Monday Musings 57

Can a brain return to its “native state” after a half-century? Before I discovered sports at the age of 8 or 9, I read about cars, science, history, countries. Some of my favorite books were just compilations of data, such as information on countries.

This morning, my “bathroom reading” was the 2008 edition of the CIA World Factbook, a compendium of facts and figures about nations, dependencies, etc. Sports books have virtually ceased to be “throne reading material.”

Most people I know, even some of those whom I have known for decades, seem to be in denial that I have reverted to my “native state.” As I have written here before, I came relatively late to the sports world. For the most part, my male neighbors and classmates were following sports by the time they were 5 or 6.

I can assure you that I am not secretly following sports, but pretending not to. I really have little to no interest in sports, anymore. If other people don’t understand or don’t approve, that’s their problem.


On this day in 1987, also a Monday, world stock markets experienced a pronounced decline. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell by a frightening 22.6%. (An equivalent percentage fall today would be almost 6,500 points on the Dow.) The S&P 500 declined by 20.4%. Some “pundits” also believed the decline was unexpected, although the Dow had fallen a total of 10% over the previous three trading days.

Because (or in spite) of action taken by the US Federal Reserve, the stock market rallied strongly on Tuesday the 20th and Thursday the 22nd. While it was almost two years (September, 1989) before the Dow reached its pre-crash levels, for calendar year 1987 it actually eked out a small 0.6% gain.

Because of “Black Monday” equity markets have instituted circuit breakers or trading curbs that temporarily shut down trading in the wake of large price declines. Based upon the idea that a cooling off period would help dissipate panic selling, these mandatory market shutdowns are triggered whenever a large pre-defined market decline occurs during the trading day.

As of the close of trading on Friday the 16th of this year, the Dow was 16.4 times higher than its close on October 19th, 1987. The S&P 500 was 15.5 times higher. A hypothetical investment worth $10,000 in an S&P “index” instrument at the close of trading on “Black Monday” would have a value of about $155,000 today, not counting dividends. If one had removed 40% from that S&P investment before trading resumed the next day, the remaining $6,000 would be worth about $93,000 today.

Unlike the stock market crash of 1929 that precipitated the Great Depression, the US economy did not enter a recession until 1990-91. US GDP grew by 3.5% in 1987 and 4.2% in 1988.


I assume (everyone knows what happens when one assumes) that by late October, 1987 the 1988 model year cars were available. Here is one of interest to me:


See the source image


From Car Gurus (crossing my fingers the picture link doesn’t break) a picture of a 1988 Corvette. Chevrolet built 22,789 Corvettes for model year 1988, of which 15,382 were coupes like the car shown here.

The base MSRP for the 1988 Corvette coupe was $29,489; the convertible base MSRP was $34,820. Except for the 125 Callaway-installed twin-turbo cars, costing an additional $25,895, all ’88 Vettes had either 240 or 245 HP. (The Callaway had 382 HP and 562 LB-FT of torque.)

1988 represented the 35th anniversary of the introduction of the Corvette and Chevrolet marked the occasion with an anniversary edition car that was only available as a coupe. The differences in the anniversary edition were solely in appearance; 2,050 of these cars were sold.

In a world where my net worth was 10 or 20 times more than it is today, I might have a C2 restomod AND a C4 restomod. Too bad I haven’t been invested in the stock market since the mid-1980s.








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12 thoughts on “Monday Musings 57

      1. Yes. Usually head down during the week prior to Thanksgiving week. Just looking at the calendar last night, I’m thinking we’ll get there around the 17th or so.


  1. I entered the world of stock ownership in 1982 with the Fortune 100 company I worked for in the form of an ESOP they offered. The company would match up to 5% of your salary invested, but you could put more in if you desired. After I went from working inside the facility to traveling extensively for them, I did increase my contribution due to the fact that 1 pay period covered all my monthly bills and then some. In 1989 the facility I worked out of was slated for closure, mainly due to internal politics. I declined the offer to move to Massachusetts and left their employ. As a result of the facility closing, I was eligible for a DRIP with no fees. Over the next 20 years I went thru 3 two for one splits, and 1 three for one split. I always figured it to be a nice nest egg for my retirement. About 10 years ago I became more interested in the stock market and opened an account with one of the brokers you see often on TV. In conversations with an account manager 5-6 years ago we came to the conclusion that this stock was diminishing in value and a change needed to be made. 80% of the stock was sold (I took a serious tax hit) and reinvested. It appears it was a good move, as the company, one of the oldest remaining of the original Dow Jones, was removed a couple years ago and is currently paying only pennies of dividend per share and the shares are worth less than 1/2 what they were during the good years.

    Without the advice of those who know more about the stock market than I, would likely have held the stock and took a bath on my “nest egg”.


    1. Thanks for sharing your experience, DDM.

      It is not a badge of honor to plow ahead with investing if you are really not that knowledgeable, not meaning to imply that you are not knowledgeable. However, you acknowledged your taking “the advice of those who know more about the stock market.”


      1. I readily admit to NOT knowing much about how the stock market operates, and it’s not something I figure to attempt to learn. As I mentioned previously, I do what I know how to do, and pay others to do what they (hopefully) know how to do.


  2. I think interests can wax and wane.

    I was a sports fan from a little kid. I mentioned my maternal grandpa and not only was he into horses and boxing, he was the type to drive down to the shore of Lake Ontario to pick up baseball from Detroit or Cleveland on the radio. In my time I used to watch (parts of) 10-15 baseball games in a week. Or 7 NHL games and 4 NFL games. I’ve collected trading cards and about 70 hockey books, autographs, even a seat out of Maple Leaf Gardens.
    But now, I’m a casual fan by comparison. I still watch but, I really only watch the Jays in baseball, maybe a game or 2. I may miss a Leaf game here or there. I recently listed about 50 of those hockey books for sale.
    I guess it’s no secret cars have also always been a passion. But there was a while where I wasn’t subscribed to any magazines, I didn’t go to many shows. Of course that’s changed and the passion is back.
    I think that’s normal. Variety is the spice of life, and sometimes what once took our fancy no longer can. Perhaps you’re finding not so much a native state as, with recent changes in life, you’re seeking something from long past as a way to feel grounded.


    1. “Perhaps you’re finding not so much a native state as, with recent changes in life, you’re seeking something from long past as a way to feel grounded.”

      Very insightful comment, sir. I’m not sure we’ve expressed a similar sentiment, but in a different way.


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