The One And Only

Since readership markedly declines on the weekend I decided to post this today.

Tomorrow is the 149th running of the Kentucky Derby. More importantly, the race marks the 50th anniversary (!) of the beginning of Secretariat’s Triple Crown run. The photo below might literally be my favorite that does not include my wonderful wife.



I apologize for the glare. This is the famous photograph taken near the finish of the 1973 Belmont Stakes showing jockey Ron Turcotte looking over his left shoulder and the other four horses in the race FAR behind Secretariat. Yes, tomorrow is the Kentucky Derby and not the Belmont.

This Sports Illustrated piece by Pat Forde is titled, “Fifty Years Later, Secretariat’s Triple Crown Run Still Seems Unbeatable.” Here is Neil Leifer’s photo that I believe will appear (or has appeared) on the most recent edition of the magazine:



Much of Forde’s piece is about the fact that while performance in human athletic events has improved over time, that is not the same in thoroughbred racing. Fifty years later, Secretariat still holds the record for the fastest time IN ALL THREE TRIPLE CROWN RACES! Veteran racing journalist Dick Jerardi said, “One horse holding all three records is insane. That can’t happen, but it did. In those five weeks, he ran faster than any horse ever has.”

Secretariat ran the first sub-2 minute Kentucky Derby in history. Only one other horse in the 50 years since has done the same. More incredible is that he ran each quarter-mile faster than the one before. In other words, his fastest quarter-mile was the last one. Again from Dick Jerardi, “That does not happen—ever. All horses are decelerating at the end of a 1 1/4-mile race. He was accelerating.”

In the Belmont Stakes, no other horse has come within two seconds of Secretariat’s time. In horse racing, records are almost always broken by fractions of a second. I think that unless Belmont Park installs a fast synthetic track, Secretariat’s record might stand as long as the race is held. I have written before about the horse’s insane Beyer Number for that race. The Beyer Number was invented by Andrew Beyer, a now-famous racing journalist. A Beyer of 90 is very good, a 100 is excellent. Secretariat’s number for the 1973 Belmont was 139, easily the highest Beyer has ever calculated.

While I don’t follow thoroughbred racing anywhere near as closely as I used to (once, I was even part-owner of a thoroughbred), I will watch the three Triple Crown races, starting with the Kentucky Derby tomorrow. I always hope for a Triple Crown winner because I think that generates interest in the sport.

If you’re watching I hope you enjoy the race.






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Throwback Thursday: Top Of The Charts

I have had this idea for a post for quite some time. Here is the source of the information soon to be presented.



I am going to list all of the songs that were Number One on the Billboard chart on my birthday from the time I was born through the last year in which I had any remaining interest in Popular/Top 40 music. Early in my teens I discovered jazz and left the other music behind. I have written that I think, at present, the phrase “American music” is an oxymoron. Without further ado:


Theme From ‘A Summer Place,’ Percy Faith

This remains the most successful instrumental of the “Rock and Roll” era (1955 to the present, allegedly) and was the number one song of the year.

Surrender, Elvis Presley

I must admit that I am not a fan of Presley in any way.

Hey! Baby, Bruce Channel

Our Day Will Come, Ruby and the Romantics

The Romantics, the four male singers who backed up lead female vocalist Ruby Nash, were originally called…The Supremes.

She Loves You, The Beatles

This was the second Beatles song to reach the top of the charts. The first week the next Beatles single (Can’t Buy Me Love) reached the number one position, the group had all of the top FIVE songs on the chart. The following week, they had 14 songs in the top 100.

When Beatlemania struck in early 1964, other record companies besides EMI/Capitol Records realized their Beatles catalogs had suddenly become very valuable. That is how the Beatles were able to have so many songs on the charts at the same time.

Eight Days A Week, The Beatles

The Ballad of the Green Berets, S/Sgt. Barry Sadler

In September of 1988, Sadler was shot in the head while entering a taxi in Guatemala, where he was–allegedly–training anti-communist Contra fighters. He died in December of 1989 in a Tennessee hospital.

Happy Together, The Turtles

(Sittin’ On) The Dock of the Bay, Otis Redding

Of course, many of you know that Redding died in a plane crash three days after he recorded this song. This was the first posthumous number one single on the Billboard chart.

Dizzy, Tommy Roe

Bridge Over Troubled Water, Simon And Garfunkel

We have reached the 1970s. During the recording of the album of which this was the title cut, Simon and Garfunkel realized that they could no longer record together. This was the last studio album of new material from them.

Me and Bobby McGee, Janis Joplin

This was the second posthumous number one single on the Billboard chart. Joplin died of a drug overdose in October of 1970, 16 days after Jimi Hendrix died from, basically, a drug overdose.

A Horse With No Name, America

This is easily my favorite of all the songs that were Number One on my birthday. Just one more…

Love Train, The O’Jays

I still own a couple of 45s recorded by The O’Jays, but this is not one of them.


I hope you have enjoyed looking at this list. Thanks for indulging me.


I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that May is Jewish American Heritage Month. I suspect the Mainstream Media is not reporting much about this. I mean, Jews don’t count, anymore. Jews Don’t Count is the name of a book by David Baddiel, in which the author attacks the ignorance of antisemitism by modern-day progressives compared to other forms of discrimination. He also argues that Jews are not seen as a proper minority group, and he also argues that there exists a hierarchy of racisms, which excludes antisemitism.


Before my blood pressure goes through the roof, I present some calming photographs.







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Wandering Wednesday

I strongly suspect that non-specific post titles such as “Wandering Wednesday” have a negative effect on the number of blog views. Many days, though, I cannot think of anything with a stronger hook.

<Rant> It is difficult to write a cogent post almost every day and think of a title without an editor or someone else providing ideas. If you don’t think so, try it yourself for just a month. <End Rant>


I am not a fan of the world and the feeling is mutual.


The author of this article argues that those of us who want to see the United States dissolve are “wrong.” Well, I don’t want to live in a country where the last two candidates for President were…how can I write this? How about I don’t want to live in a country where my choices are between the Lunatic Left and the Ridiculous Right. How about I don’t want to live in a country where both Schmocasio Schmortez and MoronToGo are serving in one of the two federal legislative bodies.

The political and social divide in the US is intractable, in my opinion. Whether it is “wrong” or not, to quote Abraham Lincoln, a house divided against itself cannot stand. I won’t live to see it, but I would bet a large amount that the US as we know it will not exist to celebrate its 300th “birthday” in 2076.


This Free Press article reports on an illness that’s engulfing America and how it’s ruining the practice of medicine: DEI. Of course, I define DEI as Deny Excellent Individuals. This remark by Stanley Goldfarb, former associate dean of curriculum at the University of Pennsylvania’s Perelman School of Medicine, is spot-on:


“For better or worse, I have had a front-row seat to the meltdown of twenty-first-century medicine. Many colleagues and I are alarmed at how the DEI agenda—which promotes people and policies based on race, ethnicity, gender, religion, and sexual orientation rather than merit—is undermining healthcare for all patients regardless of their status.”


In the constitution for “my” successor country, including or excluding a person from consideration based on any reason other than merit would be illegal. First earn, then receive.


Here is a link to a post from Why Evolution Is True. The first (title and link below) begins,

“Is a turning point really being reached in the War Against Wokeness? [my mark] Every time I read a piece in the mainstream media decrying the pernicious antics of the Authoritarian Left (one of the terms I use for “the woke”), I think to myself, ‘Is the tide really turning at long last?'”

Based on what I have just written, you can surmise I think wokeness is just as pervasive as ever, if not more so.

The Washington Post decries the suppression and deplatforming of speech by students


Here are references or links to three pieces from CNBC:


Supreme Court to consider weakening power of federal agencies in fisheries case

I think most Americans have absolutely no idea how much “legislation” is created by un-elected bureaucrats.


Phil LeBeau covers the automotive and airline industries for CNBC. As part of a recent story, here is what he wrote: “EV adoption was expected to soar this year, but the latest report on car buyer sentiment shows a growing percentage of people say they have zero interest in buying an electric model.”

In places like the US and Australia, the push to EVs is turning out like the rejection of an organ after a transplant. Most of the people don’t want them despite the years of hype and propaganda and despite being told we must have them for “our own good.”



The third CNBC piece is titled, “‘Godfather of A.I.’ leaves Google after a decade to warn society of technology he’s touted.” Here is a scary comment by Geoffrey Hinton, the Godfather of A.I.:


“I now think the digital intelligences we are creating are very different from biological intelligences. If I have 1,000 digital agents who are all exact clones with identical weights, whenever one agent learns how to do something, all of them immediately know it because they share weights. Biological agents cannot do this. So collections of identical digital agents can acquire hugely more knowledge than any individual biological agent. That is why GPT-4 knows hugely more than any one person.”


In my opinion, I think it’s too late to “save” us from A.I.; the cat is out of the bag. Like virtually everything else, A.I. has the potential for good and bad, but I think it’s an asymmetric paradigm in that the bad can literally be an existential threat.







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A Guest Post From Dirty Dingus McGee

Where do we go from here?


In the rush to force everyone to change to battery powered “clean” vehicles, there are a lot of things to consider that are being ignored: the economic impact on individuals trying to survive in a declining economy, the increase of the load on the electrical grid, the amount of petrochemicals involved in the manufacture of both the vehicle and the mining of the battery materials, and others that I’ll touch on.

First off is the cost for a battery powered vehicle is beyond the reach of anyone from lower middle class to the actual poor. As of now the lowest price new battery powered vehicle is the Chevy Bolt with a base price of $27,495. And this model is being discontinued at the end of 2023. Lower middle class folks are NOT out buying new cars so that’s out for them. Well, what about a used one? Lets compare the maintenance cost. A replacement battery will run from 1/3 to nearly 1/2 the cost of the vehicle. and right now it’s hard to determine the average life span of a battery. There are several factors involved that determine the life span of a battery, the local climate being one. Batteries will lose their charge faster in very cold or very hot conditions. Additionally the battery loses capacity over time, in that it will not retain as much charge as when it’s new. When it gets to the point where it will not hold enough charge to be useful, is when it’s time to replace it, which is cost prohibitive at the moment.

Let me use the example of your cell phone. If your phone is 2-3 years old does it hold a charge as long as it did when new? No matter how much you do, or don’t, use it, it doesn’t. It’s fact that batteries degrade over time and there is nothing that can be done. And you might notice that around 10 years ago, manufacturers went to phones where it’s nearly impossible, or totally impossible, to change just the battery. So when it gets to the point where you have to charge it twice or three times a day, you just get a new phone. Do you want to be forced to buy a new car every 4-5 years due to the battery being worn out? I know many buy a new car in that time frame, but that’s a choice not a necessity. The waitress at the local Denny’s still has her 7-year old Samsung flip phone, which she carries in her 20-year old Honda, because she can’t afford to upgrade either of them. She can keep her Honda alive for a good while, because there are salvage yards full of parts cars that her cousin Vern can install for her cheaply.

Lets move on to the load on the electrical grid. I’m not an electrical engineer but have worked with many over the years so have learned a fair bit from from them. The grid, which starts at the generating plant and ends at your house, does not have an infinite capacity. Capacity is determined by the amperage draw on the components of the grid, mainly controlled by the size of the wires. For a comparison, look under the hood of your car. You will notice a large wire going to the starter, but a small wire going to the headlights. The reason is that even though they both carry 12 volts, the starter draws more amperage than the headlights. When you draw more amperage through a wire it generates heat because of the inherent resistance of the voltage going through the wire. If you used a smaller wire to the starter it would melt in short order, well before the car would actually start. Every electrical system has some form of fuse or circuit breaker to prevent this from happening. I’m sure everyone has experienced a power outage at some point, usually storm related. A breaker trips due to a lightning strike somewhere in the system and you have no electricity for a while. Well, the same thing happens when the total power being used exceeds the capacity of the system. A breaker trips to prevent damage to the entire system. Same thing happens in your house. If an appliance has an electrical problem, the circuit breaker trips to hopefully prevent your house from burning to the ground. In any electrical system, it’s important to find out WHY that breaker tripped. Well, if the breakers in the grid are being tripped the utility can usually determine why quickly. They have load monitors in the system which will trip the breaker if demand exceeds capacity. Usually they can shift the load around to other parts of the grid before that happens, but it does still happen. Look no further than California last summer or Texas in the winter of 2021-22. Both had systems shutdown due to heavy load on the grid. Now if you add several hundreds of thousands of vehicles that need to be charged at least daily, where is that grid capacity going to come from. Nobody wants their electric bill to go higher, but the cost to upgrade the grid will certainly be passed on the the end users, who are all of us. It doesn’t matter if you’re part of the increased load, you will pay for the upgrades of the grid. And we are not talking about small money to upgrade the grid, we are talking many billions of dollars. Not to mention the time involved in building this new capacity. Never mind where this power is going to come from. Coal and gas fired generators are bad, nuclear plants more so, solar or wind power only generates fractions of the power that is being used. Can’t build dams for hydro electric either. I guess unless every home has their own windmill and solar system to cover their basic needs, we will all be SOL. OK, moving on.

Battery manufacturing is highly dependent on mining, which depends on diesel equipment for the mining process, never mind the petrochemicals used in the construction of the batteries. One study estimated that almost 400 new mines will be needed. Where are these future mines and how long will it take for them to become operational? It takes a while to find the ore deposits, set up the operation and then be able to deliver a usable product.  Another concern should be the mining itself. It’s apparently bad to strip mine for coal, but OK to strip mine for lithium and other rare earth elements. And they are called rare earth elements for a reason. You and I are highly unlikely to find a deposit of these elements in our back yard. If you do, congratulations on hitting the lottery. Meanwhile, the jungles and deserts of the world are being prospected to hopefully find these deposits, but it’s not a given that they will be found. If they aren’t found, what then? Does the price of a battery powered vehicle become unobtainable for the average person? Go back to the early 1900’s when private ownership of an automobile was only for the rich? As we are now all part of this brave new future, are you willing to give up your personal mobility? I think for those of us in suburban and rural areas, it will be a hard no. Our life is built on being able to travel at a reasonable cost, to our job, the grocery store or even to visit family.

Well, this is getting a bit long so I’ll end here. Perhaps in the future, the host here willing, I might throw out a few more of my thoughts on this subject.


Thanks to Dirty Dingus McGee for sharing his thoughts. I must add that I did hear two “analysts” comment yesterday on CNBC that cars powered by internal combustion engines will be with us for the foreseeable future. Sometimes, common sense can win.





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The NFL Is King

Of course, the National Football League (NFL) is not the king as in chief of state in a monarchy, but the NFL is the king of American sports. The TV ratings for the recently completed NFL Draft are further proof. From this tweet by Joe Pompliano:


The first round of the NFL Draft had 11.29 million viewers. That’s more than the:

Daytona 500

Indianapolis 500

Stanley Cup Final

Games 2 & 3 of the World Series


French Open

Australian Open

US Open

PGA Championship

British Open


Pompliano didn’t mention that the number of viewers for the 2023 first round of the NFL Draft was almost twice the average number of those who watched the 2022 NBA conference finals, the playoff series that determine the participants in the NBA championship. An eight-digit number of people (myself included) watched an event that is not a game or a match, but basically consists of player names being read and a few of those players hugging the league commissioner.

When people complain about the salaries of professional athletes, they seem to forget that we still live with the remnants of a capitalist economy, where the standard of value for something is what people and other entities are willing and able to pay for it. Over the next ten years, the NFL and its teams will receive more than $100 billion in national media rights fees. People don’t watch the games to see the owners own, but to watch the players play. If you think player salaries are inappropriate, then you can not watch sports and try not to buy the products of companies that sponsor the games. Good luck with the latter, though.

I hope I don’t live to see the day where the government determines everyone’s pay. Oh, being resentful and envious of people who are wealthier than you is not a sound basis for public policy.


Here a couple of links to posts from Why Evolution Is True, once again posted without comment:


Our big paper on the importance of placing merit over ideology in science and an op-ed in the WSJ

Mishigass at the Ontario Museum: claims of parity between modern science and indigenous “ways of knowing”


Mishigass (or Mishigas as I have spelled it) is Yiddish for craziness, lunacy, etc.

That’s all I have for today. I will publish a guest post by Dirty Dingus McGee either Monday or Tuesday.





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I Wasn’t Going To Post Today, But…

Some say/believe that success is temporary, but failure is permanent.


I don’t know if I have written about the horrible experiences we have had with a local HVAC contractor, the one supposedly rated “Number One” in the area for the last ten years. Where do I begin?

First, the idiots…uh, I mean crew who installed the new HVAC system on the south side of the house last month took 14 hours to do the job. We were told it was a 6-8 hour job. They were two hours late on the first day and three hours late on the second.

We were promised certain “things” by people who, as it turned out, were not in a position to promise anything. Only by being a very squeaky wheel was I able to get the company to provide at least some of the promised items.

The last time we used the heater it began to make a terrible noise. We called the company and they sent a tech who, supposedly, fixed the problem.

For a few weeks we didn’t need to run the heater or the AC. The first three months of the year here were the coldest first quarter of a year since at least the 1960s. We used a space heater to warm the master bedroom instead of running the HVAC system. We have not had too many days even above 85° and since the air is still dry, after sunset the temps fall rapidly.

With the promise of 2-3 consecutive days reaching the 90s I decided to run the AC late yesterday afternoon just as a test. Almost immediately, a horrifying noise and shudder began emanating from the wall common to the master bedroom and master closet. Above the closet is the attic space where the air handler, blower motor, coil and furnace for the new HVAC system sit.

I called the company and about three hours later a company tech did arrive. He wanted me to show him where the AC condenser was, but I told him the sound was coming from inside the house, not outside.

Long story short, the idiots, and I mean idiots, who did the original install of the new system placed the drain lines and the copper line set on top of the drain pan and the sprinkler system lines in the attic. (By Arizona building code, any home constructed in at least the last 25-30 years has to have a built-in fire suppression system.) When the blower motor ran, the vibrations caused the entire system to shake violently.

Of course, today is Saturday and no one can fix the problem until Monday at the earliest (not that I’ve actually heard from anyone from the company because today is Saturday). Of course, tomorrow is supposed to be the hottest day of the year so far with high temperatures reaching 93°-95°. It’s a good thing we’re at (roughly) 3,000 feet in elevation because the high temp at the large airport in the area is supposed to be 102° tomorrow.

The tech who was here until 9 PM last night hinted that this company has had a major shake-up and hired as many new, but experienced techs as possible. Still, that doesn’t fix the problem caused by the incompetents sent by the company to do the original install.

As I have written, at my age and since we are not poor, time and avoiding stress are more important than money. This company has taken away time I can never get back and has caused stress that has manifested itself in physical symptoms. As I have aged, my ability to tolerate stress has diminished significantly.


That’s all for today. Can someone please send us some good luck?!






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Fred Friday





My reaction to the Lamar Jackson signing? The proof will be in the pudding. Also, if Jackson had continued to hold out for a fully guaranteed contract after Jalen Hurts signed his deal, which is not fully guaranteed, then Jackson would have never signed.

Speaking of football…I did watch the first round of the NFL Draft in its entirety last night. As I have written on more than one occasion, Mel Kiper–who is covering his 40th draft for ESPN–and I have been friends for more than 30 years.


On Wednesday Conference Call, ESPN's Mel Kiper Shares His Thoughts for Titans at Pick No.29


While I am not an obsessed draftnik, I do like to read scouting reports on players who will be drafted. Usually, one or two players will just resonate with me in that I think they will be drafted higher than the consensus or will be better than where they will probably be drafted. Adalius Thomas (2000 NFL Draft) and Justin McCariens (2001) are two examples of this. Of course, I am not always right, but to me–anyway–it seems as though I am right more than I am wrong.

This year’s player is Will McDonald, an edge rusher from Iowa State. He just “read” to me like a player with a chance to be very productive in the NFL. (Believe it or not, I meant to write about McDonald yesterday, but simply forgot to do so while composing my post.)

The consensus was that he would be a late first- or early second-round selection. He just sounded better to me than that. Sure enough, the New York Jets picked him with the 15th overall pick, the middle of the first round.

OK, what did I like about McDonald’s scouting reports? He had the combination of traits (the current “in” word for measureables like 40-yard dash time and vertical jump) and productivity in a Power 5 conference that one likes to see. Just as important, he (supposedly) has great flexibility in his hips and ankles that allow him to quickly flatten his rush path (arc) to the opposing quarterback.

A key reason why Jadeveon Clowney (the first overall pick in the 2014 NFL Draft) never became a sack “monster” is, despite his great size/speed combination, he did not have McDonald’s ankle/hip flexibility. Clowney can run fast in a straight line, but not in an arc.

Of course, how accurate my assessment of Will McDonald is probably will not be known for at least two seasons. The proof will be in the pudding.


If a man says that a woman “was asking for it” before she was sexually assaulted, almost all of us would react negatively as I think we should. Well, the US is filled with lunatic legislators who hold similarly bizarre views.

From this Free Press piece comes this:


“L.A. City Councilwoman Nithya Raman came right out and said it: is it really stealing if it’s just begging to be stolen?

Raman, who I [Bari Weiss] once sat next to at a very strange dinner, voted against a motion that would make it illegal to possess a catalytic converter that isn’t, you know, yours. In an incredible feat of logic, Raman blamed the car manufacturers rather than the thieves.

“I think one of the things that really infuriates me is that we have a company, Toyota, that makes the Prius, that essentially has a device on their cars which is super easy to remove.” She added that Toyota should “manufacture a car that is not so easy to be stolen.” While we’re at it, we might as well make houses that aren’t so break-in-able, and kids that aren’t so kidnap-able! (Toddlers are very easy to carry, for example.)”


I think we have the government we “deserve,” at least to the extent that can be ascertained from a distance. Most adults in this country can’t find North Dakota on a map or know which countries the US fought in World War II. It should be no surprise that idiots are elected to represent us. I am so tempted to name a few, but discretion is the better part of valor.







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Most of the details have been lost, but I had a dream last night that I received a large mailing from a medical practice. Among the contents of this mailing were a letter explaining that I had been overbilled for services and a check for the amount: $5,300.

No, I have no idea why my brain generated that exact figure, but I can tell you that it might as well have been for $53 million; that’s how excited I was in the dream to have received this money.

I do think this dream was related to receiving the following yesterday:



This magazine was in an envelope that was inside a large mailer. When we picked up the Maserati we were told that any additional items pertaining to the car would be mailed to us at a later date. In addition, given that the first time I bought something at a Mecum auction I received a check 2-3 weeks later for a rebate because I had “overpaid” taxes, I was hoping for a similar rebate again.

I don’t recall ever having received this publication before. Perhaps I received it now because I purchased a car at a Mecum auction.


No, I have no idea what is going to transpire in tonight’s first round of the 2023 NFL Draft. No, I do not know what the resolution of Lamar Jackson’s “situation” will be.

I can tell you that Jackson seems to me to be less than intelligent. He seems to be obsessed with one contract, the ill-advised move by the Cleveland Browns to fully guarantee $230 million over five years to serial molester DeShaun Watson.

None of the other quarterback contracts signed after Watson’s have been fully guaranteed and all have had less guaranteed money, including the one just signed by Jalen Hurts, starting quarterback of the Philadelphia Eagles. You know, one of the teams that played in the most recent Super Bowl.

Yes, Lamar Jackson was the unanimous choice as NFL Most Valuable Player in 2019. Yes, the Baltimore Ravens have a very good record in regular-season games he has started. However, the Ravens are just 1-3 (one win, three losses) in playoff games he has started, he has missed 11 games, including a playoff game, in the past two seasons due to injury, and–in the world of football–2019 was a long time ago.

As I have written before, I believe that championship NFL quarterbacks play primarily from the pocket and beat you more with their arm and their brain than with their legs. The read-option offense exposes quarterbacks to too many hits, in my opinion.

I am reasonably certain that an NFL team will eventually win the Super Bowl using read-option concepts. Still, the next team to do so will be the first.


[UPDATE: This afternoon the Ravens announced that they had reached an agreement on a 5-year contract extension with Lamar Jackson. Whether or not that was a prudent move remains to be seen, but kudos to all parties involved for keeping it a secret almost until the very end.]


I have always wanted to visit the Auburn Cord Duesenberg (ACD) Museum in Auburn, Indiana. One “dream trip” for me and my wonderful wife would be to stay somewhere in northeast Indiana that would enable us to visit that museum, the Studebaker Museum and the Gilmore Museum.

This Hemmings piece is about the beginning of the restoration of the ACD Museum building. From the museum via Hemmings is this photo:



The museum is trying to raise $5 million to cover the cost of a massive preservation and restoration effort. So far, they have raised about half that amount. I am thinking about making a donation and wish I were in a position to donate a big chunk of the remaining amount.

If you’re a fan of museums, any type of museum, visit and/or donate to them. With the idiotic push to “virtual” reality (a true oxymoron), the damn virus, and the epidemic of temporal arrogance, many museums around the US have closed.








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Variations On A Theme

I have often written, far too often, of my extreme dissatisfaction regarding the decay in the competence of American companies. Our latest debacle involves a refrigerator and a big-box retailer that…I’ll just write “can’t shoot straight.”

Our new house had a Viking Professional refrigerator when we moved in. Sounds far more impressive than it actually is. This appliance did not work all that well, in part because the previous homeowners neglected maintenance, no doubt due to the fact that they only lived in the house about six months a year. However, the fact that the fridge was 17 years old didn’t help, either.

We found a company that specialized in servicing Viking appliances and they sent a competent tech to do some maintenance and to fix the ice dispenser. However, he couldn’t actually fix the dispenser because he had not been supplied with the correct part.

We made another appointment to have him fix the ice dispenser. When we learned the cost of parts and labor would be about $1,000 (on top of the $1,000 we had already spent) AND that the correct part wouldn’t be available until August, we decided to buy another refrigerator.

After gagging on the cost of a Viking replacement fridge ($18,000!) as well as the cost of other 48-inch wide, counter-depth refrigerators (nothing under $9,000) we decided to buy something more practical. One of the “big-box appliance stores” was having a sale and we have a credit card with them that entitles us to either a 5% discount or zero-interest financing for 24 months.

We bought a refrigerator and paid $40 extra for the company to haul the Viking away when they delivered and installed our new appliance. Well…when the “leader” of the first crew arrived he let out an audible groan when he saw the Viking. “I can’t take that, it’s built-in.” When I told him and showed him it was not built-in he still refused even to attempt to haul the fridge away. They didn’t leave the new refrigerator, either.

When we called the company we were less than calm when we explained what had happened. We were assured that four people would be on the next crew and that they would take the Viking away when they delivered our new fridge.

We should have known something was amiss when only three people arrived on the second attempt at delivery/haul away. Once again, the crew refused even to attempt to take the Viking away although they did leave the new refrigerator this time.

We were livid when we called the “big-box” store again. It goes without saying they refunded the charge to haul the Viking fridge away as well as giving us a partial rebate on our purchase. However, they refused to send another crew to take the Viking away.

In desperation, we called the company that had serviced our Viking and they sent, basically, one person to haul the old fridge away and to install our new, non-Viking one. This person also lamented the “it’s not my job” mentality that has taken over American business.

It is 99.9% likely that we will never buy an appliance from this “big box” store again. Even if they knew, the company employees would not care.

The phrase “American competence” has become an oxymoron.







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Tribal Tuesday

In mankind’s hunter/gatherer/wanderer phase, people who were too trusting of those not in their group often didn’t live long enough to pass down their DNA. Human beings are tribal, always have been, always will be.

Social media exacerbates tribalism by allowing/forcing people into bubbles of those with similar outlooks, but the tribalism long predates modern society and its evil spawn, social media.


The title of this CNBC article is something I hope will soon be true. “‘Crypto is dead in America,’ says longtime bitcoin bull Chamath Palihapitiya.”

His belief is primarily based on increasing SEC enforcement of the crypto “industry.” Palihapitiya also remarked, “The United States authorities have firmly pointed their guns at crypto.”

Once again, I believe that crypto is electronic tulip bulbs, way too volatile to be a medium of exchange or an investment. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.


Abruptly switching gears to pro football, the NFL Draft does begin the day after tomorrow, I wanted to share this remark by Zac Robinson, former NFL quarterback and current quarterback coach.


“Ultimately, the game is still won from the pocket. You gotta be able to make throws from the pocket, and I don’t think that’s ever going to change, but that added element of being able to use your legs is always going to be a luxury. But I do think when you look at the top guys, they still can make those throws from the pocket, and it’s what makes those other guys really special, the Herberts, the Mahomes, the Josh Allens, the Burrows.”


Other than not being a fan of saying or writing “the Herberts” when referring to Justin Herbert, I totally agree with Robinson. The quarterback with seven Super Bowl rings was not a read-option running QB, but a player who–from the pocket–made the right reads and threw the ball accurately and on time. Besides, the more often a quarterback, or any player, is a ball carrier the more often he will be exposed to violent hits from defenders. Why do you think the average career for a running back is three seasons? My 2¢.


Yes, I still hate squirrels even though the tree variety doesn’t exist in Arizona. This Twitter ad for a squirrel-resistant bird feeder made me smile.



standard catalog of® of Cadillac is my newest book acquisition. The reason I am writing about it is that, unlike every other book in the series I own, this book is published on glossy paper to accommodate the color photos. Here is an example:



No, it’s not a coincidence that the pages shown display photos of 1967-68 Eldorados. While barring a financial windfall such a purchase is years away, I do have quite the affinity for these cars–the ’67 was a member of my Ultimate Garage 2.0–and buying one is on my albeit distant radar screen.


Speaking of Cadillac, this post from Mac’s Motor City Garage is titled, “The Engine That Changed Everything: Secrets Of The 1949 Cadillac V-8.” In its current state as somnolent appendage to General Motors, it is easy to forget that Cadillac has a long history of innovation, from the first fully electric starter/generator, to the first genuine automatic transmission it developed with Oldsmobile, to the engine that is the subject of the linked piece: the first modern, overhead-valve, oversquare (bore > stroke) motor.

From standard catalog of® of Cadillac a picture of a 1949 Cadillac:



I have been a fan of Cadillac ever since my father purchased a 1965 DeVille convertible, which was the first car I ever saw with power windows and power locks. (Yes, I have written this before. Indulge an old man.)

As you may remember, my wonderful wife and I owned a Cadillac, a 2015 ATS coupe. We really liked the car, but its being severely damaged in an accident took the bloom off the rose. So many CARS, just one life.








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