Friday Fray

Fray: Verb, show the effects of strain (or) Noun, a battle or fight

The latter can certainly lead to the former…


Since at least the 1970 Census the suburbs have been the most populous part of the US. The common wisdom (a term that is often, but not always, an oxymoron) is that younger people, however, want to live in central cities. Well, maybe not anymore…this CNBC article, whose title begins, “The flight to the suburbs is real and growing…” states that (a site with which my wonderful wife and I are becoming quite familiar) experienced a 13% increase in searches in suburban zip codes in May, which is twice the increase seen in central city zips. From Javier Vivas, Director of Economic Research for as quoted in the CNBC piece, “This migration to the suburbs is not a new trend, but it has become more pronounced this spring. After several months of shelter-in-place orders, the desire to have more space and the potential for more people to work remotely are likely two of the factors contributing to the popularity of the burbs.”

The article itself (by Diana Olick) begins: “If millennials once piled into the cities, fueling downtown renewal and growth, apparently they are now piling out. The stay-at-home orders brought on by coronavirus have more potential homebuyers looking for properties in the suburbs. Millennials are now the largest cohort of buyers.”

In this post I criticized the belief held by many that we would be better off if more people lived in densely populated urban areas. Well, people are apparently voting with their feet, as they often do, and rejecting that belief.


On this day in 1966 Ford extracted a large measure of revenge against Ferrari when its GT40 MkII entries finished 1-2-3 in the 24 Hours of Le Mans. (Ferrari cars had won the race the previous five years.) With the three Ford cars way out in front during the final pit stop, Ford decided to stage a publicity stunt by having all three cars cross the finish line almost simultaneously. The leading #1 car driven by Ken Miles and Denny Hulme crossed the line next to the #2 car driven by Bruce McLaren and Chris Amon with the third car just behind. Even though both cars completed the same number of laps, since the #2 car had started farther back they were crowned the winner. Needless to say, Miles was not happy. He had already won the 24 Hours of Daytona and the 12 Hours of Sebring that year and winning Le Mans would have given him the “Triple Crown” of endurance racing. Supposedly, French race officials initially agreed to recognizing a dead-heat finish, but “changed their mind” near the end of the race.

From a picture of the 1966 Le Mans finish:


See the source image


In 2016, three years before the movie Ford v Ferrari was released, a “true” documentary about the Ford-Ferrari rivalry at Le Mans was released called The 24 Hour War. Sam Smith of Road and Track wrote this in a review of the latter film:


“In 1966, Ford won the 24 Hours of Le Mans for the first time. The following year, they won again. The year after that, they won a third time. And in 1969, a fourth.”

“That achievement was arguably the greatest in the company’s history. It came after years of struggle, more than a few public failures, and enough burnt cash to refloat the Titanic. Ford’s Sixties Le Mans program was famously the result of a dispute between Henry Ford II and Enzo Ferrari–Ford had tried to purchase Ferrari (the company), only to have Enzo shut down the sale at the last minute. Ford the man vowed to get even, aiming his considerable resources at Ferrari’s Le Mans record. The resulting warpath employed everyone from Bruce McLaren to Carroll Shelby and Indy 500 legend A.J. Foyt, putting the stops to Ferrari’s unbroken, five-year winning streak at La Sarthe.”

“Collectively, Ford’s wins were one of countless bright moments in a golden decade for both motorsport and culture in general. That first win made it onto the front pages of European newspapers, and it actually helped sell new cars. Ferrari never won Le Mans again, but Ford wouldn’t go back until 2016. When Dearborn won last year [2016], the world went less than nuts. But that makes sense: Both Le Mans and international motorsport are different now, tamer and less raw. So is the automobile itself. Racing is no longer a brutally dangerous pastime or the kind of thing that puts whole countries on the edge of their seats. And most of all, in 2016, there is no Henry the Deuce, no world-altering grudge match, no Enzo, no Carroll. The Ford-Ferrari war pivoted on how these men operated and thought, and they made that story what it was.”


Smith’s recap is excellent, IMO.







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7 thoughts on “Friday Fray

  1. I suspect that the recent protests, nee riots, have accelerated some folks desire to get out of cities. The chance that everything you own being turned to ash can be a powerful motivation to leave an area.

    Having been raised in rural areas, city living just wasn’t for me. I tried it once but could only stand it for about 6 months. I’m now, and have been for about 20 years, back out in a rural area. I like what it offers; I can’t see my neighbor’s house, I have apple, pear and peach trees, hickory, pecan and walnut trees, blackberry and raspberry bushes and scuppernong grapes. I have wildlife frequent my property to “steal” the fruits and nuts on my property. A couple months ago, I sat on my porch late one night and watched a small herd, 1 large buck, 4 does and a yearling, come out and snack on the blossoms of the low hanging branches of my pear tree. A couple years ago, a hawk family set up housekeeping on the edge of my property(squirrel population plummeted that year). I have 3 additional buildings on my property, 2 for my personal belongings and one for work equipment. If I lived in a city, and to a large extent a suburb, I wouldn’t have most, if not all, of the above. Yes there are what some folks would consider drawbacks; it’s 12 miles to a grocery store, we don’t have trash collection services and when it storms we are last to get power restored. These are trade-offs I’m willing to make, but am glad that many aren’t willing to do the same.


    1. Yes, DSFDF. Again, that’s why the extremely misguided call (IMO) to move into urban areas by those zealots who believe in “collectivism” is just not the way to go.

      I have to admit that I would be unhappy if I lived far away from things to do. For ten months my wonderful wife and I rented a large house on a large lot not quite rural in setting but not quite suburban, either. The longer we were there, the more unhappy we became and that’s why we didn’t buy it. It grew tiresome for us to have to drive more than a few miles to go grocery shopping or to dine out. Of course, things are topsy-turvy at present. “Our” state has only recently allowed restaurants to offer indoor seating at limited capacity and, frankly, I’m not ready to dine in a restaurant right now.


  2. We live about as far East in Tucson outside the city in the county as you can go before you hit the US Forest Service property. The zoning is for lots of 1 acre or more. We live at the end of a cul-de-sac so are neighbors are close. I could hit their house with a rock. That said we are pretty rural. Lots of wildlife and the second best view of the Santa Catalina mountains South face in the subdivision. The Catalina highway is about two miles North so it is a hop step and a jump up to the 9000+ ft. summit. Grocery stores are about 4 miles away, restaurants in Tucson don’t give you much choice anyway. I prefer living in the county mainly because I don’t have to pay the extra 2.6 percent sales tax, Everything we buy online and have delivered to the house is only taxed at 6.1 percent state and county tax rates. Contract garbage service and Rural Metro fire service. Nope, I’m not living in the city either,

    In December went to see the Ford vs. Ferrari movie in the theater. Well done movie. Now to get it on Blu-ray to watch it again. Matt Damon was a little short to play Carroll Shelby but, Christian Bale had Ken Miles down pat. Edsel Ford II was not happy the way his father was portrayed, but you can’t please everybody. I enjoyed the book, “Go Like Hell: Ford, Ferrari and Their Battle for Speed and Glory at Le Mans” by A. J. Baime from which the movie was taken. I always enjoy the book more than the movie because of the details. Now to find the documentary “The 24 Hour War” on DVD, if it exists. I’m an engineer, I can’t help myself.


    1. Thanks, sir. The belief that “everyone” should live in a densely populated urban area is nothing but another manifestation of blind adherence to an ideology.


  3. I lived in Long Beach California during my youth but didn’t know anything different than city life until I discovered home in North Dakota. Our home town is growing and traffic around here (pre-pandemic anyway) is getting to be a bit much. Still and all, in 10 minutes, we can be in the country and enjoying the fresh air. During the winter, we live in a growing suburb of Phoenix, but less than 5 minutes’ drive from an 8700-acre mountain park where we can enjoy the beauty of the desert. We will put up with the encroaching urbanity as long as we can.


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