Sacred Cows

“Sacred cows make the best hamburger.”

– Mark Twain

Sacred Cow: Plural Noun; an idea, custom, or institution held, especially unreasonably, to be above criticism (thought to be a reference to the Hindus’ respect for the cow as a sacred animal).

In my opinion, nothing is above criticism. I’ll let those of you so inclined to figure out the ramifications of that view.


We’re approaching six weeks on the market for our house and about 15 showings, but still no offers. The realtor for one family that supposedly has/had interest told our realtor her client is in no hurry and would be leaving the country for a trip. Is that a negotiating tactic? Who knows…

My wonderful wife and I have never had good luck in selling a home. I guess that will continue.


Related to our much hoped-for move, some of you may think we’re crazy for wanting to move to an area that, officially, has had almost 40 days this year with a high temperature of 110° or higher. Does the concept of dry, adiabatic lapse rate mean anything to you?

One of the criterion for our new house is that its altitude above sea level must be at least 700-800 feet higher than the mean for the major city at the hub of the metro area. In that area, such houses are not difficult to find. Believe it or not, if one is at 1,200-1,500 feet higher (2,300-2,600 feet above sea level), then this can happen:



This is somewhere in Scottsdale, Arizona in February, 2019, one month after we attended the Barrett-Jackson auction held in that city. Yes, that is snow, snow on a cactus.

The farther north/northeast one goes in the metro area, the higher the elevation. From its southern border to its northern border, Scottsdale is 31 miles long. That’s not to say we will definitely end up there because housing inventory that meets all of our criteria–not just elevation–is thin, but that’s where we want to be.

At 1,000 feet above the mean elevation for Phoenix (OK, who am I kidding, everyone knows that’s the major city I’m talking about), based on the average lapse rate–reduction in temperature with respect to elevation–the average temperature is 5°-6° cooler. That might not sound like a lot, but take 5° and multiply it times the hottest 120 days of the year and the heat load on your house is significantly lower. You might even see new snow every five or six years.


Some people think I am dogmatic and inflexible; I beg to differ. When we first moved to the mid-Atlantic I really wanted to live in a certain area, but after experiencing some of the downfalls (the all too often smell of compost used to grow mushrooms, the price of housing), we moved somewhere else.

I have pronounced that our next car purchase will have to have two doors. Well, after mulling over the possible uses of such a vehicle, maybe–just maybe–it might have to have four doors. While I am still steadfastly opposed to an SUV, something like this might not be too bad:


See the source image


From Maserati’s website a picture of a Quattroporte, a word that means “four doors” in Italian. While we would absolutely not spend $100,000+ for a third car, that’s what new Quattroportes cost, used ones can be purchased in the $23,000-$25,000 range.

If we have to buy a car with four doors, then having one of these might “ease the pain.” I still would much prefer buying a two-door car with a backseat and a decent-sized trunk, but the realities of life may dictate otherwise.







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6 thoughts on “Sacred Cows

  1. That Scottsdale snowfall ruined an outdoor wedding. The wedding party had been planning for months, came south from their snowbound home to what was supposed to be a warm and pleasant outdoor wedding. They ended up getting married inside.


  2. They have a dealer for the Trident badged cars in Scottsdale.

    If you want to know the weather in the particular zip codes you are contemplating look up the Weather Underground. They have links to individual personal weather stations so you can see the weather conditions at that location. Also the Weather Channel has a similar feature. So you understand the Mean Sea Level in Phoenix near the Salt River and Sky Harbor Airport is 1135 ft. or 346 meters. Scottsdale Airport is 1510 ft. or 460 meters. Tucson by contrast is 2643 ft or 806 meters.


    1. Thanks, Philip.

      I was using 1,100 feet as the mean elevation of Phoenix. A great website provides the elevation for any address in the lower 48. Some houses that interest us have elevations as high as 2,800 feet.


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