The End Of Frugal Friday?

Originally, I was going to call today’s post “Frugal Friday, 25 Miles From Home Edition” and briefly talk about Charles Edwin Hatcher, better known as Edwin Starr. (He was a singer and the first of his two top ten hits was “25 Miles From Home.”) I was going to show the least expensive cars with engines of at least 8 cylinders no more than 25 miles from my home zip code.

All of those cars were either Camaros, Challengers or Mustangs. As my vehicle universe is far smaller than that of the rest of the world I am beginning to wonder if Frugal Friday has outlived its usefulness. I will always be grateful to David Banner (not his real name) for suggesting the feature, but after almost two years (the first Frugal Friday post was in February of 2019), I am reminded that all things must come to an end.

Does anyone have any thoughts on the topic? I would be happy to read them.

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One of the reasons Chevrolet/GM made the “radical” change to a mid-engine design for the Corvette was to bring new buyers to the Corvette market. Granted, the rollout was compromised by the damn virus and UAW strike, but so far that seems to be the case. According to Vice President of Chevrolet Steve Hill, two out of three C8 buyers are new to Chevy. [emphasis mine]

Interestingly, prospective C8 customers have been cross-shopping the new Stingray with its long-time rival, the Porsche 911, more than any other car. Since the 911’s price is in six figures and one can buy a nice C8 for $70,000-$75,000, it should be no surprise that many people are choosing the Vette. Of course, the Corvette has long been an unbelievable bargain in the world of performance cars. It’s just that a lot of buyers in that market would not consider buying a front-engine car. You can call them “snobs” if you like, but people’s perceptions and preferences are what they are.

From Car Buzz, a picture of a 2021 Corvette:

 

See the source image

 

We see a lot of C8 Corvettes here in the desert, but we see A LOT more Porsches. Obviously, the former is a brand-new model while the latter is not.

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The tile and carpet work are all done. My wonderful wife and I are very happy with the outcome. Although no one reading this has any frame of reference (well, except maybe K Squared), we are just overwhelmed at the transformation of the house from dark space to light space. Remember this photo?

 

 

We chose a local company over a “big box” retailer. The latter wanted significantly more money AND wanted additional bullsh*t fees AND wanted us to do some of the work! So far anyway, we are happy with our choice. Yes, the newly carpeted rooms have that new carpet smell. This, too, shall pass. Of course, little carpet fibers are still everywhere as you can see in the picture. We will vacuum this weekend.

Speaking of the weekend, I hope all of you enjoy yours.

 

#FrugalFriday

#2021ChevroletCorvette

#NewTileAndCarpet

#somanycarsjustonelife

#disaffectedmusings

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Throwback Thursday, TV Commercials

First…I must admit I am disappointed at the lack of votes for yesterday’s A Or B feature. Enough said…

 

These days, it is easy to avoid TV commercials and based on those I do see, almost all of them should be avoided. I have written of my extreme disdain for the Limu Emu and Doug commercials. I can happily report that we no longer do business with that company, in large part due to those commercials.

Some commercials, though, are still clever, but certain commercials from the past seem to continue to resonate. How many of you know who Jack Somack was? If I show you a picture you might recognize him:

 

Alka-Seltzer’s β€œSpicy Meatball” Grows Better With Age

 

The picture is from Ace Metrix, which is, apparently, a company that tests the effectiveness of commercials. This is a still from the famous Alka-Seltzer “Spicy Meatball” commercial. Reluctantly, I will publish a link to the commercial from a Minion of The Evil Empire. Jack Somack is the man in the commercial suffering through ruined take after ruined take. By the way, political correctness is not that new. According to Somack’s biography on imdb.com, despite its success the commercial was pulled from the air after protests from Italian-American anti-defamation groups that the commercial promoted unflattering stereotypes of Italians. By the way, according to imdb, Somack did not begin acting professionally until he was in his 50s. Maybe it’s not too late for me… πŸ™‚

What commercials from the past do you remember fondly?

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Speaking of TV, 50 years ago was the middle of the 1970-71 TV season in the US. What was the #1 rated show for that season? Marcus Welby, M.D. That was significant as it was the first show aired on ABC to finish #1 in the Nielsen ratings for an entire season.

Robert Young came out of a seven-year retirement to play the lead role. I could swear I have read that thousands of people wrote letters to “Marcus Welby, M.D.” every year asking for medical advice, but I cannot find corroboration. From Nostalgia Central, a picture of the cast of the show:

 

See the source image

 

On the left, of course, is Robert Young. Elena Verdugo, who played nurse Consuelo Lopez, is in the center and James Brolin, Dr. Steven Kiley, is on the right. The show ran for seven seasons. As regular readers know, I am a fan of many TV medical dramas. My favorite show ever is House, M.D. My favorite show currently airing on US television is Transplant, a Canadian show airing on NBC about a Syrian refugee doctor working in a Toronto hospital.

 

#ThrowbackThursday

#TVCommercials

#MarcusWelbyM.D.

#disaffectedmusings

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A Real A Or B

OK, two pics first…

 

 

That white smudge is Venus. Not sure why the pic is so blurry; it looks fine on my phone. Must be a resolution thing. Any help, photobyjohnbo? Ironically, I named the photo “A Better Picture Of Venus” before I saw it here. No rest for the “wicked,” I guess.

 

 

That is my wonderful wife holding up my newest acquisition. While Guck Foogle T-Shirts are plentiful, I had to have this made. I will wear it as often as possible and when it wears out, I will buy one or two more. Fack Fucebook!

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OK, today’s A Or B is not a theoretical exercise. Tangent…looking out my office window can be quite the distraction. I can’t get a good picture because of the window screen and schmutz (“dirt” in Yiddish), but my eyes and brain are having quite the feast at present with the bands of orange, the cactus and the distant mountain peaks. Just since I began writing this tangent, the sky has developed a large orange-pink feature. (Sorry, I am partially color-blind and terrible at assigning the “right” name to many colors.) It’s still 10-15 minutes before “sunrise.”

Anyway, back to the cars…as every regular reader of this blog knows, my wonderful wife and I are on the verge of buying a car, I think. While we will make the final decision, of course, I would like to get your choice and read your thoughts about these two cars:

 

See the source image

 

The photo comparison is not apples to apples because the picture of the Lexus RC is of “studio quality” and the picture of the Cadillac ATS coupe is not.

OK, what do you want to know? For this exercise price does matter and assume the Lexus is $5,000 more expensive, let’s say $30,000 compared to $25,000 for the Cadillac. Assume the turbocharged 4-cylinder engine for each car.

The rear seats in the Cadillac are larger, but the trunk space is virtually the same. I have no “data” on how the RC drives because we haven’t driven one, yet.

If you want more info before casting your vote, please feel free to let me know. OK, Lexus RC or Cadillac ATS coupe? Thanks.

 

#AOrB

#FackFucebook

#LexusRC

#CadillacATSCoupe

#somanycarsjustonelife

#disaffectedmusings

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Tuesday Realization

Originally, I had intended to begin today’s post by offering my opinion/lament that real political choice in America has all but disappeared, etc. Many would argue with that assertion saying the difference between drumpism and socialism could not be more stark. I would say that if those are our only two choices, then we have no choices. I guess I did write what I had intended, after all.

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What do you think of this car?

 

See the source image

 

From the appropriately named Lexus Enthusiast comes this picture of a Lexus RC. This car is now on the radar screen as a candidate to be the Grocery Car/Taxi/Corvette Companion.

I have been trying to avoid “Been There, Done That” for this car and my wonderful wife has owned two Lexus cars. While the second one, an IS 250 C, was a disappointment, she really liked her first one, an SC 430.

Her first Lexus never gave her a day of trouble in the six years she owned it. It had plenty of power and a great ride. I think we could probably do a lot worse than an RC. By the way, I think the exterior styling of these cars is quite sharp.

The problem is that the least expensive of these are really just beyond what we want to spend for a car that is not likely to be driven more than 1,500-2,000 miles a year. Even non-F versions are usually in the low 30s, although examples without too many miles are occasionally offered in the mid to high 20s.

Those cars whose asking price begins with a “2” are almost always powered by a 2-liter/122 cubic-inch turbocharged inline 4-cylinder engine that produces 242 HP/258 LB-FT. With rear legroom of less than 30 inches I don’t know how usable the rear seats are. The trunk has a very similar volume to that of the Cadillac ATS, which upon inspection seemed large enough to be practical. I guess we’ll have to test drive an RC. Oh darn…

Not having enough real choices is not optimal and neither is having too many.

 

#TuesdayRealization

#NoRealChoice

#LexusRC

#somanycarsjustonelife

#disaffectedmusings

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Three Years!

On this day in 2018 I wrote the first post for this blog, Disaffected Musings. I didn’t really want to include the link to the first post, as I think it is not worth reading, but decided that for the vast majority of readers who have not been following this blog since the beginning, it might be amusing to see.

I was literally in shock after the Evil Empire (aka Google) deleted my first blog and its 600+ posts because I had the “nerve” to appeal their decision to remove ads from the blog. America, Google and Facebook are evil. I do not understand how that has seemingly glanced off the collective skull of this country.

It is likely that later this month I will write the 1,000th post for this blog. I think WordPress will send me the code to display a badge acknowledging that “milestone.”

What does the future hold? This morning, during a text exchange with our good friend Eileen–whose birthday is today–I recounted a Vin Scully story. Do I have to tell you who Vin Scully is? How sad…he is an acclaimed sportscaster who called games for the Brooklyn/Los Angeles Dodgers from 1950 to 2016. That is the longest tenure of any broadcaster with a single team in professional sports history.

During a broadcast, he was talking about an injury to a Dodgers player quoting the team line that the player was day-to-day. Scully then said, β€œAren’t we all?” We are all here one day, gone the next; we just don’t know when that transition will happen. I don’t mean to be morbid; what I am actually trying to do is to exhort all of you (and me) to take advantage of every day. Life is not about doing as little as possible. The path of least resistance is often a path to nowhere. Carpe Diem!

Thanks for reading.

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I have written about taking pictures of our Corvettes in our new venue. I had the opportunity to do so yesterday, although the picture displayed is merely the best of a bad lot. We had to wash our cars as they were covered in dust, probably exacerbated by the tile work which was completed on Saturday. Anyway…

 

 

The photo was taken post-wash. Actually, the wash simply consisted of hosing down the cars and then wiping them dry with a microfiber towel. The cars were not really dirty, per se, they were just dusty. I will get better photos and share them with you.

I have already begun a dialogue with a well-known “speed shop” in the area about more engine mods to my car. Here is one excerpt (Edgar!) from one of the emails I received from the owner of the shop, “…these cars are extremely reliable even with more power.”

The question is always “How much for how much?” I could get my Z06 close to 1,000 HP at the crank for about a third of what I paid for the car, but that’s more than I want to spend. If I am not willing to spend five figures, I can still get the car to well above 800 HP at the crank and about 700 at the rear wheels. Barring something awful and unforeseen, that’s probably the path I will take. The work will even include a dyno run, which makes me anxious and excited at the same time.

Carpe Diem! Life is what happens after you leave your comfort zone.

 

#ThreeYears!

#CarpeDiem!

#TwoCorvettes

#somanycarsjustonelife

#disaffectedmusings

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Solar System Sunday

First…the number of views for It Was The Best Of Days, It Was The Worst Of Days was a little more than half the number for An Extraordinarily Significant Day. In all honesty, that proportion is a little disappointing to me, but I thank those of you who viewed the earlier post.

When I include a hyperlink in this blog, it looks like this and I will never include a link to a site whose URL begins only with http and not https. Please feel free to click on hyperlinks; that’s part of the Internet. Thanks.

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OK, to the astronomy buffs in the audience. I live in metro Phoenix (really?, I had no idea!). At this time of year in the southeast sky before sunrise, a bright object appears. Is it Venus? Here is an attempt to show you and no, I am not referring to the moon, wiseguys.

 

 

If you look very closely just above and just to the right of the tall cactus, you can see the object. I woke up too late this morning to get a better picture. Anyway, anyone who can tell me what that is will receive major kudos.

More from the solar system:

 

 

That is, supposedly, the last photograph Cassini captured before it was vaporized by Saturn’s atmosphere. The Cassini mission (more accurately, the Cassini-Huygens mission, Huygens was the name given to the probe that landed on Saturn’s giant moon, Titan) was the result of a collaboration between NASA, the European Space Agency and the Italian Space Agency.

Here are some of the discoveries made during the mission:

 

  • Showed Titan to be an Earth-like body with seasonal cycles, wind and rain
  • Discovered a watery ocean beneath the surface of Enceladus, one of Saturn’s moons
  • Observed previously unknown structures, which were named “propellors,” in Saturn’s rings
  • Showed giant hurricanes at Saturn’s poles, including an hexagonal jet stream

 

 

This article is about NASA’s Mars rover Curiosity, which has spent more than 3,000 Martian days on the surface of the Red Planet. A country/society that spends most of its time gazing at its collective navel instead of exploring is doomed to mediocrity. Here are some photos from NASA/JPL-Cal Tech/MSSS via the BBC:

 

Curiosity's Dusty Selfie at Duluth

Earth and Venus

Drillholes

 

Missions like the incredible Voyagers I and II, Curiosity, and Cassini-Huygens have increased our knowledge of our cosmic neighborhood by orders of magnitude and given us strong hints that extra-terrestrial life might be our neighbors. The day when political correctness squashes efforts at exploration is the day when we will become less human.

 

#SolarSystemSunday

#Cassini

#Curiosity

#KeepExploring!

#disaffectedmusings

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Compulsion Wins

I wasn’t going to post today. I had one of the worst reflux “episodes” of my life last night. What’s worse is that I have no idea what triggered it. Usually, when I experience what the doctors call “breakthrough reflux” I know why.

Anyway, since I don’t have to talk to write this post (I can barely speak this morning, stomach acid is not good for your vocal cords) and I have OCD, here is an effort at a post.

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Brevity is the soul of wit. People who use superfluous words don’t seem to know that. For example, if a house is listed for $x, why do so many realtors say, “That’s a good price point?” How about, “That’s a good price.” The word “point” is unnecessary AND it does not make you seem more intelligent, at least not to me.

Of course, some might say that anything I write is superfluous. People are entitled to their opinions, even if they’re wrong.

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After a long moratorium on book purchases, this arrived yesterday.

 

 

As I have written before, I am not as big a fan of the C1 Corvette as most Vette aficionados, but if I were to pick a year it would be a 1961 model like this one. Of course, these are not inexpensive, anymore. Of the 21 1961 Corvettes currently listed for sale on Hemmings, the least expensive has an asking price of $48,500. The most expensive is $225,000 for, supposedly, a car whose VIN ends 00002.

I like ’61 Vettes, but I don’t love them and many cars are ahead of them in line.

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Remember this photo?

 

 

In the post I mentioned that we would be replacing that “awful tile” in January. Here is a picture:

 

 

What I didn’t write is that both times my wonderful wife and I saw this house before purchasing it, we told the listing agent, “Oh, the tile looks better in person than it does in the photos.” That was a crock; we were just being nice.

If the company we hired could have been here sooner, then we would have replaced the tile in early December, not early January. No behavioral paradigm is always appropriate. I think that sometimes, especially when the consequences are benign, it’s OK not to always tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. Sometimes, manners matter more. Of course, making that call isn’t always easy.

 

OK, my head is still pounding so I’m going to call it quits for the day. Stay safe and be well.

 

#CompulsionWins

#BrevityIsTheSoulOfWit

#1961ChevroletCorvette

#It’sOKToBeNice

#somanycarsjustonelife

#disaffectedmusings

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I’ll Make The Case Again

I was going to title this post “Great Minds Think Alike.” Yesterday, I was originally going to write about how, despite the damn virus, Bentley sales actually showed a slight increase in 2020 compared to 2019. I was also going to tie this news to my case about the potential success for an American-made ultra-luxury car.

Nobody knew about my idea for yesterday’s post until David Banner (not his real name) texted me with the Bentley news AND that it was more evidence that an American-made luxury car could succeed. I replied that I came very close to writing a post about that topic. Great Minds Think Alike…

Not only did Bentley sales increase in 2020 compared to the year before, but their sales hit an all-time high for a company that is 100+ years old. Yes, they are owned by the Shitlermobile company, Volkswagen. The point is that ultra-luxury makes exist in a different world and that it is foolish that no American car company (are you listening, Cadillac?) makes a car in that market segment. What is Bentley’s biggest market? The United States…

 

Cadillac has a long history of producing breathtaking concept cars, especially over the last 20 years

 

This is a picture of Cadillac’s Escala concept car. For a time, the company committed to putting this car into production, but I guess those plans have been shelved. As I have written here before, Cadillac has developed a number of amazing concept cars. My favorite is actually this one, the Elmiraj:

 

Cadillac has a long history of producing breathtaking concept cars, especially over the last 20 years

 

Sorry, but I remain convinced that a well-executed American-made ultra-luxury car would have a great chance of success. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

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From this piece in Corvette Blogger comes the news that Chevrolet/General Motors delivered almost 9,000 new Corvettes in the fourth quarter of 2020. The company now reports quarterly and not monthly numbers. Here is a chart from the same article:

 

Archived Corvette Delivery Statistics
Year Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sept Oct Nov Dec Total
2020 β€” 3,820 β€” β€” 2,459 β€” β€” 6,355 β€” β€” 8,992 β€” 21,626
2019 β€” 3,943 β€” β€” 5,788 β€” β€” 4,766 β€” β€” 3,491 β€” 17,988
2018 1,005 1,351 2,101 β€” 5,758 β€” β€” 4,639 β€” β€” 3,910 β€” 18,791
2017 1,263 2,081 2,460 2,756 2,535 2,612 1,930 1,748 1,506 1,345 2,565 2,278 25,079
2016 1,501 2,116 2,753 3,142 2,673 2,483 2,159 3,063 2,829 2,626 1,941 2,709 29,995
2015 2,127 2,605 3,785 3,469 3,514 2,807 2,794 2,725 2,572 2,526 1,952 2,453 33,329
2014 2,261 2,438 3,480 3,514 3,328 2,723 3,060 2,679 2,467 2,959 2,378 3,552 34,839
2013 908 980 1,053 974 905 853 671 655 831 3,929 2,527 3,005 17,291
2012 629 927 1,376 1,396 1,219 1,475 987 1,210 1,351 1,167 1,104 1,291Β  14,132
2011 721 955 1,163 1,454 1,304 1,299 1,291 936 1,147 946 910 1,038 13,164
2010 854 624 955 1,089 1,428 1,405 1,199 1,135 1,109 1,011 836 979 12,624
2009 842 1,027 1,183 1,407 1,643 1,396 966 746 1,585 1,154 952 1,033 13,934
2008 2,015 2,071 2,692 3,190 2,904 2,082 1,870 4,242 2,318 1,170 1,093 1,324 26,971
2007 2,234 2,784 3,158 3,227 3,300 2,377 2,377 2,877 2,837 2,484 2,438 2,914 33,685
2006 2,579 3,058 3,655 3,516 3,317 2,938 2,794 2,990 3,056 2,761 2,773 3,081 36,518

 

By my quick calculation, it looks like the fourth quarter of 2020 was the best for Corvette deliveries since the second quarter of 2015. From Trending Motors a picture of what I hope is a 2021 Corvette:

 

See the source image

 

It seems as though the C8 is a success. Let’s see how sales progress through what is, hopefully, an uninterrupted model year in 2021.

 

#I’llMakeTheCaseAgain

#GreatMindsThinkAlike

#AmericanSuper-LuxuryCar

#CadillacEscala

#CadillacElmiraj

#C8Corvette

#somanycarsjustonelife

#disaffectedmusings

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What Can I Say?

“We have a word for everything except for what we really think and feel.”

– Saul Bellow

 

My words are inconsequential, but I just had to comment on today’s events in Washington, DC. Tonald Drump is a disgrace to this country and to its highest office. He acts like a petulant child who wants to break the toys that have been taken away.

As regular readers know, I am no fan of the policy and ideology of the Democratic Party. I think the Antifa protests are very dangerous and are just as disrespectful of this country’s processes and institutions as the protests/riots of today. HOWEVER, Antifa is not incited by the President Of The United States.

I am angry, dismayed, heartbroken and, right now, thinking that the dissolution of which I keep writing may indeed occur in my lifetime. Politics in this country have become nothing except about the demonization of those with whom you disagree. That is a manifestation of the “Me Me” culture, stoked by both sides in an effort to gain power.

Today’s events show the danger of blindly following any ideology, of being a part of any cult of personality. I sincerely fear that events like today’s will become more frequent.

 

#WhatCanISay?

#IWeepForTheFuture

#disaffectedmusings