used steroids while playing, which taints his achievements. Canseco once begged his manager to let him pitch in a one-sided game; his manager relented and Canseco suffered an elbow injury that required surgery which sidelined him for the rest of the season. A few days before that, Canseco apparently lost track of a fly ball in the outfield; the ball bounced off his head and over the wall for a homerun by the opposition.

I saw Canseco’s first major league at-bat in person in 1985 and am 99% sure that he struck out on three pitches against the Orioles’ Ken Dixon. Canseco was named Minor League Player Of The Year by Baseball America that season, so his major league debut was highly anticipated.

I also remember sitting in the General Manager’s box before a game in 1988–I had made the “infinite leap” from being a fan to working in baseball, and for my hometown team, no less–while he was doing a radio interview by phone. During one of Canseco’s batting practice rounds, he hit a ball completely out of the stadium, which caused the GM to stop suddenly during the interview and then loudly exclaim into the phone, “That Canseco just hit a ball out of the ballpark!”

I remember having a conversation with a young female Orioles’ co-worker who didn’t like Canseco’s muscular look and apparent arrogance. I commented that I thought most MLB players would look like that in the future. So, I was right–for awhile–although I was right for the wrong reasons.

As every regular reader of Disaffected Musings knows, I had a long career working in major league baseball as a pioneer of sports analytics and a “father” of Moneyball. As everyone also knows, I no longer follow the sport at all. Personally, I see no inconsistency in that juxtaposition, but some of my friends still don’t understand. Anyway…from Wikipedia a picture of a young Jose Canseco:

 

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An update on 2020 Corvette orders from Corvette Blogger…without getting into the technicalities of event status codes, Chevrolet/GM have basically admitted that not all 2020 Corvettes that were ordered will be built before the changeover to 2021 production in late October/early November. All ordering for 2021 Corvettes begins on July 30. If you ordered a 2020 model that is not likely to be built, your dealer is supposed to let you know so you can order a 2021.

Chevrolet/General Motors is keeping the base price of the 2021 Corvette Stingray Coupes and Convertibles the same as 2020, but it is a virtual certainty that at least some of the option prices will be higher. From the article a picture of a 2020 Corvette:

 

GM Issues an Order and Production Update For 2020 and 2021 Corvettes

 

#SecondHalfOf2020

#JoseCanseco

#2020CorvetteProduction

#somanycarsjustonelife

#disaffectedmusings

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Wave Goodbye To Half The Year

At the end of the day today 2020 will be half over. Sometimes it’s OK to be Captain Obvious, or Capitaine Évident, because sometimes the obvious is a point worth making. Even with all of the bad things that have occurred and are occurring, this has easily and scarily been the fastest year ever, by far. Is that simply inevitable given I am older? I don’t know, but I hope, somehow, things slow down even just a little, especially after the virus situation calms down. I will offer my opinion that the coronavirus will never go away completely, that just like we (should) receive an annual flu shot, we will receive an annual (or biennial, every other year) coronavirus shot.

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While I know that much of the substantial increase in views/visitors since early April is due to current circumstances keeping people at home, I want to thank the readers of Disaffected Musings for visiting. The monthly average for views for April-June of 2020 was about 40% higher than the previous high for one month. That’s quite a quantum leap in readership and I appreciate it. All that being said, I will continue to ask for the sale. Please feel free to tell your friends about the blog and to pass along the URL (https://disaffectedmusings.com), 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, and please feel free to click on any ad in which you have genuine interest.

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This post is the most recent one in which I wrote about the potential market for an American-made super-luxury car. Also remembering that it is the automobile business I floated the idea of such a car sharing some components with other models, but not too many, so that initial development and tooling are not prohibitively expensive. From The Pontiac Solstice Book by Gary Witzenburg here is a partial list of components the Solstice shared with other cars to which GM had access:

 

Ecotec engine: Pontiac G6, Chevrolet HHR/Cobalt, Saturn Ion; yes, I realize that these models and even makes no longer exist, but that’s not relevant to the point

Manual transmission: Hummer H3, GMC Canyon, Chevrolet Colorado

Automatic transmission: Cadillac SRX/STS/CTS

Driveshaft, differential, rear axles: Cadillac CTS

Steering wheel: Pontiac Torrent

Steering column: Chevrolet Cobalt

Interior storage bin: Cadillac XLR

Seat frames: Opel Corsa

 

Obviously, I realize that a super-luxury car could not share too many components because that would diminish its status. Maybe the engine would have to be exclusive to this car, but could still be based on existing architecture. Here is a picture of a car, from machinespider.com, of one of the most beautiful cars I have ever seen, and a car that could be the basis for a super-luxury car, the Cadillac Elmiraj concept:

 

See the source image

 

I stubbornly cling to the belief that such a car, even priced at $300,000-$500,000, could sell 5,000-7,000 units a year, especially if it had any success abroad. Let’s say my range is 1,000 units too high. At the midpoint of the suggested price range, annual gross revenue would be between $1.6 billion and $2.4 billion. At the bottom of both ranges, that figure is $1.2 billion. Even at half of the latter figure ($600 million), couldn’t GM recoup its development costs quickly and make a profit? Remember that Ferrari’s average profit per car is $80,000. At half that margin and at the bottom of my lower production range, GM would earn $160 million in profit annually from a super-luxury car.

OK, maybe I don’t really know what I am talking about. Maybe tooling and production costs would be higher, maybe sales would be lower and maybe the price would have to be lower. I still think the car would be profitable AND it would be a halo car that would give GM some positive publicity, if executed properly. Of course, no one at GM will ever read this and this car will almost certainly never be built. That doesn’t mean I can’t think outside the box. What box?!

 

#WaveGoodbyeToHalfTheYear

#AmericanSuperLuxuryCar

#CadillacElmiraj

#somanycarsjustonelife

#disaffectedmusings

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The Fabulous Fifties

Of course, on this day in 1953 the first Chevrolet Corvette was produced in Flint, Michigan. The “assembly facility” was actually the back of a customer delivery garage. From reddit a picture of the car and the people who built it.

 

See the source image

 

The Corvette was first shown to the public at the General Motors Motorama exhibit in January of 1953. The 1950s was the height of show/concept cars, in my opinion. In addition, some of these cars were put into production.

The GM Motorama shows were either cause or effect (or both) of the “Dreamcar Fever” that grew rampant in the early 1950s. I am quoting A Century Of Automotive Style by noted automotive author Michael Lamm and the late Dave Holls, former GM Director of Design. The article from which I quoted the phrase “Dreamcar Fever” offered the opinion that Ford concept cars of the period “often went overboard, beyond reason and credibility,” that Chrysler cars mainly conceived by Virgil Exner “tended to be too Italianate for American tastes” and that left Harley Earl as “the guiding apostle of dreamcars.”

Long way ’round, today’s post was actually inspired by a recent telecast of a Bitchin’ Rides re-run where Dave Kindig and Kevin “Kev Dogg” Schiele attend the Woodward Avenue cruise in Detroit. (Sadly, the cruise will not happen this year. Damn virus…) While Ford’s dreamcars may have gone “overboard,” one of their production cars, a car shown on that Bitchin’ Rides episode, is the height of taste to me. From Classic Cars a picture of a 1956 Continental Mark II:

 

See the source image

For a car from that era, this Continental is relatively devoid of chrome and stainless steel trim and only has a hint of tail fins. To me, the proportions of this car are almost perfect.

The design was actually the result of a competition. William Clay Ford was in charge of the Continental project, which was spurred on in large part by Lincoln dealers who wanted something to fill the void created when production of the earlier Continental ceased after 1948. He had five designers draw ideas for the car and after the first design was rejected by Henry Ford II in December, 1952, the second iteration of design was turned into a competition between Ford staff and outside designers. The Ford group, led by former Packard design head John Reinhart, won the competition in April 1953. (“Political” note: competition is not inherently evil.)

These cars were sold for $10,000 in 1956-57, an extraordinary amount when the most expensive Buick was $3,700 and even no Cadillac sold for more than $6,800 in 1956. Today, non-concours examples of this car are not as expensive as one might think despite a two-year production total of only 3,000 cars. Alas, maintenance is simply too expensive and too difficult for one of these to be considered for purchase by my wonderful wife and me.

The 1956-57 Mark II has been the subject of previous posts, but I simply had to write about the car again after seeing it on TV. I guess TV can be useful sometimes.

 

#FirstCorvette

#FabulousFifties

#1956-57ContinentalMarkII

#somanycarsjustonelife

#disaffectedmusings

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Musical Monday

Given my opinion that the phrase “current American music” is an oxymoron, I can also conclude that the definition of “music” is fungible. Here is music to my ears:

I think a supercharged engine has to overcome more inertia to start. I’m not an engineer or a physicist (help me out, Philip), but that makes sense to me.

 

 

Although the basement/media room/man cave doesn’t look like this anymore, this is a reminder that music, while not as important to me as it’s been for most of my life, will almost certainly continue to have a role in my story.

 

 

At the top of my musical pyramid (remember my OCD-fueled need to make order out of chaos) is the recording shown above. To me, Enigmatic Ocean actually transcends music; the recording is an otherworldly manifestation of the creative spirit. After being recorded in the summer of 1977, it was released in September of that year. Not surprisingly to me, it reached the #1 position on the Billboard Jazz album chart, also in 1977. What is a surprise is that it reached the #35 position on the Billboard Pop album chart. I do not think Enigmatic Ocean resembles the instrumental pop/smooth jazz idiom in any way; I think the ranking is merely a reflection of how great it is and how widespread the appeal.

When I was one of the hosts of a sports talk show on the Orioles’ flagship radio station in the mid-1980s, one of the continuing debates I had with the engineer was about whether or not jazz was not more popular simply because people weren’t exposed to it, or whether it was inherently unpopular because it was too complex for most listeners. I still think most people are not exposed to jazz, a shame because it is one of America’s native art forms, and that’s why it’s not as popular as it might be. The engineer didn’t agree. With satellite radio and streaming services, most people now live in music bubbles just like they live in political/social bubbles. At this point, jazz will continue to occupy a small musical niche.

Long live Enigmatic Ocean! Vive Jean-Luc Ponty!

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Does stream of consciousness require consciousness??…as a follow-up to Hit The Pause Button, some chores cannot be avoided and so I was not “chore-less” for the rest of the day. Also, I still walked about two-thirds the number of steps that comprise my daily minimum despite no effort to walk just for the sake of walking.

What do you think of landau roofs on cars? My wonderful wife has dismissed this particular car because it has such a roof:

 

 

From AutoTrader a picture of a 2000 Cadillac Eldorado. The car still looks good to me, but I acknowledge a landau roof needs extra maintenance.

I wish I could make more order out of today’s chaos…

 

#MusicalMonday

#AutomobileMusic

#EnigmaticOcean

#LandauRoof

#somanycarsjustonelife

#disaffectedmusings

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Hit The Pause Button

Like many other people, I’m sure, it feels as though someone has hit the pause button on my life. This feeling is worsened as my wonderful wife and I are trying/waiting to move to the desert and that process has an indeterminate end.

Today, I am turning the tables. I am hitting the pause button today. I will not do any chores today nor will I run on my treadmill or get my x,000 steps. After I finish this post I am going to veg for the rest of the day to the extent possible given my OCD.

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Although I am always happy to see Cristy Lee, now part of the cast of Garage Squad, I have to admit I miss Heather Storm’s presence on that show. Here is a picture of Storm from her website:

 

 

Apparently, it wasn’t her idea to leave Garage Squad and she wasn’t happy that her departure was announced before she could let “the world” know. Although I am 99.99% sure she will never read this I wish Heather Storm the best. Yes, this is old news. Hey, I’m an old guy.

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This article from Classic Cars is about HBO being sued by a car dealership featured in an HBO series. From the article:

 

“A car dealership featured in the HBO series “I Know This Much is True” has sued the production company for negligence after a massive fire destroyed the business and its contents, including dozens of vintage cars used in the making of the show.”

“The Ellenville, New York, car dealership seeks around $8 million from Calling Grace Productions, which filmed the dramatic series starring Mark Ruffalo for HBO.”

“The dealer claims that a transformer used to charge camera batteries burst into flames after midnight on May 9, 2019, and that a security guard on duty had fallen asleep and was not alerted until explosions occurred when the fire was well-advanced.”

 

If HBO and the production company are really dragging their feet in paying for the damages, then shame on them. I have long thought that much/most of Hollywood is oblivious to the real world. My wonderful wife and I used to subscribe to HBO, but eventually realized that we almost never watched any of the channels. Within a week of cancelling our subscription it was as if we had never subscribed. I think we cancelled HBO 15 years ago.

In general, the Hollywood “machine” does not care about my demographic. About two-thirds of movie tickets are purchased by people 21 or younger. I have not been in a theater since 2007 and almost certainly will never set foot in one again. I watch very little TV; basically, if it’s not a Mecum auction, something on Motor Trend or an episode of American Pickers, then I’m almost certainly not watching. Oh, I have to amend that list. My wonderful wife and I have become hooked on The Zoo on Animal Planet.

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Of course, on this day in 1914 Archduke Ferdinand of Austria, heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne, was assassinated in Sarajevo. His wife Sophie was also killed. The assassination was the spark that ignited World War I as Austria-Hungary subsequently issued an ultimatum to the Kingdom of Serbia, which was partially rejected. Austria-Hungary then declared war on Serbia, triggering actions leading to war between most European states. The Serbian military played a major role in organizing and arming the assassins.

Obviously, a blog post is not the venue for discussing the causes of World War I. It is true, however, that Europe has avoided a large armed conflict for 75 years. Virtually no one alive today was alive during World War I and few people living today were alive during World War II. History often has a way of being re-written and not always in a more accurate way.

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On this day in 1966 Pete Estes, then President of the Chevrolet Division of General Motors, announced a new car model. The internal designation was XP-836, but the car is known to the world as the Camaro.

I still think the first-generation Camaro, model years 1967 to 1969, is the best-looking of the model. The car became available to the public in September, 1966, a “normal” time for the introduction of a new model. For years, the cars for a model year were introduced in September/October of the previous calendar year. Without further ado, from Barn Finds a picture of a stock 1967 Chevrolet Camaro:

 

See the source image

 

This is not one of the many Camaros that have been modified with larger wheels and tires, with custom paint and custom hoods, not to mention modern drivetrains. While I prefer the looks of the 1968 model, because I don’t really like the vent window on this car, I think all three years just look great. I would never use this car for the In Or Out? feature because it seems as though it would be In for most people.

Enjoy your Sunday. I’m going to try to do the same.

 

#HitThePauseButton

#HeatherStorm

#HBOSued

#AssassinationOfArchdukeFerdinand

#ChevroletCamaro

#somanycarsjustonelife

#disaffectedmusings

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Saturday Breakfast

During this coronavirus situation, my wonderful wife and I have basically subsisted on cereal (almost exclusively Cheerios for me), protein shakes and bars, and an occasional visit to Chick-fil-A. (I’m exaggerating a little for effect; our diet is actually somewhat more varied.) One brand of protein bars, think!, has been a revelation. While they are not low-calorie foods, for someone with my dietary needs and exercise regimen, they are a very tasty and important part of my diet. By the way, quality of calories counts at least as much as quantity.

One new flavor of think! bars that we have tried, Chocolate & Creme Cupcake, tastes better than many of the candy bars I’ve eaten in my life. Each bar has 18 grams of protein and just 2 grams of “regular” sugar. In all honesty, my GI tract has never behaved better during allergy season than it has this year on this “limited” diet. Maybe restaurant food will have to be restricted from here on out. Oh, this morning’s breakfast consisted of a bowl of Cheerios, a Chocolate Fudge think! bar and some iced coffee, black.

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I think it is still true that McPherson College in McPherson, Kansas is the only US institution of “higher learning” that offers a four-year degree in automobile restoration. Not surprisingly, the school is now offering a webinar that examines the wide-ranging effects of the automobile on modern life.

The title of my History paper my senior year in high school was “The Development Of The Automobile And Its Effect On 20th-Century American Society.” I have had the automobile bug for a LONG time.

In this post I offered the opinion (that’s what “opined” means) that too many American parents have been brainwashed into thinking that it is beneath their children for them to “work with their hands.” This country is experiencing a huge shortage of automotive technicians. Given the complexity of modern automotive systems, it is far beyond the capability of most car owners to perform major, and sometimes even minor, repairs on their vehicles. I think it’s great that McPherson offers a program in automobile restoration; I wish more colleges, two-year and four-year, and universities offered programs featuring working on cars.

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Three very interesting remarks courtesy of The Muscleheaded Blog:

 

Yogi Berra: “In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice. But in practice, there is.”

Groucho Marx: “I’ve had a wonderful time, but this wasn’t it.”

Dwight Eisenhower: “A people that values its privileges above its principles soon loses both.”

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As we have been busy with many chores around here, the search for a Corvette Companion/Grocery Car post-move has slowed. As I wrote here, the Maserati GranTurismo (2007-2010) is out of the running. Right now, I think the realistic choice is between these two cars: a 2000-2002 Cadillac Eldorado (ETC preferred, but not mandatory) and a 2006-07 Chevrolet Monte Carlo SS; we have to have an SS.

 

See the source image

See the source image

 

Both pictures are from Mecum Auctions; the top photo is a 2000 Eldorado ESC and the bottom is a 2007 Monte Carlo SS. No, we don’t have to have a car with a red exterior, but we will not buy a car with a dark interior, not in the desert.

As most of you reading are “car people” I would like to read your thoughts on this choice. Of course, in the end the decision will be ours to make, but qualified input is always welcome.

 

#think!

#McPhersonCollege

#TheMuscleheadedBlog

#CorvetteCompanion/GroceryCar

#somanycarsjustonelife

#disaffectedmusings

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Fractured Friday

In my opinion…unlimited freedom, especially in the context of a country or a society, is not freedom. It’s anarchy. You don’t have to like your neighbors; you don’t even have to care about your neighbors. However, you do NOT have the right to risk the health of others through what I can only describe as willful negligence. Yes, that phrase sounds like an oxymoron like “current American music.”

We are all suffering from coronavirus fatigue and we all want to be back to normal as soon as possible. However, the timetable is not up to us and it’s not up to government, either. The virus and the pharmaceutical companies will determine the course of events.

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Yesterday I had a long (two hours) and very enjoyable conversation with my long-time friend, Mel Kiper. Believe it or not, most of the conversation was not about football. He and I have known each other for almost 30 years, but I think we both learned things about each other that we did not know before yesterday.

I really do know a fair number of famous people. Fame has eluded me, not that I have been actively seeking it. From our “hometown” newspaper, The Baltimore Sun, a picture of Mel.

 

See the source image

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I have not really written about this car in about three months and seeing one yesterday (or was it the day before yesterday?, time compression secondary to aging is no fun ☹️), in addition to receiving a listing for one in my daily email from Classic Cars, were the impetus I needed to show this car again.

Originally shown as the EVOQ concept at the 1999 Detroit Auto Show, the Cadillac XLR was the make’s second unsuccessful attempt to sell a two-seat roadster to compete with the Mercedes-Benz SL models. Success or not, I have thought these cars were simply stunning in design from the first time I saw one at an auto show. From the aforementioned Classic Cars a picture of a 2007 XLR-V (the “V” means the engine is supercharged):

 

See the source image

The XLR-V was powered by a supercharged 4.4 liter/267 cubic-inch V-8 that produced 443 HP/414 LB-FT of torque. The XLR was based on C6 Corvette architecture and was manufactured in the same Bowling Green, Kentucky factory that builds the Corvette.

Before I bought a used BMW Z4 in May of 2016 (was that really more than four years ago?!), I considered buying a used XLR. While at breakfast some time before I bought the Z4 I asked a friend, a “car guy,” if he knew anything about the XLR. I didn’t know he had owned two of them that he had purchased new and that BOTH of them were re-purchased by Cadillac under our state’s lemon law. One of his cars had been in the shop for 244 of 365 days. That was enough bad news for me. Of course, the Z4 hardly turned out to be a trouble-free car and I sold it after 29 months.

Maybe Cadillac thought it had to get the XLR to market as soon as possible although the car was not available for more than four years after the EVOQ was shown in Detroit. Just like with the Allanté, though, maybe just another year of refinement would have enabled the XLR to be released with far fewer issues. In all honesty, Cadillac overpriced the car and, in all honesty, the market for cars like this collapsed in the wake of the beginning of the “Great Recession” in 2008. The XLR was built from 2003 through 2009 although the first cars were sold as 2004 model year.

Initially projected to sell between 5,000 and 7,000 units per year only 15,460 were sold in total, including 200 leftover 2009 models sold new in 2010 and 2011. The most sold in a year was about 3,700 in 2005. Problems with the car became well known (welcome to the Internet age) and even though cars built from 2006 on are supposed to be quality vehicles, the damage was done and the “Financial Meltdown” was the straw that broke the camel’s back.

I don’t think Cadillac will ever build another two-seat roadster, which is a shame in my opinion. I still think the make is the most logical builder of an American super-luxury car that I think could sell the number of units originally projected for the XLR. I don’t know how much it would cost to design and to tool for a new car. Maybe the car would have to be priced way too high to recoup those costs in a reasonable period of time. Then again, maybe such a car would be a “Giffen Good,” a product that contradicts the normal law of demand and is consumed more the more expensive it is. A really outstanding car could be such an exception.

For quite a long period of time, I really thought I would own an XLR someday. Who knows? Maybe I still will, warts and all. I’m talking about the car, I think.  🙂

 

#FracturedFriday

#MelKiper

#CadillacXLR

#GiffenGood

#somanycarsjustonelife

#disaffectedmusings

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Random Thursday

I was going to call this post Entropy Thursday, but realized that title would reduce blog views by at least 30%.

 

This blog is technically anonymous, but I am going to show a picture of me. WARNING: Disturbing Content…

 

 

Can’t say I didn’t warn you…when people “Like” posts or sign up to follow my blog I usually look at their blogs to see if I want to follow them. Unfortunately, I usually find myself not interested in their content. Almost two years ago, I think, someone liked a couple of my posts so I went to their blog. It consisted of nothing but provocative selfies of an admittedly curvaceous woman (she was clothed) with her phone always covering her face and the “content” consisted of nothing but pablum, and I don’t mean the cereal, about “self-help.” I have to admit that I am less than impressed by the vast majority of the blogs I read. That’s why I still believe, and this is true even with the surge in views/visitors since early April, that Disaffected Musings should have more readers.

Speaking of readers, while June’s totals for views and visitors will not match the records set in May, June has already seen a record number of comments for a month. I am grateful for the interaction. I want to especially thank photobyjohnbo, Dirty Dingus McGee and Philip Maynard. Those three readers account for 55 percent of the last 500 or so published comments by someone other than me. I am responsible for about 48% of all published comments because I like to respond when someone takes the time to submit a comment.

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The following is an article I wrote 25 years ago that was published in a “football analytics” book. The title is “Albert Einstein Would Love This Stuff.” I apologize if some of it is difficult to read; this will be easier to read on a large desktop monitor. Oh, I covered the byline. Remember, this blog is still technically anonymous.

 

 

Everything is relative, even relativity. I still think I would bring value to an auction house like Mecum or Barrett-Jackson creating content for them like this article although, of course, about cars and not about football. Oh, the NFL league passer rating is now over 90. The grade inflation has continued.

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Speaking of cars, from GM Authority a picture of a 2020 Corvette. Do I need reasons to show one? Well, read below the photo.

 

See the source image

 

From this Carbonhans Blog article comes the “news” that the C8 Corvette ranks 8th on 2020’s Most American Cars Index. That ranking, the American Made Index or AMI by Cars.com, “is an independent annual list that ranks the new vehicles that contribute most to the U.S. economy based on criteria ranging from U.S. factory jobs and manufacturing plants to parts sourcing.” In an example of modern supply chains, three of the top ten vehicles on the list are manufactured by Honda at their Alabama plant. The Corvette and the Chevrolet Colorado pickup truck were the only two General Motors vehicles on the list. Remember that manufacturers are required by law to annually report the percentage of US and Canadian parts and that information appears on the window sticker of all new vehicles sold in the US.

Cars.com also reported “70% of shoppers consider a car’s impact on the US economy a significant or deciding factor in their vehicle choice and the COVID-19 pandemic has increased the desire of Americans to “buy local.” The survey found that nearly 40% of consumers report they are more likely to buy an American-made car due to the current health and economic crisis, while just 4% said they were less likely. A whopping 26% said it was “unpatriotic” to buy a non-American-made car, compared to just 18% in 2019.”

 

From this Corvette Blogger piece comes the news that, not surprisingly, the C8 Corvette is “loaded” with modern composite materials. A website called Composites World has published a two-part look at the role composites play in making the 2020 Corvette one of the top supercars in the world, regardless of price.

 

#RandomThursday

#Mecum

#BarrettJackson

#2020Corvette

#ModernComposites

#somanycarsjustonelife

#disaffectedmusings

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