I Couldn’t Help Myself

Yes, I finally bought one:



OK, where will I keep it? We already have three cars in our three-car garage and our lot has no room for another vehicle. Surprisingly, my wonderful wife was not upset with this purchase at all. Maybe this will make things clear:



Well, I did finally buy one…a model of a Studebaker Gran Turismo Hawk. Apparently, it was shipped all the way from the UK and arrived in pristine condition. Cleverly, the side view mirror was shipped in a little plastic bag to protect it during transit as was the driver side window “assembly.” Both were easily affixed with a dab of Gorilla Super Glue. Here are some more photos:



Maybe not so ironically, I would say the probability of my acquiring a real one someday has increased dramatically. Maybe that means that if I publish an Ultimate Garage 3.0, then the Studebaker Gran Turismo Hawk will have to be a part of it.


From Corvette Blogger comes this piece titled, “Corvette is the Fastest-Selling New Car for the Third Consecutive Month.” Here is a chart from iseecars.com via Corvette Blogger:


Corvette is the Fastest-Selling New Car for the Third Consecutive Month


Note that the average price of a new Corvette sold in March did decline by about 5 percent compared to the price in February. It is also very sad to me that besides the Corvette, the Lexus IS 350 is the only car on this list. Also notice at least four hybrids on the list, but no pure EVs. From the Corvette Blogger piece, a picture of a new C8 Corvette:


Corvette is the Fastest Selling New Car for the Third Consecutive Month


I guess I should note the death of POS Bernie Madoff. Yes, he was evil and ruined the lives of many people. Still, all I can hear in my head is that the success of a scam doesn’t depend on its cleverness, but instead depends on the greed of the mark.

Many of those people “receiving” years and years of above average returns must have had some doubts, but decided not to look that gift horse in the mouth. Despite receiving warnings about Madoff’s operation from Harry Markopolos as early as 2000, the SEC did nothing. Even Madoff said he could have been caught in 2003, but:


“I was astonished. They never even looked at my stock records. If investigators had checked with The Depository Trust Company, a central securities depository, it would’ve been easy for them to see. If you’re looking at a Ponzi scheme, it’s the first thing you do.”


As most people know, it was the financial crisis of 2008 that led Madoff to turn himself in as he could no longer meet redemption requests. As of December, 2020, the total of recoveries and settlement agreements was about $14 billion. How much Madoff actually stole during the years of his Ponzi scheme is a matter of some debate.

Madoff gave capitalism and Jews a big “black eye.” It is ironic that the lunatic socialists in this country want government to control our lives, but government failed to intervene sooner in the Madoff case despite years of warnings. EVERY institution of human beings is flawed, because EVERY human being is flawed. That includes government.








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WTF Wednesday

Today’s first topic was suggested/inspired by a direct Twitter comment to me by Dominic Chu of CNBC.

The FDA decision to pause use of the Johnson and Johnson COVID-19 vaccine is a WTF moment, in my opinion. I was going to express my objections, but I’ll let someone far more qualified do so, Nate Silver:


“6 cases out of 7 million people. What a disaster. This is going to get people killed. And it’s going to create more vaccine hesitancy. These people don’t understand cost-benefit analysis. They keep making mistakes by orders of magnitude.”


Not to pick nits, but since apparently only women developed the blood clots it is closer to 6 cases out of about 3.5 million people, or about 1 in 600,000. That is a mere 1/200th of the frequency with which women taking oral contraceptives develop blood clots, granting the blood clots may not be exactly of the same type. Oral contraceptives are still being sold.

As to whether or not this decision will create more vaccine hesitancy, I believe the vast majority of adults have already decided whether or not they are going to be vaccinated, but on the margin Nate is right. I will also opine that those who choose not to receive a vaccine are clearly on the wrong side of the facts and will clearly be on the wrong side of history. I will, once again, quote Louis Armstrong and Isaac Asimov:


“There are some people that if they don’t know, you can’t tell them.”


“There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there always has been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that ‘my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.’”


Oh, the extreme libertarians are wrong a lot and so are those who have blind faith in government.


While running errands yesterday I saw a “carcass” of one of these being transported on a flatbed truck:


See the source image


From Barrett-Jackson a picture of a 1955 Studebaker Speedster. That was the only year the Speedster was offered and it was introduced as a top of the line model with “upgraded” chrome and brightwork. I consider it a bridge between the original Loewy coupes and the Hawk line that began in 1956.

I have to admit I almost drove off the road trying to ascertain the car’s identity and again when I realized what it was. Of course, since I was driving I could not get a picture. The car was in rough shape, though.

Obviously, I hope the car was being transported to someone who will begin restoring it. Only 2,215 Speedsters were produced.


Let this fact sink in:


More than half (54%) of the 1.7 million unemployed workers age 55 and over are long-term unemployed, according to AARP, an advocacy group for older Americans. (Economists consider long-term unemployment to be a period exceeding six months.)


Of course, I fit in that category as a 55 and older long-term unemployed. Age discrimination is very real, but very difficult to prove. I will once again write that it is absurd that someone with my skills and experience was unable to find a fulfilling and interesting work situation after my baseball career ended. Now, I am in the “discouraged worker” category, I guess.











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On this day 75 years ago my parents married. They were living in a “Displaced Persons” camp in Austria. In other words, they were refugees.

People in this country, especially younger people, have no frame of reference with which to understand what happened during World War II. As a result, they lack a genuine perspective on events. I am trying to be polite writing about this. What I really feel about the cluelessness of most people is extremely impolite.





10,000 Miles, A Confession And More Pictures

I was lucky in that I was able to be at a red light when this picture opportunity presented itself:



Yep, 10,000 miles on my Z06. You are reading the speedometer correctly; it peaks at 220 MPH. I don’t think the car can go quite that fast, but I bet it could reach 205-210 MPH. Of course, I will never drive it anywhere near that fast.

Reaching 10,000 miles in total means I have driven the car 5,600 miles since acquiring it and about 1,800 miles since moving to Arizona. Tomorrow is 22 weeks that we moved into our house here.



OK, I never know if these audio or video files will work until I publish the post. If this works, please feel free to skip the first 30 seconds. Yes, that is my car as the last of the three #mystarcar cars in this segment shown on the Mecum broadcast on Thursday. My confession is that I have rejoined the world of Twitter (handle of @Boulders2021).

My main reason for opening another Twitter account is the no doubt futile hope that I can use the platform to drive traffic to the blog. I am following far fewer people than the first time I was on Twitter; I want to avoid getting sucked into flame wars and avoid seeing things in my feed I don’t want to see. Being able to “participate” in the Mecum broadcasts in albeit a very small way is a very small reason I decided to rejoin the platform.


OK, some more photos of the scenery around here, man-made and nature-made:



Yes, the Jaguar F-Type is dirty, but still an incredibly beautiful car.



Can you see the metallic finish on this yellow Lambo? I did the best I could under the circumstances.



Is this car worth roughly $400,000? Of course, that depends on the person.



As “johnbo” points out in his blog, if your browser lets you then you can enlarge these photos for better viewing. You can do the same on a mobile device although the pics won’t look the same on a 6-inch screen as they do on a 20-inch.

As my fount of prose runs dry, I suspect I will show more photos for the rest of the time I am blogging. I guess a million words will not be reached before I end this blog.









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OK, I screwed up big-time today. I originally published this post with a typo in the post title AND in the URL. I guess we’ll see how that affects readership.



Fractious Friday

A follow up to this post: American Jews are under assault from both sides of the political “spectrum.” The neoNazi faction of the extreme right loathes Jews as they loathe anyone who is not exactly like they are. The moronically clueless SJWs of the extreme left also dislike Jews. Why? My theory is that the relative success of Jews is a stick in the eye of their belief that only government can help those they feel are disadvantaged. Almost all of whatever success Jews have achieved in the US has not been the result of government programs. The clueless SJWs also perceive Jews to be part of the oppressor class. Ironic, isn’t it?


In 1900, nearly 18 percent of males born in the United States died before their first birthday; today, cumulative mortality does not reach 18 percent until age 62. That’s a fact. It is my very strong opinion that only two developments explain that radical improvement: modern sanitation and modern medicine. In this country, most people are not really living healthy lives.

Politicians need to play on people’s fears and exaggerate, or even invent out of whole cloth, problems so politicians will seem to be needed. If things, in general, are getting better then why do we need more government programs? That might seem like an odd thing to write in light of the last year, but the last year is an exception.

That’s my story and I’m sticking to it. Think for yourself!


This CNBC article reports that Rolls-Royce hit a new sales record in the first quarter of 2021. They delivered 1,380 cars in the first three months of the year, a 62% increase from the same period last year.

The Cullinan SUV (yes, Rolls-Royce makes an SUV) and the new Ghost are especially popular. From 900news.com a picture of a 2020 Rolls-Royce Ghost:


See the source image


I tried to capture a picture of the Ghost from Rolls-Royce’s website, but was unable to do so. Of course, Rolls-Royce is really “just” a division of BMW and has been since 2003. The cars are still built in the UK, though.

The base MSRP for the Ghost is $332,000. I like this copy from the company website: “All-wheel drive establishes newfound versatility and on-road dynamism without compromising the Magic Carpet ride.” (Of course, now I hear the song “Magic Carpet Ride” by Steppenwolf in my head.)

In this part of Arizona, seeing a Rolls-Royce is not that uncommon. Of course, the luxury make sales complex about 10 miles from our house sells and services Rolls-Royce. Maybe I’ll take some pictures of the Ghost and the Dawn, the two-door Rolls-Royce, the next time I’m down there.

Do any of you have a desire to own a Rolls-Royce? I would have been afraid to own one in the mid-Atlantic, but not here. Yes, I hope I am not jinxing myself or my wonderful wife. Move or no move, it is still hell to live inside my head.








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Yom HaShoah

Today is Yom HaShoah or Holocaust Memorial Day. I have a strong connection to the Holocaust. My father watched his family murdered by Nazi troops (you don’t want to know how he survived). My mother and her parents escaped from their little Polish village just days before the Nazis burned it to the ground. (Of course, there’s the sad tale of my uncle who survived a concentration camp only to be murdered when two pieces of sh*t robbed his grocery store, but that’s another story for another day.)

The Holocaust DID happen and, sadly, it could happen again. The recent spate of attacks on Asian-Americans is a disgusting manifestation of the large swath of ignorance that cuts through American society. What no one reports, however, is despite the fact that Jews comprise just two percent of the US population, they have been the victim of more than half of the hate crimes in this country every year for at least the last five years.

It has been said by people like Mark Twain that Jews are the victim of their own success. How is it, exactly, that so many Jews who came to the US in the late 19th and early 20th centuries were so successful, given they suffered enormous discrimination, did not speak English upon arrival and there were no government programs to help them? Well, I have my own theory, but I do not want to incite a flame war. Suffice to say no one should ever become successful by doing nothing except playing the victim.

Never Forget! Never Again!







Walkabout Wednesday

From Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary: walkabout; noun, a short period of wandering bush life engaged in by an Australian aborigine as an occasional interruption of regular work

I hope this blog is a daily walkabout for those who read it. Also, today’s post is EXTREMELY random or wandering.


My wonderful wife and I watch episodes of Frasier on Cozi (via Hulu + Live TV) from time to time. Yesterday, we watched “The Last Time I Saw Maris.” From frasier.fandom.com a synopsis of the episode:


After a relieved Niles learns that Maris’ mysterious three-day disappearance took her on a shopping spree to New York, Frasier tells him to demand an apology from her instead of giving her a welcome home gift. Niles takes his brother’s advice and reads her the riot act, but when he later refuses to apologize, Maris asks for a divorce.


Frasier telling Niles to confront Maris leads to Niles smashing all sorts of vases and statuettes. He then says, “Smashing things is therapeutic.” I can relate: I think this happened a few months after I had been fired from my first full-time baseball job. I bought an answering machine, but one without tapes. It was a “newfangled” electronic type that digitally recorded my greeting and incoming messages.

The problem was that no matter how many times I recorded my greeting, 24 hours later it was gone. I would record the greeting, play back the greeting, and then play it back again a few hours later. It was always gone the next day.

I don’t know what catalyst caused me to do the following, but after the 15th or 20th time the greeting disappeared, I yanked the machine out of the wall, threw it down the stairs and then proceeded to smash it into hundreds of pieces with a hammer. I have to admit that felt good.

Oh, in a 2006 poll taken by Channel 4 in the UK of professionals in the TV industry, Frasier was voted the best sitcom of all time. I have all of the episodes on DVD and have streaming access to all of them on Hulu. Frasier, Taxi and The Big Bang Theory are my three favorite sitcoms ever. I think the phrase “modern sitcom” is an oxymoron, now without exception with the end of The Big Bang Theory in 2019.

Also, while I acknowledge that Seinfeld had moments of comic brilliance, its internal motto of “no hugging, no learning” left it a bit short compared to other sitcoms. The occasional poignant moments make the comedy better, in my opinion.

The word is that a Frasier reboot will begin airing next year on Paramount+, a streaming service. Sorry, I’m not going to pay more money every month just to watch one show. Three of the service’s main offerings are channels I would never watch: Comedy Central, nickelodeon and MTV. I will be quite happy occasionally watching an “old” episode.


Yesterday saw blog views from the usual countries outside the US (Canada, France, Malta, Nigeria) except one: Chile. The South American nation was second in views by country behind only the US and more than half of the views for the year from Chile happened yesterday. From Wikipedia a map showing Chile’s location:


Chilean territory in dark green; claimed but uncontrolled territory in light green


The green slice of Antarctic land shown is claimed but uncontrolled territory. Chile is about 2,700 miles from north to south, but only about 220 miles at its widest east-to-west point.

The strongest earthquake ever recorded (M 9.5) happened off the coast of southern Chile in May of 1960. From this NOAA report:


This earthquake generated a tsunami that was destructive not only along the coast of Chile, but also across the Pacific in Hawaii, Japan, and the Philippines…The number of fatalities in Chile associated with both the earthquake and tsunami has been estimated to be between 490 and 5,700. The Chilean government estimated 2 million people were left homeless and the damage was USD $550 million [my note: almost $5 billion in today’s dollars]. In Hawaii, the tsunami caused 61 deaths, 43 injuries, and USD $23.5 million in damage… The tsunami hit the Pacific coast of Japan almost a day after the earthquake causing 139 deaths and destroying or washing away almost 3,000 houses in the Hokkaido, Aomori, Iwate, and Fukushima Prefectures. Waves observed in Japan were higher than other adjacent regions nearer to the source due to the directivity of tsunami wave radiation. At least 21 people died in the Philippines due to the tsunami.


Waves as high as 35 feet were observed more than 6,000 miles from the epicenter. Oh, the earthquake lasted 10 minutes, an extraordinarily long time for such an event. Anyway…if you’re reading, thanks to those of you who read Disaffected Musings from Chile yesterday.


David Banner (not his real name) sent me a text in which he wrote, “I don’t get an EV Hummer…that’s like a sugar free donut.” Yes, GM is going to reboot the Hummer brand as an EV AND is introducing an EV Silverado pickup truck. My response to his text was, “LOL! It’s 2021 and come hell or high water most “car” companies are going electric. What better way to engage in virtue signaling than to produce an electric Hummer?”

For the nth time, I realize that some form of “alternative” power for cars will become the dominant paradigm some time in the future. I also realize that most of the market still wants to buy cars powered by Internal Combustion Engines. For at least the next 10-20 years, a significant market opportunity will exist to cater to those buyers. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it. Of course, I’ll be sticking to this car for some time to come:



Since I am now fully vaccinated, I may speed up the timetable for the second round of modifications (Modificata!) to increase engine output. The powertrain warranty expires in about three months and since the shop is booked 8-10 weeks out, will it really make a difference if I get the work done a couple of weeks before expiration?

I have babbled on enough today. For only the third or fourth time in the three-plus year history of this blog, a post is 1,000+ words long. I hope you have enjoyed it.











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Toothsome Tuesday

I have grown to really like some of Starbucks’ food offerings. My favorite is probably this:


See the source image


These are the Egg White & Roasted Red Pepper Egg Bites (picture from Starbucks). I don’t know if a serving equals one or two, but they’re 170 calories a serving with 11 grams of carbs including 3 grams of sugar (I am diabetic, remember, even though my diabetes is “well-controlled” in the parlance of medical practitioners), but 12 grams of protein.

Compared to when I was 30, I probably eat only about 20% as much beef. I no longer eat dinner, which was almost always some type of beef. After we left Texas in 2008, we pretty much stopped eating at steakhouses. I can’t say whether or not we’ll resume in the near future given the number of high quality steakhouses here. Since most of them are only open for dinner, probably not.

I have no desire to go full vegetarian and certainly not vegan. Sometimes, I just have to have an In-N-Out burger. Sometimes, I really want a milkshake. I certainly can’t say that my dietary evolution has had a global component. It’s just that I crave different things now that I am older. It’s also in the best interests of my health not to eat too much red meat.

I suspect not too many readers are under 40. How have your dietary habits changed, if at all?


I don’t know why I am writing this today, but not long after I moved to California in the mid-1990s I began a personal journal or diary, if you will. I didn’t write every day, but I wrote on most days.

I often worked long hours; during a homestand it was common for me to arrive at the office at 9:30 AM and not get home until 11 PM. I never developed a social infrastructure outside of work so keeping a journal seemed like a good idea.

Usually, one of the features of my entries was a Song of the Day. I guess I thought about my journal because my earworm issue is getting worse, seemingly by the week. I was originally going to call today’s post Overriding The Earworm because when I was younger I never had songs I didn’t like stuck in my head. I would hear songs in my head, but they were songs I couldn’t wait to hear after I got home from work.

No, I no longer have the journal. I kept it on a computer and when I sold it, I wiped the hard drive. When the inevitable day comes that I stop blogging, I wonder if I will still write, but just for myself.


Random neural firings lead to…1951 in the US auto industry.

As the Korean War intensified, auto production cutbacks were ordered by the federal government and its National Production Authority. A railroad strike in February temporarily cut off supplies of key raw materials. Even with all of that, 5.3 million cars were produced although that was about a 16 percent decline from the record year of 1950.

Chrysler introduced two “firsts:” its first-generation Hemi engine and Hydraguide power steering. From classiccars.com a picture of a 1951 Chrysler New Yorker Newport:


See the source image


Later in the decade, Chrysler would offer the first American engine with at least 1 HP per cubic inch, the optional motor for the 1956 Chrysler 300B, but I digress…

Studebaker first offered a V-8 engine in the 1951 model year. The 232 cubic-inch (3.8 liter) motor was only offered in the Commander line; the Champion was offered with a 169 cubic-inch inline-6. Commanders accounted for about 46 percent of Studebakers produced in 1951.


See the source image


From wallpaperup.com a picture (I hope) of a 1951 Studebaker Commander convertible. These accounted for only 3 percent of Commader sales in 1951.

Random neural firings are slowing down. Have a great day…










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Monday Musings 65

On Friday, the US Department of Labor reported that non-farm payrolls rose by 916,000 in March, a much better performance than predicted by those entities that make such predictions. The unemployment rate fell to 6.0%. (Of course, revisions will no doubt “change” those numbers.)

Just for comparison, when was the last time France had an unemployment rate of even 7 percent? Just before the “Great Recession.” That country’s unemployment rate has only been below 8 percent in two of the last 30 years. Excessive regulation of its labor market is the primary factor for that poor performance.

The blind zealots who want governments to control everything are also deniers of facts.


According to this Corvette Blogger piece, Chevrolet/GM delivered 6,611 Corvettes in the first quarter of 2021. Corvette deliveries have not been that high in a first quarter since 2015. In addition, all four GM US brands (Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, GMC) had double-digit year-over-year increases in retail sales. Oh, they’re not selling a lot of electric vehicles.


See the source image


From a Chevrolet dealer a picture of a 2021 Corvette in Elkhart Lake Blue Metallic. Of course, my first Corvette was in Blue, Electron Blue Metallic, to be precise:



C5 and C6 Corvettes are now among the best performance car bargains anywhere. This is not a Frugal Friday post, but one can find C5 Z06 Corvettes in the $25,000-$30,000 range and C6 Z06 Corvettes in the high 30s. The C6 Z06 was powered by an engine of legendary displacement, 427 cubic inches, even though it was based on small-block architecture. Output was 505 HP/470 LB-FT of torque. C’mon, a 500 HP car for less than 40 grand! What more could you want?!

Obviously from autogespot, a picture of a C6 Z06 Corvette:


See the source image


I will always have a soft spot for C5 Corvettes as one of those was my first Vette, but I have grown to like the looks of the C6 more. I would probably rate the C6 as the third best looking generation, behind the C2 and the C7. Anyone else care to offer their hierarchy of Corvette generation looks?









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