Mellifluous Monday

Mellifluous: Adjective, sweet or pleasant to hear

For about a year I hosted a weekly sports talk show on a small radio station outside of Baltimore. The station was part of the Orioles radio network.

One week I had the privilege of having former Baltimore Colts Art Donovan (the first Colt elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame) and Jim Mutscheller in the studio as guests. Sadly, both are no longer among the living.

I knew Donovan because I was the Associate Producer (as mentioned here, a fancy term for a call screener) for a sports talk show on another station and on Mondays during football season he was part of the show, which was actually conducted in a restaurant and not the studio. He was more than happy to drive out to the small town where I hosted the show and surprised me by bringing Mutscheller along.

Coming out of a commercial break I said, “We’re back with the mellifluous tones of Art Donovan and Jim Mutscheller.” Donovan then exclaimed, “What the hell does that mean? Hey, Bugs, he’s cursin’ on Sunday!” (My show started at noon on Sunday.) I laughed out loud for quite some time.

Artie was never one to hold back. In response to a question about the increase in the popularity of pro football in the late 1950s–for which the 1958 Colts-Giants overtime championship game is given too much credit, in my opinion–Donovan said, “We were at the right place at the right time. Baseball was around, but people were tired of watching guys tightening their gloves and scratching their asses every time they swung.”

I can only imagine what he would have thought of political correctness, wokeness and other similar societal lunacy.

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Speaking of Baltimore sports, today is a milestone birthday for someone with whom I worked in Baseball Operations for the Orioles. To my face, he always told me how much he respected my knowledge and passion for the game.

He called me at home about three weeks after the Orioles fired me in January, 1994 and told me he looked forward to working with me again. I soon found out he played a major role in my being fired by telling the General Manager I was a double agent of sorts by working for a player agent while I was still working for the team. That was false, but since I was an at-will employee, I could be fired at any time for any reason.

This person did become a General Manager for two different teams and was in that role a long time. Still, I was warned about him around 1990 by Birdie Tebbetts while he was a scout for us. Tebbetts had a long and distinguished career as a player, manager (he was Frank Robinson’s first major league manager), scout and executive. Birdie told me that this person would stab anyone in the back he thought was a threat to his ascending to a GM position. As usual, Birdie was right.

At that time, almost no one with my background could have hoped to aspire to being a General Manager. Moneyball wasn’t published until 2003. Still, this person was so paranoid and so ambitious he thought nothing of getting me out of the way.

I have often thought I should let him know that I know of the role he played in my being fired by the Orioles. What would that accomplish, though?

If anyone has any relevant thoughts on this matter, I would like to read them.

 

#MellifluousMonday

#ArtDonovan

#WatchYourBack

#somanyCARSjustonelife

#disaffectedmusings

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Sunday Sermon

Just because an idea or concept is comforting doesn’t mean it’s true. Just because something is frightening doesn’t mean it’s false. You can bury your head in the sand to avoid the unpleasant, but all that means is that you are more likely to have something bite you in the ass.

 

Image result for Funny Ostrich Head in Sand

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Whither Italy? For much of this year this blog had a consistent daily number of views from Italy. For awhile in 2022, more blog views came from Italy than from any other country except the US or Canada. In mid-June, though, those views from Italy virtually disappeared.

Since this blog’s inception in January, 2018 it has been viewed by people in more than 100 countries. Not surprisingly, the US has accounted for the highest percentage of views, by far, at about 90 percent. That proportion, though, has declined over time. Canada is next at about 4 percent. In case you’re interested, or even if you’re not, Israel is third, but at less than one percent. With the departure of L Weaves Words from the blogosphere (believe it or not, due to a technical issue that WordPress could not fix despite much effort), I suspect views from Israel will stagnate and that India will move into third place in all-time views by country.

Although I often complain about what I perceive to be a lack of views relative to the quality of this blog and about the marked decline in views and visitors since February of this year, it is amazing to think that Disaffected Musings has had hundreds of thousands of views from well over 100 countries. I do still enjoy writing, but in the back of my mind I cannot shake the fear that WordPress will cut off access to the Classic Editor despite the fact that the new editor has not been as widely adopted as they had hoped, not even close in actuality. When blogging becomes a chore, as it would with the awful new editor, I will have to stop.

My intent when I write about declining views or the awful block(head) editor is not to threaten my readers that they better step up or else. Even though my identity is unknown to most readers, I think I have been very transparent about most things that are blog related and even life related.

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Yesterday my wonderful wife and I drove to the weekly car gathering that is the longest running such event in the US. We arrived about 20 minutes before it is supposed to start, but unlike the custom at most similar events in this area, hardly any cars were there. We also learned first-hand that the difference in elevation in the Valley Of The Sun really does make a difference in the temperature. Of course, the fact that the event is held in the parking lot of a large shopping center without much vegetation makes it hotter as well.

The elevation at this event is about 1,300 feet above sea level. Our house is about 2,100 feet in elevation. With the dry, adiabatic lapse rate being 5.38° F per 1,000 feet in elevation, that means our house should be about four degrees cooler, on average, than the shopping center where the car event is held. I can tell you when we got out of my wonderful wife’s Corvette it felt like opening an oven door.

We waited in the shade near a building for awhile to see if more cars would arrive, but they didn’t and eventually my wife could not avoid the siren song of White Castle as we had seen a marquis indicating that the famous Midwest slider place was nearby.

 

See the source image

 

This is the first White Castle location in Arizona. In its first year of operation more than 4.2 million sliders were sold there, making it the top location in the entire 360-plus store chain.

After my wife ate a couple of sliders and fries, we drove to the Penske complex that I visit quite frequently. We had a good conversation with Michael, one of the sales people. Oh, you want to see some pictures. OK, these are from the event and from Penske…

 

 

The second photo is Camelback Mountain, perhaps the most famous landmark in the area. I have shown pictures taken from the mountain before.

The bottom photo is, of course, a Maserati MC20. You won’t see this car in the Hall of Very Good Cars series because it is highly likely it would be a member of my Ultimate Garage 4.0, not that it’s likely that will ever be published. Even trading in my Z06 for this, I would consider purchasing this car to be too imprudent, too impractical.

As always, I welcome thoughtful comments. Thanks for reading.

 

#SundaySermon

#SaveTheClassicEditor!

#FutureOfDisaffectedMusings

#WhiteCastle

#MaseratiMC20

#somanyCARSjustonelife

#disaffectedmusings

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Slapdash Saturday

I almost printed the standings of my current computer football league in this post. I have completed the first seven of 18 weeks. Only four teams (of 24) have nicknames that correspond to names used in real sports leagues. For example, one of the teams is called the Montreal Voyageurs. Of course, who knows? Maybe that was a real name for some Montreal sports team of the past. Just to be clear, the rosters of the teams in my league bear no resemblance to the real life 2021 NFL rosters. I conducted a random draft of players as is my preference. I just don’t see much point in replaying a season that just happened.

I am enjoying the league although it came very close to never getting off the ground. I think I have told this story already, but can’t seem to find the specific post. I could not get the game to open after downloading and several emails to the company provided no solution. I decided to join a computer forum about this company’s games and someone who apparently has been using them for years provided the solution, a partial disabling of my anti-virus software before trying to open the game program. Of course, I have to fully enable it again after I am done. One benefit is that I am now running the anti-virus software on a more regular basis because every time I open it I see how many days it’s been since the last scan.

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One regular reader, someone I have known since the 1980s, is not a fan of the Arizona photos. Lyle, avert your eyes.

 

 

The top two photos are of a recent “sunset” while the bottom two are of a recent “sunrise.” In deference to Lyle, I will not publish any more Arizona photos in this post. Believe me, I could easily show a dozen more.

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This recent Classic Cars piece is more up DDM’s alley, but will probably be of interest to some or most of the gearheads reading. It’s about “Muscle Car Anomalies,” or seemingly questionable decisions made by American car companies during the first Muscle Car era, 1964-71. From the piece a picture of a relevant car and one close to my wonderful wife’s heart, a 1971 Mustang Mach I.

 

ram air, Muscle Car Anomalies, Part II, ClassicCars.com Journal

 

The context of the photo is about Ford only putting the Drag Pack on Mustangs and not Torinos or Cougars that were also equipped with the 429 Cobra Jet engine. My wife’s first car was a 1972 Mach I.

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I found this post from Archon’s Den to be particularly funny. Here are some highlights:

 

Have you ever noticed ‘The” and “IRS”….
….spells “Theirs”?

Forget world peace….
….Visualize using your turn signal.

Instead of a sign that says Do Not Disturb….
….I need one that says Already Disturbed!  Proceed with caution.

All dogs are therapy dogs….
….The majority are just freelancing.

 

#SlapdashSaturday

#ArizonaPhotos

#OneLiners

#somanyCARSjustonelife

#disaffectedmusings

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All Over The Map

I committed a faux pas earlier this week. I used someone else’s email address, but with my name, to log in to WiFi at the local Starbucks. I had not tried to use WiFi at a Starbucks in a long time and didn’t know a person has to supply such information. Of course, if I had thought about it for more than a second I could have just made up the info. I did inform this person and apologize.

ALL of us are imperfect. It is my very strongly held belief that neither anyone living nor anyone who has ever lived is/was perfect. That belief is contradictory to religious iconography, granting that word has a more narrow definition than its use here, but that’s my view. Still, if a person is/was perfect, then that person isn’t real. If a person is real, then they are not perfect. Human beings and perfection are mutually exclusive concepts. Yes, I readily acknowledge my own imperfection.

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A break from links to Why Evolution Is True and, instead, a couple of links to articles from CNBC. As you probably know, I don’t really trust news channels. Whether it’s Fox News or CNN or whatever, I think they’re all captives of the notion that they need to create drama and that they pander to their perceived constituencies instead of just reporting the facts without spin. Of course, given a limited broadcast window, they have to make editorial decisions about what stories to report. However, with more and more people receiving their news from the Internet, I think that lends itself to more broad reporting of the facts.

Anyway, I receive much of my news from CNBC. Of course, their content is focused on financial and economic news, but, for example, they’ve had a live blog about Ukraine since the Russian dictator began committing war crimes. (The invasion of Ukraine is a war crime.)

This CNBC piece is, basically, an opinion about how 2020 changed the economy in ways we don’t yet understand. The article begins with Yum CEO David Gibbs’ comments from the company’s two most recent earnings calls.

 

“This is truly one of the most complex environments we’ve ever seen in our industry to operate in. Because we’re not just dealing with economic issues like inflation and lapping stimulus and things like that. But also the social issues of people returning to mobility after lockdown, working from home and just the change in consumer patterns…economists who call this a ‘K-shaped recovery,’ where high-income consumers are doing fine while lower-income householders struggle, are oversimplifying the situation. I don’t know in my career we’ve seen a more complex environment to analyze consumer behavior than what we’re dealing with right now.”

 

This piece reports the results of a poll about what people would be willing to do to “fix” Social Security. If current estimates are correct, then in just 13 years the program will be underfunded to the point where benefits will have to be reduced by 20-25 percent.

The most popular fix, and one that received overwhelming bipartisan support (I didn’t think such a thing was possible), was raising the Social Security payroll tax cap. In 2022, Social Security taxes are paid on the first $147,000 in income and then no more. When I worked for the San Diego Padres, I benefited from the cap, which was lower in nominal terms then as it is adjusted for inflation. I stopped having FICA taxes removed from my pay in August.

Increasing the level of income at which Social Security payroll taxes are reapplied to income of more than $400,000 would eliminate 61% of the shortfall, researchers estimate. I think, just like Medicare, Social Security taxes should be paid on every dollar of earned income. That would eliminate more than 61% although I might also propose a slight reduction in the rate, say from 6.2% to 6.0% or 5.75%.

I’m going to get wonky here. Your Social Security benefit is based on something called AIME, Average Indexed Monthly Earnings. That figure is calculated for everyone and then the amount of your benefit–at full retirement age for you–is based on a percentage of each of three levels. The first level is credited at 90%, the second level at 32% and the last, or highest, level at 15%. I don’t exactly remember the cutoff points for each level. (Some people’s AIME doesn’t reach the second and/or third level.) I don’t know how much of the shortfall would be eliminated by my proposal, but those percentages could become 90%, 30% and 10%. I do not believe, however, that wealthy people should lose all Social Security benefits.

The estimates about the reduction of Social Security retirement benefits are one reason I will not wait until full retirement age, and certainly not until 70, to begin collecting. Of course, if everyone thinks that way, the shortfall will likely increase.

The Social Security Administration was formed in 1935. The average life expectancy in the US was about 61 years. That number is about 79 years at present. Even though major changes to Social Security were made in 1983, simple demographics have made the program unsustainable with current parameters. Our inept, squabbling for the sake of it Congress will really have to work on this issue and soon.

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This Hemmings article from yesterday is about the problem with plastics, especially as it pertains to modern collectible cars, although that phrase might be an oxymoron. The title of the piece is an homage to a famous line from the movie The Graduate.

One commenter offered the opinion that newer cars will be doomed by the failure of their electronics. In that vein,

 

 

No, I still don’t have my Z06 although technically the current delay is not about electronics, but about the unavailability of an exhaust part. Still, this saga all started with a massive failure of the car’s electronics.

I fully understand, more so than ever, the strong preference by many in the car hobby for older, simpler cars. I still wouldn’t want to drive a car with a carburetor (vapor lock would be almost a given in an Arizona summer) or drum brakes, though.

Half-jokingly, I am tempted to start a pool asking readers to submit a date on which I will have my car back. The prize could be a guest post. What do you think?

 

#AllOverTheMap

#NoHumanBeingIsOrWasPerfect

#SocialSecurity

#Plastics

#K.I.S.S.

#somanyCARSjustonelife

#disaffectedmusings

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Hall of Very Good Cars: Kicked Out of the Ultimate Garage

The only constant in the world is change. I have published three versions of my Ultimate Garage in the blogosphere, one of which has been lost forever thanks to the Evil Empire, AKA Guck Foogle. Some cars that were included in one or both of the first two versions were not included in the latest, and almost certainly last, published Ultimate Garage. I thought I would just show those cars in this series without much prose. Not in any particular order:

 

 

From The American Auto by the Auto Editors of Consumer Guide® a picture of a 1967 Cadillac Eldorado. A ’68 model would do, as well.

I am still a big fan of these cars and if we ever own a home with a garage long enough I could be tempted to buy one. As I write this, these cars are still relatively affordable. The three shown on Hemmings this morning have an average asking price of about $22,500.

 

 

Yes, another German car. Of course, this is the car I owned for 29 months: a second generation BMW Z4. Although it turned out to be extremely unreliable, I didn’t buy it new so the original owner’s neglect probably played a role in the car’s issues while I owned it. I think I included the car in the first iteration of my Ultimate Garage in large part because I owned it at the time. I do still think they have a fabulous exterior design, top up or down.

 

See the source image

 

This is a 1963 Studebaker Avanti. My fervor for this car was still at a fever pitch when I published my first Ultimate Garage (2017?), so much so that I included both the original Studebaker version and the Avanti II. Again, I am still a fan of these cars, just not enough to have included it in Ultimate Garage 3.0.

Some of you who have been reading Disaffected Musings from the beginning might have been surprised that this car was left out of Ultimate Garage 3.0.

 

See the source image

 

Obviously from RM Sotheby’s is a picture of a 1956 Packard Caribbean Convertible. This is the car whose status has fallen the most of those listed in this post. I still like these cars, but if I were to publish a fourth version of my Ultimate Garage, this car would not receive much, if any, consideration. By the way, my first Ultimate Garage had seven cars, the second had 11 and the third had 14.

The list of Hall of Very Good Cars that I have scribbled in my notebook still contains about two dozen cars that will/might be included. It might be that when I run out of those cars I will stop writing this blog.

 

#HallofVeryGoodCars

#KickedOutOfTheUltimateGarage

#somanyCARSjustonelife

#disaffectedmusings

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Wandering Wednesday

Even though I have been out of baseball for more than a decade, the news of the death of Vin Scully is still sad to me. I had the privilege of speaking with him every now and then during my tenure with the San Diego Padres. He was always most gracious.

As some of you may know from firsthand experience (as I do), many famous people are most unpleasant. They are rude and dismissive of people they don’t know or those they perceive to be unimportant. I’ll pass along something taught to me by a high school English teacher: a truly great person will neither trample on a worm nor sneak to an emperor.

 

“And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.”

– John Donne

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This CNBC article reports that Russia is facing “economic oblivion.” If that’s true, imagine how much faster that would happen if most of Europe were not still buying huge amounts of natural gas from the Russian dictator. utem itud psin

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This post from Why Evolution Is True, the title of which is “Intellectual freedom in STEM: An interview with Anna Krylov,” is both interesting and disturbing. Krylov is a quantum chemist and the Gabilan Distinguished Professor in Science and Engineering and Professor of Chemistry at the University of Southern California. Here is a passage from the first paragraph of the post:

 

“And we met her because she’s an opponent of the invasion of wokeness into STEM, and because she somehow got an anti-woke paper, “The perils of politicizing science” into the Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters. That paper got a lot of attention, most likely because it was congenial to all those who deplore the fulminating wokeness of science but are afraid to speak up. (Try getting an op-ed extolling merit over identity into a science journal these days!)”

 

I think much, if not most, of the world–especially the so-called developed world–is losing its mind.

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On this day in 1977, Radio Shack (remember them?) introduced the TRS-80 personal computer. Some users called them the “Trash 80.” My first PC experience (personal computer, not political correctness) was using a TRS-80 in my first job in radio. I had the title of Assistant Producer, but I was a call screener for a call-in sports talk show. I also called guests that were going to be interviewed as well as providing news to the show’s host.

The TRS-80 had a program that allowed me to input the name of a caller and the subject they wanted to talk about so the host could see that in advance. The program usually worked without a hitch. My experience with the “Trash 80” really fueled my desire to have a PC of my own, but one with much more computing power.

In one of the few times my father really stepped up for me, I bought a Tele-Video PC from a friend of his who owned a computer store and, technically, we leased it through his gas station. He even made the first few payments. I purchased the PC after the expiration of the lease and then sold it to a friend of mine who, sadly, is no longer among the living. The first four or five PCs I owned more than paid for themselves because I usually was able to get consulting work in lieu of or in addition to a regular job. As I have now owned a PC for about 38 years I have lost track of just how many different ones I have had.

I still prefer using a PC over any mobile device like a phone or a tablet. PC prices have also plummeted, especially in real terms. The purchase price of my first computer was more than $3,000 in 1984. The computer on which I am writing this post cost me about $500. By the way, $3,000 1984 dollars converts to about $8,500 today. Of course, my current computer is orders of magnitude faster and more powerful than my first one. My first PC didn’t even have a hard drive.

 

#WanderingWednesday

#VinScully

#WokeIsACult

#MyFirstPC

#somanyCARSjustonelife

#disaffectedmusings

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Threes And Sevens Finale: 1997

OK, a dream first: I dreamt I was watching a football team practice. I think it was an NFL team, but it could have been college. At some point, though, it seemed as if I was participating in the practice, although I’m not sure if I was dreaming (within the dream) about practicing or actually practicing. I remember making a great diving catch and that the ball seemed to be moving more slowly the closer it got to me.

Also, the word “CHECKSUM” was of great significance during the practice. From Wikipedia; “A checksum is a small-sized block of data derived from another block of digital data for the purpose of detecting errors that may have been introduced during its transmission or storage. By themselves, checksums are often used to verify data integrity but are not relied upon to verify data authenticity.”

I used to do some computer programming, but that was a long time ago and I never used or wrote any checksum algorithms. Why “CHECKSUM” was in the dream is beyond me, like many things in my life.

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So, we have reached the end of the Threes And Sevens series. When I began I knew that 1997 would be the last featured year because the 21st century has not been about cars, it’s been about non-cars like pickup trucks and SUVs. As every regular reader knows, I am not interested in those vehicles.

This last Threes And Sevens post will be more freeform than the others. I will offer that I have written elsewhere that 1997 was the first year that non-cars comprised more than half the new vehicles sold in the US. However, if The American Auto by the Auto Editors of Consumer Guide® is correct, then the share of non-cars in the new vehicle market was about 45 percent in 1997, not 50+ percent. Still, it is true that 1996 (yes, not 1997) was the first year that The Big Three sold more non-cars than cars, 5.7 million versus 5.3 million.

Speaking of market share, Japanese automobile manufacturers captured 23.5% of the US market; European companies had 3.8 percent. Both of those figures were increases from 1996. General Motors and Ford market shares were the same (31.1 percent and 25.2 percent, respectively), but Chrysler’s share fell from 16.2 percent to 15.2 percent.

Even though GM and Ford saw no meaningful increase in total sales, their profits rose sharply year over year. Ford’s net earnings rose 58 percent while GM’s increased 19 percent. The significant increase in truck sales, which have higher profit margins than car sales, was a major factor. Non-cars were 41 percent of the market just two years earlier. In a large market like the US market for vehicles, an increase in market share of four percentage points in two years is meaningful.

Ford was the only US make to reach seven figures in 1997 sales. The Taurus was, once again, Ford’s best-seller reaching nearly 400,000 units; 398,802 were produced for the 1997 model year. Do you want to see a picture of a 1997 Taurus? OK…

 

See the source image

 

Closer to my life, 1997 was the first model year for the fifth generation Corvette or C5. This generation Vette really was brand new. It featured an all-new engine, the aluminum LS1. A first for the Corvette was a transaxle, which was located at the rear wheels so the car would have a 50-50 front-rear weight distribution. The transaxle was retained for the C6 and C7 generations, which were built for 15 model years, meaning the transaxle was used for a total of 23 model years.

The C5 had virtually all new components for the interior, exterior and suspension. Not surprisingly, with such a radical change production hiccups limited the number manufactured to fewer than 10,000 and meant convertibles were not available for 1997. Let’s hope this picture link doesn’t break.

 

 

This is a 1997 Corvette in Fairway Green Metallic, which was the least used exterior color and comprised only about 1.5 percent of 1997 Vettes. In the back of my mind–OK, maybe not so far back–I really want to own a green car. I just like the look of the color on a car. When I imagine my “ultimate” Studebaker Gran Turismo Hawk, it’s painted in British Racing Green or Limerock Green (from the 2014 Corvette) with a cream top. For the nth to the n time and from the movie Diner, if you don’t have dreams you have nightmares. My dreams are sure as hell no walk in the park, anyway.

I hope you have enjoyed Threes And Sevens. It will probably be the last “focused” post series in this blog. The Hall of Very Good Cars posts are not as well defined as those from Threes And Sevens or Cars: A To Z. As always, please feel free to send thoughtful comments. Thanks.

 

#ThreesAndSevensFinale

#1997

#C5Corvette

#somanyCARSjustonelife

#disaffectedmusings

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Are Cadillac Executives Reading Disaffected Musings?

First, I was originally going to call today’s post “Narcissism To Start August.” My wonderful wife thought I should call the post “July Progress Report.” What the hell am I talking about? I am going to tell you how much I exercised in July.

According to my iPhone, which does NOT record anything having to do with my treadmill workouts, I walked about 168,000 steps in July, or about 60 miles. I ALSO climbed 528 flights of stairs.

As for the aforementioned treadmill, I worked out 14 times spending about 12 hours on the machine, covering more than 47 miles and burning over 6,200 calories (according to the treadmill). Remember that 95%+ of the time in my workouts I am walking, only jogging/running for a few minutes if I want to average more than 4 miles per hour for a given workout. Also note that I always have a positive incline while on the machine; I am always walking/jogging/running uphill.

Knowing one is being observed, even if it’s self-observation, almost always changes behavior. Of course–given my OCD/math nerd status–I record my workout results on my calendar. My iPhone automatically records steps and flights. Steps And Flights is the name of the spreadsheet file with all of the information. I guess I must be proud of this “accomplishment.”

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I have written many times during the 4 1/2 years I have been writing this blog, including this recent post, that Cadillac should produce and sell a hyper-luxury car. This very interesting article from Hagerty reports that they appear to be ready to do just that. Cadillac has revealed the Celestiq, which appears to be far along in development. Of course, it will be all-electric, much to my chagrin, but it is good news if this automobile will really be sold to the public. It is also good news that Cadillac’s awful 3-character model names might finally be going away. Below is a picture of the Celestiq concept car:

 

See the source image

 

The Hagerty article is about 12 Detroit luxury cars that were never produced, but should have been. One of the cars listed is among my favorite concept cars of all time, the Cadillac Elmiraj.

 

See the source image

 

One concept car with which I was not familiar was the Mercury Messenger from 2003, shown below.

 

See the source image

 

That’s a stunning shape, in my opinion. I have often written that it seems to be a waste to me that the vast majority of concept cars that are revealed are never produced. I know they are considered exercises in styling and engineering and some of their features have appeared on production vehicles. However, maybe Mercury would still exist if this car had been a halo car to draw customers into dealerships.

If you are into concept cars or cars in general I highly recommend reading the Hagerty piece.

 

#AreCadillacExecutivesReadingDisaffectedMusings?

#StepsAndFlights

#CadillacCelestiq

#CadillacElmiraj

#MercuryMessenger

#somanyCARSjustonelife

#disaffectedmusings

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Say Goodbye To July Sunday

On the sixth day, it rained…we had rain for the sixth consecutive day yesterday and it really rained. The rain, wind and thunder didn’t bother me. However, I had never seen lightning like last night’s; the entire sky kept lighting up almost non-stop like a flickering light bulb times a million. That lasted for at least 25 minutes and was unsettling.

Evidence of last night’s downpour could be seen everywhere during our breakfast run this morning. Official measurements of rainfall over the last 24 hours show the micro-climatic variations here, with some places recording less than a tenth of an inch of rain while other places recorded almost two inches. I’m guessing we received between a half inch and an inch at our house.

Of course, I plugged in my phone to recharge the battery mere minutes before the storm started so I didn’t get any photos of the deluge. Here is a pre-storm picture.

 

 

That mountain, which sits to our northeast and has been shown here many times, began to disappear even though the rain approached from the south. Seeing the very dark sky, to the south the sky was almost black with only a hint of blue, and feeling my sinuses hurt I was virtually certain we were going to get a storm. (Sorry for the reflection of the window shutter in the photo.) Eventually, that mountain did disappear in the blinding rain.

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I guess my priorities might be changing. I was watching coverage of the recently concluded Mecum auction from Harrisburg, PA, skipping through the pickup trucks, when I realized I didn’t want to watch the auction. I left Hulu, went to Amazon Prime where I have purchased the first two seasons of Transplant, and watched two episodes I have seen at least 3-4 times already.

Why did I buy the seasons? I no longer have streaming access to season one. (I don’t know why.) Anyway, I think it’s significant that, at least at the moment, I would rather watch an episode of a show I’ve already seen than a Mecum auction. Is this a permanent change? I don’t know.

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I have never smoked in my life, not once. That statement of fact includes tobacco and marijuana. If people don’t believe me, I don’t care. “Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored.” – Aldous Huxley

The only time I have been drunk was by accident and it didn’t come from drinking alcohol. During one lunch while I was working for the Orioles–dining alone as I often did–I ordered chocolate mousse for dessert. I had not yet been diagnosed with diabetes.

When I had almost finished the mousse I felt strange, even stranger than usual. 🙂 I asked the waitress what was in the mousse. She said chocolate, whipped cream and chocolate liqueur. Bingo!

I knew it was not a good idea to drive back to work at that moment so I waited 40-45 minutes at the restaurant before I left. It was a good thing I didn’t punch a time clock and had no real supervision over how I spent my time.

While I don’t think the consumption of alcohol is a good idea–ask the 14-15 million alcoholics in the US if they want to go back to the day before their first drink–I am not so naive as to think it should be illegal. Remember, the US tried that once. Even though the best available evidence suggests that alcohol consumption declined by two-thirds at the beginning of Prohibition, it increased during the period from 1920 to 1933. That same evidence suggests that alcohol consumption doubled in that span.

I do think, though, that the legal drinking age should be 25 and not 21. From this article comes this conclusion that is consistent with most published research:

 

“Under most laws, young people are recognized as adults at age 18. But emerging science about brain development suggests that most people don’t reach full maturity until the age 25.”

 

I know that change will never happen, but think about how many lives might be saved. The best estimates by NHTSA are that between 10,000 and 15,000 people die every year in the US because someone was driving under the influence of alcohol. I also think that any non-zero BAC level while driving should be a crime.

 

I would very much like to read your thoughts on this issue, or anything else written in this blog. Thanks.

 

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Freestyle Friday

The number of consecutive days with measurable rain at our house has reached five. Once again, this morning’s rain (it’s still raining as I write this although the sun is making an effort to be seen) was not really forecast by the National Weather Service. Giving them the benefit of the doubt, micro-climatic variations in this area must be such that accurate forecasts at a granular level must be difficult.

I had to attempt to take pictures of the area this morning. Without a frame of reference it will be difficult for you to ascertain the difference in the way this area looked earlier today compared to how it usually looks.

 

 

 

When I was younger I very much enjoyed watching the snow fall, in part–of course–because enough snow might close schools. I have always liked watching rain as well, but have to admit I enjoy it more here than anywhere else.

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Once more, some links to posts from Why Evolution Is True:

 

Med students walk out on speaker because she’s “pro life,” but wasn’t talking about it

From the post:

 

“There are several issues here, including the students assertion that the University has an official position on abortion. While the University can and probably does perform abortions, that’s different from taking an official stand on it, for that chills the speech of people who are “pro life”. As readers here know, I’m [Jerry Coyne] a hard-line pro-choicer, and so disagree strongly with Dr. Collier’s views on that issue. But I would still go to her talk, and I wouldn’t walk out.

Further, there’s the idea that if someone expresses a view you don’t like, you should boycott that person. I don’t agree with that view, either…”

“Finally, there’s the issue of free speech—not in the First Amendment sense, as nobody violated the Constitution here. I’m talking about the value of allowing people to speak with whom you disagree, on the chance that you might either change your mind, hone your own opposition, or (especially in this case) learn something.”

 

Both sides practice “cancel culture” but I have to say I think the left is worse. The ACLU now advocates free-speech restrictions far beyond anything previously outlined in any court decisions.

 

Social engineering in Portland’s schools

 

“Portland Public Schools has launched a war against the “gender binary” and adopted a radical new curriculum teaching students to subvert the sexuality of “white colonizers” and begin exploring “the infinite gender spectrum.”

I [Christopher Rufo] have obtained a cache of documents from a source inside Portland Public Schools that exposes the nature of this curriculum. The lessons seek to turn the principles of academic queer theory into an identity-formation program for elementary school students; it has been adopted in many of the district’s K-5 classrooms.”

 

Too many people have fallen into an ideological vortex and away from reality.

 

Lactase persistence in populations that drink milk: a classic story of human evolution re-evaluated

If you’re a science “geek” you might enjoy this post.

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I found this CNBC article interesting. JPMorgan has a hired a scientist, Charles Lim, to “help protect financial system from quantum-supremacy threat…New forms of cryptography and secure messaging are needed ahead of quantum supremacy, or the point when quantum computers will vastly outperform traditional computers.”

It’s great that a large firm like JPMorgan is trying to get ahead of the curve, but read this article carefully and it’s difficult not to be very concerned about the negative implications of the next generation of computers. utem itud psin

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OK, some automotive content…this recent Hemmings article is titled, “We pick seven of the most criminally undervalued collector cars of today.” Two of these seven cars are, indeed, among my favorites. In fact, one was a potential member of my Ultimate Garage 3.0. Here are pictures of those two automobiles:

 

 

Post Image

 

The top photo is a Continental (technically, not Lincoln) Mark II and it was this car I considered for inclusion in Ultimate Garage 3.0. Of course, the Mark II was only produced in 1956-57 with only about 3,000 units being manufactured. The bottom photo represents the fourth generation Corvette, or C4, that was produced for model years 1984 through 1996.

Granted, these selections were subjective as they were made by Hemmings’ editorial staff. Of course, all of my Ultimate Garage selections were also subjective.

 

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