Yom HaShoah

Today is Yom HaShoah or Holocaust Memorial Day. I have a strong connection to the Holocaust. My father watched his family murdered by Nazi troops (you don’t want to know how he survived). My mother and her parents escaped from their little Polish village just days before the Nazis burned it to the ground. (Of course, there’s the sad tale of my uncle who survived a concentration camp only to be murdered when two pieces of sh*t robbed his grocery store, but that’s another story for another day.)

The Holocaust DID happen and, sadly, it could happen again. The recent spate of attacks on Asian-Americans is a disgusting manifestation of the large swath of ignorance that cuts through American society. What no one reports, however, is despite the fact that Jews comprise just two percent of the US population, they have been the victim of more than half of the hate crimes in this country every year for at least the last five years.

It has been said by people like Mark Twain that Jews are the victim of their own success. How is it, exactly, that so many Jews who came to the US in the late 19th and early 20th centuries were so successful, given they suffered enormous discrimination, did not speak English upon arrival and there were no government programs to help them? Well, I have my own theory, but I do not want to incite a flame war. Suffice to say no one should ever become successful by doing nothing except playing the victim.

Never Forget! Never Again!

 

#YomHaShoah

#NeverForget!

#NeverAgain!

 

 

Walkabout Wednesday

From Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary: walkabout; noun, a short period of wandering bush life engaged in by an Australian aborigine as an occasional interruption of regular work

I hope this blog is a daily walkabout for those who read it. Also, today’s post is EXTREMELY random or wandering.

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My wonderful wife and I watch episodes of Frasier on Cozi (via Hulu + Live TV) from time to time. Yesterday, we watched “The Last Time I Saw Maris.” From frasier.fandom.com a synopsis of the episode:

 

After a relieved Niles learns that Maris’ mysterious three-day disappearance took her on a shopping spree to New York, Frasier tells him to demand an apology from her instead of giving her a welcome home gift. Niles takes his brother’s advice and reads her the riot act, but when he later refuses to apologize, Maris asks for a divorce.

 

Frasier telling Niles to confront Maris leads to Niles smashing all sorts of vases and statuettes. He then says, “Smashing things is therapeutic.” I can relate: I think this happened a few months after I had been fired from my first full-time baseball job. I bought an answering machine, but one without tapes. It was a “newfangled” electronic type that digitally recorded my greeting and incoming messages.

The problem was that no matter how many times I recorded my greeting, 24 hours later it was gone. I would record the greeting, play back the greeting, and then play it back again a few hours later. It was always gone the next day.

I don’t know what catalyst caused me to do the following, but after the 15th or 20th time the greeting disappeared, I yanked the machine out of the wall, threw it down the stairs and then proceeded to smash it into hundreds of pieces with a hammer. I have to admit that felt good.

Oh, in a 2006 poll taken by Channel 4 in the UK of professionals in the TV industry, Frasier was voted the best sitcom of all time. I have all of the episodes on DVD and have streaming access to all of them on Hulu. Frasier, Taxi and The Big Bang Theory are my three favorite sitcoms ever. I think the phrase “modern sitcom” is an oxymoron, now without exception with the end of The Big Bang Theory in 2019.

Also, while I acknowledge that Seinfeld had moments of comic brilliance, its internal motto of “no hugging, no learning” left it a bit short compared to other sitcoms. The occasional poignant moments make the comedy better, in my opinion.

The word is that a Frasier reboot will begin airing next year on Paramount+, a streaming service. Sorry, I’m not going to pay more money every month just to watch one show. Three of the service’s main offerings are channels I would never watch: Comedy Central, nickelodeon and MTV. I will be quite happy occasionally watching an “old” episode.

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Yesterday saw blog views from the usual countries outside the US (Canada, France, Malta, Nigeria) except one: Chile. The South American nation was second in views by country behind only the US and more than half of the views for the year from Chile happened yesterday. From Wikipedia a map showing Chile’s location:

 

Chilean territory in dark green; claimed but uncontrolled territory in light green

 

The green slice of Antarctic land shown is claimed but uncontrolled territory. Chile is about 2,700 miles from north to south, but only about 220 miles at its widest east-to-west point.

The strongest earthquake ever recorded (M 9.5) happened off the coast of southern Chile in May of 1960. From this NOAA report:

 

This earthquake generated a tsunami that was destructive not only along the coast of Chile, but also across the Pacific in Hawaii, Japan, and the Philippines…The number of fatalities in Chile associated with both the earthquake and tsunami has been estimated to be between 490 and 5,700. The Chilean government estimated 2 million people were left homeless and the damage was USD $550 million [my note: almost $5 billion in today’s dollars]. In Hawaii, the tsunami caused 61 deaths, 43 injuries, and USD $23.5 million in damage… The tsunami hit the Pacific coast of Japan almost a day after the earthquake causing 139 deaths and destroying or washing away almost 3,000 houses in the Hokkaido, Aomori, Iwate, and Fukushima Prefectures. Waves observed in Japan were higher than other adjacent regions nearer to the source due to the directivity of tsunami wave radiation. At least 21 people died in the Philippines due to the tsunami.

 

Waves as high as 35 feet were observed more than 6,000 miles from the epicenter. Oh, the earthquake lasted 10 minutes, an extraordinarily long time for such an event. Anyway…if you’re reading, thanks to those of you who read Disaffected Musings from Chile yesterday.

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David Banner (not his real name) sent me a text in which he wrote, “I don’t get an EV Hummer…that’s like a sugar free donut.” Yes, GM is going to reboot the Hummer brand as an EV AND is introducing an EV Silverado pickup truck. My response to his text was, “LOL! It’s 2021 and come hell or high water most “car” companies are going electric. What better way to engage in virtue signaling than to produce an electric Hummer?”

For the nth time, I realize that some form of “alternative” power for cars will become the dominant paradigm some time in the future. I also realize that most of the market still wants to buy cars powered by Internal Combustion Engines. For at least the next 10-20 years, a significant market opportunity will exist to cater to those buyers. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it. Of course, I’ll be sticking to this car for some time to come:

 

 

Since I am now fully vaccinated, I may speed up the timetable for the second round of modifications (Modificata!) to increase engine output. The powertrain warranty expires in about three months and since the shop is booked 8-10 weeks out, will it really make a difference if I get the work done a couple of weeks before expiration?

I have babbled on enough today. For only the third or fourth time in the three-plus year history of this blog, a post is 1,000+ words long. I hope you have enjoyed it.

 

#WalkaboutWednesday

#Frasier

#SmashedAnsweringMachine

#Chile

#1960ChileanEarthquake

#EVHummer

#My2016CorvetteZ06

#somanycarsjustonelife

#disaffectedmusings

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Toothsome Tuesday

I have grown to really like some of Starbucks’ food offerings. My favorite is probably this:

 

See the source image

 

These are the Egg White & Roasted Red Pepper Egg Bites (picture from Starbucks). I don’t know if a serving equals one or two, but they’re 170 calories a serving with 11 grams of carbs including 3 grams of sugar (I am diabetic, remember, even though my diabetes is “well-controlled” in the parlance of medical practitioners), but 12 grams of protein.

Compared to when I was 30, I probably eat only about 20% as much beef. I no longer eat dinner, which was almost always some type of beef. After we left Texas in 2008, we pretty much stopped eating at steakhouses. I can’t say whether or not we’ll resume in the near future given the number of high quality steakhouses here. Since most of them are only open for dinner, probably not.

I have no desire to go full vegetarian and certainly not vegan. Sometimes, I just have to have an In-N-Out burger. Sometimes, I really want a milkshake. I certainly can’t say that my dietary evolution has had a global component. It’s just that I crave different things now that I am older. It’s also in the best interests of my health not to eat too much red meat.

I suspect not too many readers are under 40. How have your dietary habits changed, if at all?

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I don’t know why I am writing this today, but not long after I moved to California in the mid-1990s I began a personal journal or diary, if you will. I didn’t write every day, but I wrote on most days.

I often worked long hours; during a homestand it was common for me to arrive at the office at 9:30 AM and not get home until 11 PM. I never developed a social infrastructure outside of work so keeping a journal seemed like a good idea.

Usually, one of the features of my entries was a Song of the Day. I guess I thought about my journal because my earworm issue is getting worse, seemingly by the week. I was originally going to call today’s post Overriding The Earworm because when I was younger I never had songs I didn’t like stuck in my head. I would hear songs in my head, but they were songs I couldn’t wait to hear after I got home from work.

No, I no longer have the journal. I kept it on a computer and when I sold it, I wiped the hard drive. When the inevitable day comes that I stop blogging, I wonder if I will still write, but just for myself.

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Random neural firings lead to…1951 in the US auto industry.

As the Korean War intensified, auto production cutbacks were ordered by the federal government and its National Production Authority. A railroad strike in February temporarily cut off supplies of key raw materials. Even with all of that, 5.3 million cars were produced although that was about a 16 percent decline from the record year of 1950.

Chrysler introduced two “firsts:” its first-generation Hemi engine and Hydraguide power steering. From classiccars.com a picture of a 1951 Chrysler New Yorker Newport:

 

See the source image

 

Later in the decade, Chrysler would offer the first American engine with at least 1 HP per cubic inch, the optional motor for the 1956 Chrysler 300B, but I digress…

Studebaker first offered a V-8 engine in the 1951 model year. The 232 cubic-inch (3.8 liter) motor was only offered in the Commander line; the Champion was offered with a 169 cubic-inch inline-6. Commanders accounted for about 46 percent of Studebakers produced in 1951.

 

See the source image

 

From wallpaperup.com a picture (I hope) of a 1951 Studebaker Commander convertible. These accounted for only 3 percent of Commader sales in 1951.

Random neural firings are slowing down. Have a great day…

 

#ToothsomeTuesday

#StarbucksFood

#PersonalJournal

#1951USAutomobileIndustry

#1951ChryslerNewYorkerNewport

#1951StudebakerCommanderConvertible

#somanycarsjustonelife

#disaffectedmusings

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Monday Musings 65

On Friday, the US Department of Labor reported that non-farm payrolls rose by 916,000 in March, a much better performance than predicted by those entities that make such predictions. The unemployment rate fell to 6.0%. (Of course, revisions will no doubt “change” those numbers.)

Just for comparison, when was the last time France had an unemployment rate of even 7 percent? Just before the “Great Recession.” That country’s unemployment rate has only been below 8 percent in two of the last 30 years. Excessive regulation of its labor market is the primary factor for that poor performance.

The blind zealots who want governments to control everything are also deniers of facts.

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According to this Corvette Blogger piece, Chevrolet/GM delivered 6,611 Corvettes in the first quarter of 2021. Corvette deliveries have not been that high in a first quarter since 2015. In addition, all four GM US brands (Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, GMC) had double-digit year-over-year increases in retail sales. Oh, they’re not selling a lot of electric vehicles.

 

See the source image

 

From a Chevrolet dealer a picture of a 2021 Corvette in Elkhart Lake Blue Metallic. Of course, my first Corvette was in Blue, Electron Blue Metallic, to be precise:

 

 

C5 and C6 Corvettes are now among the best performance car bargains anywhere. This is not a Frugal Friday post, but one can find C5 Z06 Corvettes in the $25,000-$30,000 range and C6 Z06 Corvettes in the high 30s. The C6 Z06 was powered by an engine of legendary displacement, 427 cubic inches, even though it was based on small-block architecture. Output was 505 HP/470 LB-FT of torque. C’mon, a 500 HP car for less than 40 grand! What more could you want?!

Obviously from autogespot, a picture of a C6 Z06 Corvette:

 

See the source image

 

I will always have a soft spot for C5 Corvettes as one of those was my first Vette, but I have grown to like the looks of the C6 more. I would probably rate the C6 as the third best looking generation, behind the C2 and the C7. Anyone else care to offer their hierarchy of Corvette generation looks?

 

#MondayMusings

#SayNoToExcessiveRegulation

#C8CorvetteSales

#C5C6CorvetteBargains

#C6CorvetteZ06

#somanycarsjustonelife

#disaffectedmusings

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Slippery Sunday

For those of you who celebrate today as a holiday, I hope the day is infused with meaning and fulfillment. For the rest of you, I hope you have a good day, too.

 

Originally, I was going to show a table of blog views over six-month periods. I don’t know why I think any of you is even one percent as interested in such things as I am, but that won’t stop me from writing about it, even if I don’t show any tables.

Suffice to say that the six months that ended March 31st had the highest average of daily views in the three-plus year history of this blog. The average was 33 percent higher than the average for the previous six months, which itself was 80 percent higher than the average for six months prior.

Blog views for October, 2020 – March, 2021 were 172 percent higher than for October, 2018 – March, 2019. I began this blog in January of 2018; blog views made a quantum leap up in October of that year so I used the six months beginning then as the base period for comparisons.

All that being said, I believe that the last six months will represent the high water mark for views and visitors. With about 20 percent of the US population being fully vaccinated against the damn virus–and with 88 percent of blog views originating from the US–I suspect people will spend less time on their computer or mobile device reading blogs.

Last April, at the beginning of the “lockdown,” blog views made a quantum leap up; remember that the average number of daily views increased by 80 percent for April, 2020 – September, 2020 compared to the previous six months.

I suspect that a year from now I will no longer be blogging. I turned off the automatic renewal of my WordPress account, for example.

My fount of ideas continues to run dry and if fewer people are reading, then I probably will lose my motivation to write. Remember that I have actually been blogging regularly for five years, three-plus with this blog and the last two years I had a blog on the Evil Empire.

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Once again, today’s automotive “topic” was inspired by looking through The American Auto by the Auto Editors of Consumer Guide®. I don’t know why I just realized this so concretely today, but I am a big fan of American cars of the immediate post-fin era, say 1961 to 1965. Yes, I am also a big fan of cars like the Jaguar E-Type, which was introduced in 1961.

Some relevant photos from the aforementioned book:

 

 

Of course, the middle of this period saw what for me is the most significant model year in American automotive history, 1963. In this post I related something that happened during a Mecum auction. Stephen Cox asked the crew if they could have any three cars given to them for free, but they all had to be from the same model year, what cars and what year would they choose. For me, this was an easy answer and here are the three cars from 1963 with photos from Mecum:

 

See the source image

See the source image

See the source image

 

In case you don’t know, [Everyone Together] or even if you do, from top to bottom: Buick Riviera, Chevrolet Corvette Split-Window, Studebaker Avanti. When I published that post last July, many of you graciously offered your own choices. Oh, if you are a car fan I highly recommend The American Auto and Encyclopedia of American Cars, both by the Auto Editors of Consumer Guide®. As far as I know, the latter has not been updated since 2006, but the former has an edition published as recently as 2015.

Once again, and as is always the case, I open the floor to thoughtful comments.

 

#SlipperySunday

#PostFinEra

#TheAmericanAutobytheAutoEditorsofConsumerGuide®

#somanycarsjustonelife

#disaffectedmusings

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Well, at least the WordPress editor didn’t act up today…

 

 

Hallelujah?

My wonderful wife and I received our second shots against the damn virus yesterday. Other than arms more sore than after the first shot, we are experiencing no side effects.

The fact that so many people are refusing to get vaccinated is quite frightening. The virus will continue to have hosts, to replicate, to mutate and, eventually, to become less affected by vaccines.

Five minutes on the Internet does not give anyone the knowledge of a bright person who has spent decades in medicine. Why people believe politicians before scientists is beyond me. I go back to Henry Kissinger’s famous remark, “Ninety percent of politicians give the other ten percent a bad name.” How about, “Idolizing a politician is like believing the stripper really likes you.”

Still, given the CDC guidance from yesterday that fully vaccinated people can resume travel with “low risk” I am hopeful of soon returning to some activities that we have avoided for more than a year. Maybe we’ll get out of the Arizona heat for a few days in August and head to Monterey, California for the Mecum auction.

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Don’t ask me why the 1940 model year is today’s automotive topic. The idea came to me while I was perusing The American Auto by the Auto Editors of Consumer Guide® and this picture “spoke” to me:

 

 

Given my inspiration for writing about cars began with a picture from the same book, I decided that ignoring such “motivation” would be foolish. Graham had introduced America’s first moderately priced supercharged car in 1934 and then America’s first supercharged six-cylinder car in 1936.

Graham partnered with Norman De Vaux, General Manager of Huppmobile, who had purchased the tooling for the 1936-38 Cord 810/812 Westchester sedan, to bring out the supercharged Hollywood, but with rear-wheel drive instead of the Cord front-wheel drive. Hupp also sold a similar car, the Hupp Skylark.

1940 was the last year Cadillac sold automobiles equipped with a V-16 engine. All V-16 Cadillacs had a price of over $5,000 in 1940 while no other Cadillac cost even $4,000.

Even though Cadillac showed a concept car with a V-16 motor in 2003, the beautiful if prosaically named Sixteen, we will almost certainly never again see a production 16-cylinder automobile engine. Not that many years ago, when I still had daydreams about starting a car company, I thought about a hypercar powered by a 2,500 HP V-16 engine. Ah yes, what is life without dreams?

Of course, the 1940 model year saw the introduction of one of the most significant innovations in automotive history, the Hydra-Matic automatic transmission. Jointly developed by Oldsmobile and Cadillac, the Hydra-Matic was first available in Oldsmobiles in May, 1939 as a 1940 model year car.

I have not been able to find out what percentage of 1940 Oldsmobiles were equipped with Hydra-Matic, but I can tell you that 30 percent of Cadillacs had it in 1941, the first model year it was available in the Caddy. I can also tell you that in the truncated 1942 model year, almost half of all Oldsmobiles had Hydra-Matic.

I will once again offer my opinion that in the US the traditional manual transmission is already dead on its feet, but no one has had the decency to knock it over and to give it a proper burial. More new electric vehicles are sold here than vehicles with standard manuals, and the share of electrics has plateaued, at least for now.

Yes, Cadillac is offering a manual in its Blackwing cars, but in my opinion that’s strictly to appeal to those who buy German cars, a segment of the market that still has a double-digit percentage of drivers who want a manual. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

 

Of course, the clouds of war were already visible in the US by 1940. It was in that year that President Franklin Delano Roosevelt appointed General Motors President William Knudsen as Chairman of the Office of Production Management and member of the National Defense Advisory Commission. Knudsen, who was born in Denmark, served with distinction for the whopping salary of $1 a year.

In January 1942, Knudsen received a commission as a lieutenant general in the US Army, the only civilian ever to join the army at such a high initial rank, and appointed as Director of Production, Office of the Under Secretary of War. In that capacity, he worked as a consultant and a troubleshooter for the War Department.

 

#Hallelujah?

#GetVaccinated!

#MecumMontereyAuction

#1940AmericanAutomobiles

#GrahamHollywood

#WilliamKnudsen

#somanycarsjustonelife

#disaffectedmusings

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April Fools

I was originally going to write an April Fools joke to start today’s post. You know, my wonderful wife and I won the Powerball last night! Psych! April Fools! Believe me, in the 1-in-300,000,000 chance we did win, I wouldn’t write about it here, even in jest.

In any event, a frightening depression has enveloped me in the last few hours. One would think that being just hours away from our second and “final” vaccine shot against the damn virus would bolster my spirits. I don’t think this funk has anything to do with vaccines or the damn virus.

Perhaps it’s the apparent speed with which the first quarter of this year disappeared that is the source of my “blues.” Every week, every month seems to go faster than the last. Unlike Secretariat’s amazing performance in the 1973 Kentucky Derby–when every quarter-mile was faster than the previous one, and yes, that does mean his fastest quarter mile was the last one–this acceleration of time with time is no prize.

Anyway, I don’t know why my mood has dropped so sharply. I do know that it makes writing today’s post much more difficult. The continuing issues with the WordPress editor not keeping the toolbar on the screen as the post lengthens and not updating the word count in real time are also annoying as hell.

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On this day in 2010 the Chevrolet Camaro was named World Car Design of the Year. The award was presented to Chevrolet at the New York International Auto Show. From newcars.com (not a secure site) a picture of a 2010 Camaro:

 

See the source image

 

I think the newer Camaros are sharp looking cars and are a great update of the first-generation design. They have not done that well in the market place, however, being outsold by the Ford Mustang and Dodge Challenger. Rumors persist the car will be discontinued in the next one or two model years.

In the US, sales of the newer Camaros (fifth- and sixth-generation, if you must know) peaked at about 88,000 in 2011, the second year of production. By 2018, sales dropped to about 50,000 and to fewer than 30,000 for 2020. As a comparison, Ford sold 61,090 Mustangs in 2020 and Dodge sold 52,955 Challengers. All of the ponycars have seen their sales decline, but the Camaro decline is the worst of the three.

Some have argued that the Corvette and Camaro have too much overlap and cannibalize each other’s sales. FCA, now Stellantis, gave the Challenger more breathing room by making the Charger a four-door sedan. The Mustang has a status all its own.

(On a tangent and speaking of the Corvette: in February the average price for a new one was over $86,000. Remember that the base price is barely $60,000. I believe this means the Corvette is taking customers away from other performance cars that are still more expensive than the Vette, even at $86,000, and that the C8 is very popular.)

I think the writing is on the wall for the Camaro. The Mustang is safe, but will almost certainly become a hybrid or electric car in the not too distant future. As for the Challenger, its future is unclear in the wake of the merger with PSA Group that formed the new company, Stellantis.

Change is inevitable, but that doesn’t mean all change is all good.

 

#AprilFools

#ChevroletCamaro

#somanycarsjustonelife

#disaffectedmusings

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One Down, Three To Go

Incredibly, the first quarter of what was supposed to be the first year after the damn virus ends today. Of course, this is not a post-damn virus year, anyway, at least not yet. I’ll write this again: The more hosts for the damn virus, the more it replicates. The more it replicates, the more it mutates. That’s simple virology. The virus has no intent; it’s just doing what viruses do and we have to respect its biology.

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With one day left, March of 2021 has had the second highest number of monthly views of Disaffected Musings. Thanks for reading.

Of course, the Barrett-Jackson broadcasts and the related search for Cristy Lee have played a large role in the “elevated” number of views. I wonder if the June Barrett-Jackson auction will have the same effect.

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The sub-head from this piece from Road and Track reads, “The next-generation of road-going Z looks almost nearly exactly like the Z Proto.” From the article:

 

“Back when Nissan revealed its new generation of Z sports car in September 2020, it told the world the design was ‘close to final.’ It seems the company wasn’t lying. We’ve finally gotten our first look at what looks to be the production version of Nissan’s 400Z, and design-wise, it’s nearly identical to the Z Proto shown last year.”

 

You want to see some photos? OK:

 

nissan z photos

false

 

The 400Z will be available with either a manual or automatic transmission. Nissan has confirmed the output of the 400 engine will be higher than the 332 HP of the 370Z. I hope the engine has even more added torque and that the automatic transmission is not a CVT type. Maybe it never was on the 370.

The Datsun/Nissan Z cars are among the most important and most influential in automotive history. It was the original 240Z that really put Japanese cars on the map in the US. In 1969, the model year before the introduction of the 240, Datsun sold about 60,000 cars in the US. By 1974, that number had increased to 185,000 of which about 50,000 were Z cars (the 260, to be exact).

For a long time, I thought my wonderful wife would end up with a 350 or 370 convertible. She had a 300ZX and she really liked it. The Z cars are not expensive and they are not slugs. Still, she loves her 2018 Corvette convertible so a Z car is not in the cards.

Do any of you have any opinions about the Z car in general and/or the 400Z in particular?

 

#OneDownThreeToGo

#Nissan400Z

#somanycarsjustonelife

#disaffectedmusings

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Take Solace In Small Comforts

Yesterday I had my fifth and final visit of the month at the Mayo Clinic. My appointment time was 2:45, but I was able to speak with the first of the two doctors with whom I would interact at 2:25. That’s a small comfort.

The specialist (the second doctor) overseeing my care informed me I do have two minor physiological abnormalities that are likely the source of the symptoms that have plagued me for years. (He didn’t say anything about my psychological abnormalities. I guess he was being kind. 😉) He said that I as long as I am asymptomatic, like I am now, there’s nothing to worry about. He also assured me that if I became symptomatic again, he would be happy to investigate further. In essence, he said mine was not a serious situation, which, of course, is of some comfort.

With my genome and history I can never take my health for granted. Of course, no one really should. Still, I think I can relax a bit, at least for a little while.

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Here is something I never thought I’d see:

 

 

That’s not exactly what you might think it is. It’s actually a picture of a 1:18 scale model of a Studebaker Gran Turismo Hawk on eBay. Don’t ask me why I was looking for this, but I found it. As one might suspect, these are not readily available and, apparently, often sell quickly. They’re also not cheap, selling for between $200 and $300.

I am too old for car models, right? When I was young I used to build models, usually of jet fighters but sometimes of automobiles. When watching the Barrett-Jackson and Mecum auctions on TV, the hosts will on occasion refer to either a past or current “toy” model of a car on the block.

It’s not like my office is a blank canvas with lots of space for knick-knacks, either. In our Arizona home, my office space is smaller than it was in our home in the mid-Atlantic. I have yet to find the space to display many items. Still, I have to admit I am very tempted. I guess I should take solace in the fact that I can probably buy this if I want to.

 

#TakeSolaceInSmallComforts

#StudebakerGranTurismoHawkModel

#somanycarsjustonelife

#disaffectedmusings

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Hey, WordPress! Fix the issue with the toolbar not staying on the screen!

Moonday Musings

Nights around the full moon are much brighter here than they were in the mid-Atlantic. If I were more adventurous–and could see well enough at night to drive–I would find an even darker place close to home and take some photographs.

There is so much light in the sky around the full moon, seemingly due to the relative lack of the “light pollution” that exists elsewhere, that it almost seems as if it’s nearing dawn. Yes, I am once again blathering on about living in the desert. Yes, when it’s really hot here in the summer I might change my tune. Hey, let me just get to the summer.

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Thanks to everyone who offered birthday wishes to my wonderful wife and sweet sister. While, at times, I complain about what I perceive to be a “lack” of readers given how I feel about the quality of this blog, I am grateful for the loyal readers and for those who regularly comment.

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Four days until our second vaccine shot against the damn virus, so it’s only about 18 days until “full” immunity. It can’t come soon enough as this state’s governor has ended mask mandates, prematurely in my opinion.

To celebrate my wonderful wife’s birthday we went to a local bakery we have wanted to try since we first noticed it months ago. Sadly, neither employee was wearing a mask. The sign outside read, “Masks Optional.”

I know we’re all sick of masks and social distancing. We all want to go back to life before the damn virus. I’ll just offer this: no one wants to be the last soldier to die in a war. We are close to the finish line, but it’s too early to raise our arms in triumph. Many other parts of the world that are behind the US (and Israel and the UK) in vaccinating their citizens are experiencing more outbreaks.

The more hosts for the damn virus, the more it replicates. The more it replicates, the more it mutates. That’s simple virology. The virus has no intent; it’s just doing what viruses do and we have to respect its biology.

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On this day in 2009 Rick Wagoner resigned as Chairman and CEO of General Motors. His resignation was requested by the White House as a condition for more government aid. Remember what was happening at this time. The world economy was struggling from the “Financial Crisis” and “Great Recession.” The US Big Three automakers were teetering towards bankruptcy. Indeed, GM would file for bankruptcy on June 1, 2009, not long after Wagoner resigned. (Chrysler filed for bankruptcy on April 30.)

In 2005, General Motors reported a loss of $10.6 billion. For fiscal year 2007, those losses had exploded to $38.7 billion and the economic meltdown had not really started. Obviously, when it did GM no longer had the cash reserves it needed to ride out the crisis.

A blog post is not the proper venue for discussing what GM did wrong. Suffice to say the roots of the collapse go back to long before Wagoner became Chairman/CEO in 2000. Still, it was during Wagoner’s tenure that this “vehicle” was introduced:

 

See the source image

 

This, of course, is a picture of the infamous Pontiac Aztek. Pulitzer Prize-winning automotive critic and syndicated columnist Dan Neil, in naming it one of the 50 worst cars of all time, said the Aztek “violated one of the principal rules of car design: we like cars that look like us. With its multiple eyes and supernumerary nostrils, the Aztek looks deformed and scary, something that dogs bark at and cathedrals employ to ring bells.”

Neil wasn’t the only person/entity that named the Aztek one of the worst cars of all time. Edmunds, Time and The Daily Telegraph are just three of the many places where the vehicle was named among the worst ever. Supposedly, General Motors expected to sell 75,000 Azteks a year, but never even reached 30,000–its reported break-even level–in any year.

In an automotive industry where the US market had been “breached” by foreign competition–and I am not suggesting that was a bad thing–the Big Three had much less margin for error than in the past. Missteps like the Aztek were much more damaging to those companies than even the Edsel had been for Ford. For example, in the first model year after the demise of the Edsel, Ford led all US makes in sales. (The Edsel’s last truncated year had been 1960; Ford led in sales in 1961.)

I may be an old fogy reactionary, but I think the “damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead” approach to EVs by GM and Ford is misguided. The number of ICE-powered vehicles in the US is in the hundreds of millions and over a billion around the world. Whatever happened to companies providing what the customers want?! People are not buying EVs, at least not now.

No one knows what the future holds, but it’s highly likely it will not turn out as we expect. That’s what history tells us.

 

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