Monday Musings

As you ponder this picture of our family room table:

 

And as we all ponder this beautiful, but cold picture from this morning:

Please consider this question:

If you have a preference, about what would you rather read, Studebaker/Packard, Corvettes, or something else? In the meantime:

 

From cargurus.com a picture of the type of car I am very likely to buy this year, a 2016 Corvette Z06 with the 8L90E automatic transmission. The caption is incorrect, by the way. The second trim level on the Z06 is 2LZ, not 2LT.

What does this figure represent? $54,234,000…OK, no way you could know. That’s the gross amount GM/Chevrolet earned for the 2016 model year by making the manual transmission standard and charging for the automatic. Of the 40,689 Corvettes sold in 2016, 31,440 (77%) were sold with an automatic transmission. As a $1,725 option that generates the $54,234,000 figure.

The fact that it took GM/Chevrolet so long to charge for the automatic actually doesn’t speak well for the company. For the C5 the automatic was standard and for the entire run 68% of C5 Corvettes were equipped with automatics. According to The Genuine Corvette Black Book, the automatic was not made an option with a price until the second year of the C6, 2006. What the manual transmission zealots don’t realize (or don’t want to acknowledge) is that the automatic has been the majority of Corvettes sold every year since 1972.

OK, why 2016? It will cost less than a 2017 or newer model and if I buy a 2016 car with a high enough VIN it shouldn’t be plagued by the torque converter issues that affected many early 8L90E cars. My wonderful wife’s 2015 Corvette was so affected and the torque converter was replaced in 2017. Yes, that was a warrantied repair, but it’s still a hassle.

I am hoping I can find an orange car, but only 251 2016 Z06 coupes came in Daytona Sunrise Orange. Between Long Beach Red and Torch Red (the car pictured is Torch Red), 2,372 Z06 coupes were built. I have eliminated a convertible because I just don’t think soft-tops are safe although the Z06 ragtop looks awesome, in my opinion, with the top down.

Anyone have any thoughts they’d like to share? I would very much like to read them and so would other Disaffected Musings readers.

 

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Odds and Ends

No, that is not the name of the shared practice of a psychiatrist and a proctologist…

 

My 1969 Topps Frank Robinson baseball card. I collected baseball cards when I was young and had all or virtually all of the 1969 Topps set, but this card does not come from that collection. Unfortunately, my original set was ruined by Tropical Storm Agnes in 1972 as the cards were in a box in a basement closet that was the only part of the house that saw significant water ingress.

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What was the Motor Trend car of the year fifty years ago? How about this?

 

https://i2.wp.com/st.hotrod.com/uploads/sites/21/2015/04/1969-plymouth-road-runner-front-passenger-side2.jpg

From hotrods.com a picture of a 1969 Plymouth Road Runner. The Road Runner, introduced in 1968, was the Chrysler Corporation effort at bringing an affordable muscle car to the market.

What’s a little odd about the announcement of the Car of the Year for 1969 is that the article talked a lot about how the car market had changed so much since the inception of the award in 1951. Here, see for yourself:

 

“How do we choose the Car of the Year? In 1951, when Motor Trend originated the award, selection was relatively easy because the American automobile industry was structured rather simply. When you talked of Ford, for instance, there was Standard or Deluxe trim in two-door, four-door, convertible, and station wagon body styles. The engine was 100 hp V-8 or 95 hp six and you had your choice of three-speed standard transmission or the just-introduced Fordomatic. The option list consisted of radio, heater and white sidewalls.

Now look at Ford for 1969 Galaxie, Fairlane, Mustang, Falcon, Thunderbird and the models of each size car run on forever. Engines: 428, 427, 390, 351, 302, and so forth. Transmission: Three-speed, four-speed, close-ratio four-speed automatic, and all connected to a wide selection of axle ratios. Options: radio, power steering, power brakes, air conditioning, and on and on. in short, the simple car of eighteen years ago has become a very sophisticated piece of machinery. in 1951, Cadillac was a far step above Ford, but today Fords LTD not only challenges Cadillac in ride and quality but comes very close to matching the price when fully loaded.”

 

The Road Runner was available with the legendary 426 Hemi, the Elephant, for 1969, but the base engine was the 383 cubic-inch 4-barrel rated at 335 HP/425 LB-FT of torque. About 82,000 Road Runners were built in 1969; about 2,000 of those were convertibles. The car was available with either a four-speed manual or three-speed Torqueflite automatic.

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If I wrote this on Twitter I would probably receive a visit from the Secret Service. I might, anyway.

To those politicians who want to enact confiscatory taxation regimes in order to fund government boondoggles and to remove the incentive for people to be productive:

Keep your hands out of our pockets or we will cut off your hands.

 

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Goodbye, Number 20

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

– John Donne

 

A comment and reply from yesterday’s post:

David Banner

You do have amazing timing. R.I.P. Frank Robinson.

 

rulesoflogic
rulesoflogic

I wish I didn’t.

 

The news of Frank Robinson’s passing is very sad to me, obviously. Even though we knew he was ill that knowledge does not anesthetize us. I am going to be a guest on a radio talk show tomorrow in my hometown to talk about Frank. I really don’t know what I am going to say because words are simply inadequate.

Here is a link to the post about Frank Robinson on his birthday last year. I will always be grateful for his counsel and his friendship. Unlike most baseball people of his generation Frank had an open mind about the use of statistics in baseball, despite some of the public comments he made while he was manager of the Nationals. I have many stories I could share, but perhaps a bit later.

https://baseballhall.org/sites/default/files/Robinson_Frank_Plaque_NBL.png

From baseballhall.org a picture of Frank’s Hall of Fame plaque. I am proud to have known him.

#FrankRobinson

 

Throwback Thursday, Why Not? Edition

Who said Throwback Thursday had to be about cars every week?

Thirty years ago I was a part of this team that almost won the AL Eastern Division. Why is that a big deal? What does “Why Not?” mean?

My first year with the Orioles, 1988, we were awful. We set a “record” by losing our first 21 games of the season and finished with the worst record in baseball at 54-107 (in case you don’t know, or even if you do, that means the team won 54 games and lost 107).

In 1989 the Orioles led the division for most of the season (118 days in first, to be exact) and had a chance to win the division at the end in a head-to-head series with Toronto, the eventual division champions. Why Not? had become the motto of the season as in why couldn’t a team go from awful to champions in one year.

One of my favorite memories from that or any other season actually happened just before Opening Day. We were in Washington, DC playing an exhibition game. After the game I was in the clubhouse and Frank Robinson, Hall of Famer and Orioles’ manager in 1989, handed me something and asked, “What do you think?” It was the lineup for Opening Day. Of course, the stat guy in me said, “Phil Bradley leading off? He’s 4-for-26 with 14 strikeouts against Roger Clemens.” Frank said, “I know, but I have to bat him leadoff on Opening Day or it will send him a bad message.”

After we talked about the lineup Frank went somewhere else. It dawned on me that my favorite baseball player growing up had just asked for my opinion on the lineup he made. The Orioles beat the Red Sox and Roger Clemens on Opening Day, 1989. For a team that had started the previous season 0-21, winning the opener was very important.

The Orioles didn’t really choke down the stretch in 1989 finishing with a respectable 33-26 record from August 1 through the end of the season. The Blue Jays just played better: 37-20 for the same period.

Unfortunately, the 1989 season was probably not a true indication of that team’s ability. For 1990-91 the Orioles had a 143-180 record. Still, that didn’t take away from the amazing experience of 1989.

It is a GREAT feeling to be right when the rest of the world is wrong. If only I could do it again…

Thanks to Lon Babby for sending the photo.

 

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No Excuse

I was going to write about this topic this week, anyway, but something in my Twitter feed (@RulesofLogic1) pushed me to write about this today.

In 1937 the Nazi German government gave its highest honor for foreigners to Benito Mussolini. Who received the “award” in 1938? Henry Ford!!

This CNBC article is about how the mayor of Dearborn, Michigan tried to censor an article about Henry Ford and that the attempt to censor has received some national attention. Bill McGraw, former editor of the Dearborn Historian, wrote Ford “was also a man who mass produced hate.” The Dearborn mayor ordered all the copies of the Autumn 2018 issue, Volume 55, No. 3 confiscated and, days later, fired McGraw.

Henry Ford published a “newspaper” called the Dearborn Independent that seemingly wrote about nothing except blaming all of the world’s problems on “the international Jewish conspiracy.” The “newspaper” claimed that Queen Isabella of Spain (sponsor of Christopher Columbus and his voyages to America) had been a “Jewish front for the discovery of America,” that Jewish bankers were responsible for the assassination of Abraham Lincoln, and that Jews were responsible for the popularization of “Negro Jazz,” which the paper called “moron music.”

Henry Ford was a despicable, miserable excuse for a human being. People who blindly worship him or quote him as some kind of oracle are almost certainly ignorant or hateful or both. Luzzim Brenna Vee Da Keen!

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It’s difficult to calm down after writing about such a loathsome person, but I’ll try…

It is unusual to see this type of car offered for sale on Bring a Trailer:

1932 Packard Eight Series 902 Coupe

From the listing a picture of this stunning 1932 Packard Eight Series 902 Coupe offered for sale. As I write this, the current high bid is $50,000 with two days left in the auction.

A few years ago I would have thought nothing of this car. Recently, though, I have developed an affinity for pre-war classics. I interpret “pre-war” as meaning 1930-ish to 1941; others would have a slightly different definition.

Packard built about 3,700 Series 902 cars in 1932. The Series 902 models were powered by an inline 8-cylinder engine displacing 320 cubic inches and rated at 110 HP. This engine was the smallest and least powerful of the three Packard offered in 1932. My best estimate is that Packard built fewer than 17,000 cars in model year 1932, which was the worst year of the Great Depression. Real US GDP (meaning adjusted for inflation) fell almost 13%! The unemployment rate reached 25%! By comparison, for the “Great Recession” the worst real GDP growth was -2.9% in 2009; the worst unemployment rate was 10% in October, 2009.

 

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If you’re here after clicking on a link in the Packard forum, welcome. Please bookmark the home page, return often and tell your friends! Thanks.

 

 

 

 

 

Tuesday Trip

For me the best news of Super Bowl weekend was the election of Ed Reed to the Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility. Nobody besides me knew this before now, but Reed is my favorite Raven ever. I had the good fortune to watch almost every game he played in a Ravens uniform.

On the wristband that he wore in the 2011 AFC Championship game, Patriots’ QB Tom Brady had this written: “Find 20 [Ed Reed’s number] on every play.”

Here is praise from Bill Belichick as quoted in this article:

“One of the greatest plays I ever saw him make was against [Peyton] Manning,” Belichick says. “He lined up on the weak side of the formation, and on the snap of the ball, he turned and ran to the middle of the field like he was going to play in the middle of the field.”

“Reed knew that when he went to the middle of the field, Peyton would come back to the X [split end or weak-side wide receiver], so he ran to the middle of the field, and without even looking at the quarterback, turned and ran back over to the sideline and intercepted it.”

While Ray Lewis was a great player, his antics turned me off at times. I also disliked his incessant Bible quoting. In the same way I don’t like the mixing of politics and sports, I don’t like the mixing of religion and sports. Reed spoke much less and let his play speak for him.

Reed will never see this, but Congratulations! We will not see the likes of you again.

See the source image

From bleacherreport.com a picture of Reed holding the Lombardi Trophy after the Ravens defeated the 49ers in Super Bowl 47. (Sorry, I think the Roman Numeral thing is dumb.)

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Have you heard about this? Jerry Seinfeld is being sued because a Porsche sold out of his collection at an auction is alleged to be fake. The lawsuit alleges that Seinfeld apologized and promised a full refund in a voicemail message, but the refund has never been made, which is why the suit was filed.

I don’t really believe in karma, but maybe a Jew shouldn’t be collecting Porsches no matter how rich and famous he is.

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I haven’t forgotten about Ultimate Garage 2.0. As this blog is now in its second year of existence, the time for the reveal grows closer. I will not divulge the number, but if/when Disaffected Musings reaches a certain, consistent level of daily views I will probably begin the reveal.

In the meantime, please start thinking about your Ultimate Garage and feel free to send it to me in a comment. As for me, here’s a contender I have mentioned before:

A picture by yours truly of a Lexus LC. I think it is an amazingly beautiful car and I have had the good fortune of driving it.

 

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Monday Musings, Post Super Bowl Edition

Congratulations to the Patriots, I guess. I suspect most people watching the game, especially outside of New England, were rooting for the Rams and I was as well. However, I was not particularly vested in the outcome.

As much of a Packers fan as I am and as much as I admire Vince Lombardi, grudgingly I must acknowledge that Bill Belichick is the greatest coach in NFL history. Nine Super Bowl appearances (and six wins) in 18 seasons is just amazing.

I had the good fortune to attend one Super Bowl in person. As Director of Baseball Operations for the team whose stadium in which the Super Bowl was played one season I had the opportunity to watch the game from a “privileged” venue. Unlike yesterday’s game I was very much vested in the outcome because it pitted one of my two favorite teams against one of my least favorite teams at that time.

Nervously pacing in the box for the entire game I finally said out loud and to no one in particular, “How do NFL head coaches do this every week?” The President and CEO of the baseball team for which I worked answered, “Because they don’t care as much as you do.” That remark caused many people in the box to erupt in laughter. Even I had to laugh.

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https://i0.wp.com/carswithmuscles.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/1967-pontiac-gto-hardtop.jpg

From carswithmuscles.com a picture of a 1967 Pontiac GTO.

As regular readers know my first car was a ’67 Goat. As they should also know I am not exactly blessed with good dreams. Last night I dreamt that I had found and restored my first car. However, something went amiss and I was unable to open either door. In disgust I left the garage. Some time later I returned and noticing a small reddish-brown stain on the driver side front window I decided to see if the door would open. To my amazement, it did and so did the passenger side door. I was also able to remove the stain with my thumbnail. That type of happy twist is rare in my dreams.

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I try to learn something new every day. To me, learning is entertainment and most of what passes for entertainment these days is not remotely entertaining to me.

My wonderful wife and I were out looking at cars yesterday—a not infrequent pastime of ours—and decided to drive to the nearest CarMax to see if we could find anything interesting on the lot. To our surprise it was open on a Sunday. In fact, it’s open every Sunday. I have been told on more than one occasion that in the state in which I live it is illegal to actually buy a car on Sunday, which is why the car dealers here are closed. I asked a salesman how CarMax was open every Sunday given what I thought to be true about a Sunday prohibition and he informed me that wasn’t the case. He said other dealers are closed on Sunday just to give their employees a day off. He did elaborate that in some counties in a neighboring state car dealers were basically forbidden to be open on Sunday. Well, I did it…a paragraph with seven Sundays: a week of Sundays.

 

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Pre Super Bowl Post

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I almost certainly will not be posting tomorrow as no one reads blogs on Super Bowl Sunday. I am almost completely ambivalent about the outcome, but I guess I am rooting for the Rams.

This will be the 51st Super Bowl I will have watched. I didn’t watch the first two. I also have skipped large parts of many of the previous Super Bowls.

My hire date as a full-time employee for the Orioles was January 1, 1988. The Super Bowl that month involved two teams I loathed at the time: the Broncos and the Redskins. I was busy writing the brief and preparing 95% of the exhibits for a salary arbitration case. I only watched the second quarter; the Redskins scored 35 points to take a 35-10 halftime lead. I figured the game was over, I disliked both teams and I had a lot of work to do. As is usually the case, the two parties settled on a contract before the arbitration hearing, but not before I had done a lot of work.

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Twenty-five years ago was 1994. From History of the American Auto by the Auto Editors of Consumer Guide® here are the top ten US makes in calendar-year sales for 1994:

Ford 1,369,268
Chevrolet/Geo 1,004,157
Pontiac 586,343
Buick 546,836
Oldsmobile 423,847
Mercury 390,407
Dodge 354,174
Saturn 286,003
Cadillac 210,686
Plymouth 197,813

Five of the top ten makes from just 25 years ago are no longer in production. As I have written somewhere else, Pontiac consistently outsold Buick in the US, but when GM bankruptcy and reorganization came the fact that Buick is popular in China kept that make alive while dooming Pontiac.

 

https://static.cargurus.com/images/site/2007/04/01/23/47/1994_pontiac_firebird_2_dr_formula_hatchback-pic-61381-640x480.jpeg

From cargurus.com a picture of a 1994 Pontiac Firebird Formula. About 51,000 Firebirds in total were produced for model year 1994. The standard engine in the Formula was a 350 cubic-inch V8 rated at 275 HP, not bad for the day. I would still much rather have a first-generation Firebird like this:

 

https://dealeraccelerate-all.s3.amazonaws.com/smt/images/5/3/2/532/7537_f7460a9dd1_low_res.jpg

From smokymountaintraders.com a picture of a 1968 Firebird. By the way, Pontiac produced about 107,000 Firebirds for the 1968 model year.

 

If you’re watching, enjoy the Super Bowl.

Be well.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Friday Farrago

First a test to see if I can upload media files other than pictures:

 

 

I think this file will only work with Apple devices and I won’t know if it works until the post is published. If you’re viewing this on an Apple device please feel free to try it and then please let me know if it works. (It worked on my Windows PC! Readers have confirmed the file playing on non-Apple devices. I am the person playing the keyboard not very well although I can say this was completely improvised and recorded in December, 2006.)

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I have not followed pro basketball in 35+ years. However, I have just re-ordered Loose Balls by Terry Pluto. The book is an oral history of the American Basketball Association, the league where players like Julius Erving and George Gervin began their pro careers.

I had to re-order it because I loaned my original copy to my best friend, Dr. Zal, and during his recent visit we realized that he has had the book for quite some time. I told him to keep it and I would buy it again. I am reading it again (for about the 10th time, can anyone say OCD?!) and am enjoying it immensely.

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From this CNBC article comes these words:

“I talk to Chinese economists who tell me privately many of the things the U.S. demands is actually better for China; intellectual property protection, not putting state subsidies for state-owned enterprises. The irony is what the U.S. is forcing China to do in the short term will be good for the U.S., in the long term it’s better for China.”

Those are the words of Robert Kuhn, an advisor to the Chinese government and state-owned companies.

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From this article by Hagerty comes this list of the cars with the lowest “Hagerty Vehicle Rating” at present. This rating is not a measure of the quality of the cars, but is an attempt to measure how the values are changing relative to the overall collector car market. The lower the rating, the worse it is. Brace yourself, American classic car fans:

 

Vehicle
1968-1971 Mercedes-Benz 280SL 9
1946-1948 Ford Deluxe 11
1949-1954 Pontiac Chieftain 12
1946-1948 Ford Super Deluxe 13
1946-1948 Chevrolet Stylemaster 14
1971-1976 Cadillac DeVille 15
1964-1967 Sunbeam Tiger 16
1949-1954 Chrysler New Yorker 16
1967-1971 Mercedes-Benz 280SE 17
1949-1954 Chrysler Windsor 17
1949-1953 Oldsmobile 88 17

 

Other cars in the bottom 25 include the C2 Corvette and the 1965-1970 Shelby GT350. Some think that for these two cars the reason the values are falling is simply that they had become unsustainably expensive and are now settling into their true “equilibrium” values.

For those looking to buy some of these “fallen angels” if the Hagerty assessment is accurate then this might be a good time to buy. Of course, in the stock market people are always being warned against trying “to catch a falling knife.”

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What do you think of this car?

 

https://i.ytimg.com/vi/aIUmkWAqC9c/maxresdefault.jpg

 

From doovi.com a picture of a 2016 Chevrolet Corvette Z06. I tried to capture a photo of such a car from CarMax, but they don’t allow their photos to be captured.

The reason I am asking is that I have decided to buy a used C7 Z06. I have also decided that I am tired of going to a dealer, even a “reputable” one, and doing the negotiating song and dance. A CarMax store is not very far from where I live and CarMax has a decent selection of these cars, most of which can be transferred from somewhere else to the local CarMax for far less than I would have to pay a shipping company.

I excluded from my search any cars with more than 20,000 miles. The one that catches my eye is currently in Florida, has about 16,000 miles and would sell for less than $60,000 including the cost to ship it here. Steve Dallas has suggested that I go to Kerbeck and buy a new one, which is a good suggestion, but even with Kerbeck’s prices I can still save $20,000 by buying a late-model used one. I think the drive train warranty on these cars is 5 years/60,000 miles so a 2016 would still have that warranty coverage.

Once again, what do you think?

 

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Throwback Thursday

Before I show and write about an old car for Throwback Thursday I want to send good thoughts to Frank Robinson and his family. It was with much sadness that I learned that Frank is in hospice care and is in the “late stages of a long illness.”

Growing up in Baltimore as a sports fan, Johnny Unitas and Frank Robinson were my two athlete “heroes.” In later years I rubbed elbows with Unitas from time to time and found him most gracious.

However, my life went beyond my dreams regarding Frank Robinson as I later worked with him as a member of the Orioles’ organization. As I mentioned in this post he and I had a very good relationship. Here is an excerpt from that post:

 

He and I had a very good relationship and he told me on more than one occasion that if he were to ever become a General Manager he would give me a very high position in his “administration,” perhaps even Assistant GM. A story along those lines: one day I was walking past his office and stuck my head in to say hello. I noticed a baseball cap on his desk I had never seen before with the letters “CR” on it. I asked Frank, “Cedar Rapids?” He said, “No, Colorado Rockies.” I asked, “Are you going somewhere?” Frank replied, “No, but if I do I’m taking you with me.” You have no idea how amazing I felt after he said that.

 

https://i1.wp.com/geoffreyslive.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/frank-robinson-9460731-2-raw-620x420.jpg

From culturevie.com a picture of Frank as a player with the Orioles.

 

This is the Third Edition of Total Baseball, a baseball encyclopedia. That is Frank Robinson’s signature on his entry. He was not keen on signing autographs and I only asked him twice in the many years I knew him. Thanks for everything, Frank.

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See the source image

From vaultcars.com a picture of a 1939 Packard Twelve Roadster. This was the last model year in which Packard offered a 12-cylinder engine. This is a link to an interesting article from howstuffworks.com about the Packard Twelve and the company’s competition with Cadillac.

Packard only produced 446 Twelve models in 1939; as best as I can estimate Cadillac only produced 136 Series 90 cars with a V-16 engine in 1939. Cadillac’s last V-16 was made for the 1940 model year. In 1939 US nominal GDP was actually still a tad lower than in 1929 while real (inflation-adjusted) GDP was only a little higher than 1929. Many of the small group of people who could actually afford cars like this probably thought that discretion was the better part of valor. (That’s one of my favorite sayings, by the way. I don’t think I’ve used it in Disaffected Musings until today.)

Packard’s V-12 displaced 473 cubic inches and was rated at 175 HP.

I’m almost certain that 56packardman likes this car. What do the rest of you think?

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OK, so it wasn’t as cold as here this morning as in Minneapolis or Chicago. Still, Arizona sounds better to me everyday.

 

See?

 

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