Idiosyncratic

On this day in 1972 I broke my right foot playing football in the alley behind my house. I jumped in an attempt to catch a pass (I didn’t catch it) and when I landed my foot hit loose pavement, twisted awkwardly (the bottom of the foot twisted up) and a bone broke. I know this had to have happened after 6 PM. How do I know? For the same reason I wouldn’t let anyone take me to the hospital until 8 PM: Dragnet.

Every weekday for a long time I watched two episodes of Dragnet. One was at 5:30 PM on a Baltimore station (I was born and raised in Baltimore) and another, not the same episode, at 7:30 PM on a Washington, DC station. This was pre-cable, pre-satellite, pre-streaming. The day I broke my foot, I soaked it in a bucket of ice water until the 7:30 PM episode ended and then I went to the hospital where my foot was put in a cast.

I was not a wishy-washy person. If I liked something I REALLY liked it and if I disliked something I REALLY disliked it. As I age, that tendency has diminished somewhat. Bill James (yes, I am dropping his name again) once wrote in an email something to the effect that as we age we grow less passionate, but more obsessive. For someone with OCD tendencies like me, that has not been a good development, but I am who I am.

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See the source image

From hardrocker78.deviantart.com a picture of a 1961 Studebaker Lark VIII Regal convertible. One of these, but not this particular one, was offered for sale at the Mecum auction in Indianapolis that is still taking place. The car offered at Mecum had a flamingo pink exterior (Mecum does not allow its online pictures from its actual lot descriptions to be captured, otherwise I would have shown that car) with a white interior and a white top. It was not all stock as it had Boyd Coddington wheels and probably some other modifications. Only 1,002 of the Lark VIII Regal convertibles were produced in 1961, by which time it was becoming apparent that Studebaker was probably not going to survive. (Studebaker sales declined from about 120,000 in 1960 to 60,000 in 1961.) The Mecum car did not sell at a high bid of $19,000.

For the nth time (actually, probably the nth + 50), I am fascinated by defunct American car makes. A famous saying is that if you build a better mousetrap the world will beat a path to your door. I don’t believe that axiom always applies. Many companies have gone belly-up while building good or great products.

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Thursday Quirky

First, this car…

Picture from carbuzz.com…this is a Jaguar C-X75 prototype, pictured in last Friday’s post as a What Car Is This? car. The prototype was all electric, but Jaguar came close to putting it in production as a hybrid with a turbocharged gasoline engine until the “Great Recession” put an end to those plans.

See the source image

Photo from mecum.com. (Once again, it is not my intent to violate copyright laws. I always credit the photo source and if a copyright mark appears I will not use the photo.) This car, a 1961 Metropolitan (labeled as a Nash Metropolitan although I think the Nash name was not used on any car after the 1957 model year) sold at the big Mecum auction in Indianapolis yesterday for $18,000, $19,800 including the buyer’s premium. Regular readers know that my taste in automobiles runs to performance cars and 1950s/1960s GM cars, for the most part, but I am smitten with this car.

The Metropolitan, introduced for the 1954 model year, was actually the first car designed by an American company (Nash) to be exclusively sold in North America, but built entirely in Europe. The Metropolitan was a British car, with an Austin engine and transmission. Nash promoted the fact that the car was smaller than the Volkswagen Beetle, which was beginning to gain a foothold in the US market. During its production run about 95,000 Metropolitans were shipped to North America: roughly 83,000 to the US and 12,000 to Canada.

As I wrote in connection with the Opel GT, given the Metropolitan’s weight (about 1,800 pounds) and lack of modern safety features it might not be the safest car to drive today. Still, if any car can be called adorable then I think this is the first in line. An aside: where else are you going to see a picture of a Jaguar prototype supercar and a Metropolitan in the same post?!

No pork for me, please

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/perfect-health-diet/201202/is-pork-still-dangerous

This is just one article that shows data linking pork consumption to a whole host of medical problems. Here is how the Psychology Today article begins:

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Is Pork Still Dangerous?

Did Leviticus get it right? Pork may still be dangerous.

Posted Feb 08, 2012

If we were to rank popular meats by their healthfulness, the order would be (1) fish and shellfish, (2) ruminants (beef, lamb, goat), and (3) birds (duck, chicken, turkey). In last place would be pork.

Of course, the ancient Hebrews were forbidden to eat pork, and it’s commonly assumed that health concerns were behind the prohibition. Commenter George Henderson prompted us to look into the modern case for avoiding pork with this comment:  “Nanji and Bridges identified possible problems with pork plus moderate alcohol in 1985 and other researchers have confirmed the pattern since.”

Pork Consumption and Liver Cirrhosis

Pork consumption has a strong epidemiological association with cirrhosis of the liver. Startlingly, pork may be even more strongly associated with alcoholic cirrhosis than alcohol itself!

The evidence was summarized by Francis Bridges in a recent (2009) paper, building on earlier work by Nanji and French. A relation between pork consumption and cirrhosis of the liver is apparent across countries and has been consistently maintained for at least 40 years.

Here is the correlation between pork consumption and mortality from liver cirrhosis in 2003:

The correlation coefficient of 0.83 is extremely high – rarely seen in epidemiology. Correlation coefficients range from -1.0 to 1.0, and a coefficient of 1.0 would indicate that cirrhosis mortality was strictly proportional to pork consumption. The very low p-value confirms the statistical association.

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Some cites are not shown because WordPress didn’t want to show the URLs. Pork consumption has also been linked to multiple sclerosis. Psychology Today is hardly some crackpot publication.

I do not eat pork. Even though my mother was an Orthodox Jew, religion is not the reason for my pork aversion.

Back Patting Encore

Yesterday I wrote that Bill James and I have been friends for more than 30 years. Here is what Bill graciously wrote as a cover “blurb” for my first book: “[He] knows more about who’s in the minors, and who’s any good, than anybody in the world.” (If that were ever true, it certainly isn’t, anymore.)

The Wall Street Journal wrote this about my third book: “Without a doubt the best book [of its kind] ever written.” [of its kind] was the subject of the book. Here is a reader review of the book:

“This is the finest book on [this topic] ever written, in my opinion. [The author] uses a strict system of mathematics and statistics to measure teams and sets forth meaningful criteria to separate the wheat from the chaff. To the reviewer above, I say this: Isn’t the whole point to win in the playoffs? How can a team be considered among the GREATEST EVER in a sport if they fail to win the most meaningful games of all?
[His] arguments are lucid and intelligent, not given to histrionics or buffered by boorishness. This is an exhaustive book, [he] leaves no stone unturned and even displays some good humor in the face of his intimidating statistical virtuosity. This is about as objective a study as I have seen on this often touchy subject. I would love to see this sort of method applied to my other favorite sport, pro hockey. If you love intelligent, objective and interesting writing, then I suggest you do yourself a favor and buy this book.”

Here is part of a review of my second book from The AVClub (I think), “Ultimately, the last word in applying logic to a game of art belongs to [him], who notes that ‘so much of what happens in baseball is just random deviation from an unobservable mean.’ To a rational person, that’s poetry.”

By the way, I believe that last quoted remark applies to life and not just to baseball. I believe that life is basically a Monte Carlo simulation.

I am a disaffected man for good reason, I believe. The fact that I cannot find an interesting and fulfilling work situation is an indication that life is not always fair or that America is broken (drowning in credentialism and age discrimination) or that something is amiss or all of the above and then some.

 

 

100

OK, this number is almost exclusively under my control, but this is the 100th post on this blog. I don’t have any profound thoughts (do I ever?) so what do I write? Well, 100 years ago today the US Postal Service began the first regular airmail service; the route was between New York City and Washington, DC.

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Bill James and I have been friends for more than 30 years. Bill is the pioneer of the modern age of baseball analysis and, as such, has indirectly played a key role in the use of big data and analytics in all business. I asked him for his response to the Supreme Court decision that, basically, legalized sports gambling in the US. Part of his response was: “What 99% of people have not figured out yet is that it’s a far-reaching, sweeping decision, and ultimately people will forget that it had anything to do with gambling because of the other implications of the ruling.  The Supreme Court used THIS issue to say directly and forcefully that the Federal Government cannot force states to pass legislation or not pass legislation–a huge win for the Conservative faction of the court.” I replied: “All I was going to write was this: ‘The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.'” That, of course, is the 10th Amendment to the US Constitution.

Many people seem to forget that we live in a federal republic, not a unitary one. No state, or group of states, should be able to use the federal government to impose its will on other states.

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OK, what would a Disaffected Musings post be without some car photos? I still think it’s too early in the evolution of this blog to post my Ultimate Garage (please start thinking about yours and feel free to post comments with your list), but here are the two cars that would probably head my list:

See the source image

See the source image

From expertautoappraisals.com a picture of a 1967 Chevrolet Corvette (top) and from racem.org a picture of a De Tomaso Longchamp (bottom). If my wonderful wife and I ever won a huge lottery jackpot (we do buy tickets from time to time), I think I could limit my car purchases to these two if need be. Of course, I would restomod the hell out of both cars. 🙂

By the way, I do not expect to win the lottery, which has been described as a tax on people who are bad at math. I am not bad at math, but if I don’t play the lottery my chances of winning are zero. If I do play my chances asymptotically approach zero.