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.


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.


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



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?






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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.


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.






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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.


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.


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.


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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Happy Birthday! Happy Birthday!

Happy Birthday to the Birthday Twins: my wonderful wife and my sweet sister! They call each other “BT,” short for Birthday Twin.


While total blog views declined a bit yesterday compared to Friday, views of Where Is Cristy Lee? increased again, by 40 percent compared to Friday and were 25 times the average daily number of views for that post for the week ending March 23rd, the day before the Barrett-Jackson broadcasts began. I guess I should be grateful for the increase in readers, but don’t want the blog to be a one-trick pony. That being said, here is a picture of Cristy Lee I don’t think has been shown before on this blog.



Speaking of Barrett-Jackson:



The highlight of the recently completed auction was the sale of a 427 Cobra Super Snake owned by Carroll Shelby himself. The car was fitted with twin superchargers and with an automatic transmission, I might add. I don’t know whether he was genuinely interested or whether it was for show, but at one point Barrett-Jackson Chairman and CEO Craig Jackson actually left the podium and moved to the auction block in order to bid on the car. The car hammered for $5 million and was not sold to Jackson.

Apparently, this was the third time this particular car was consigned to a Barrett-Jackson auction. Each time the car hammered for $5 million. I told my wonderful wife that if I could afford it I would have tried to buy that car. Only two of these were ever made and this is the only one left.

To quote Morey Amsterdam, money may not buy happiness, but with it you can be miserable in comfort. Actually, I think money can buy happiness in most ways that word can be defined, although perhaps not in every way.








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Two Z06 Years

First…if views of this blog are a proxy for the number of viewers of the current Barrett-Jackson auction, then that number increased from Wednesday to Thursday and again from Thursday to Friday. More specifically, views of Where Is Cristy Lee? followed that pattern. Overall, the total number of blog views yesterday was about 70 percent higher than the average since October, when blog views took another quantum leap up. Thanks for reading.


Incredibly, it was two years ago today that I took possession of my 2016 Corvette Z06. Overall, I have driven the car about 5,200 miles. In the 20 weeks we have lived in Arizona, I have driven the car about 1,400 miles. That means, so far, I am driving the car more here than before we moved, as I suspected would happen. Of course, I will show some photos of “The Red Rocket:”



So, do any of you think I should say “Damn The Powertrain Warranty” and schedule the engine work as soon as possible? I was waiting to be fully vaccinated, but by mid-April my wonderful wife and I will be at “maximum” immunity, barring some awful unforeseen event(s). The warranty expires in late July. The shop where I am very likely to take the car is booked 8-10 weeks out. Does it matter if I have the work done in late May or early June?

Even though I don’t need the work to be done, a life spent only doing the things that one needs to do is an unfulfilled and incomplete life, in my opinion.



After lunch yesterday, my wonderful wife and I went for a little drive. At one point, I made her stop the car so I could get out and take some pictures of our surroundings. The photo above is just one of those pictures. Once again, the view looked better in person than it does in this picture. In distilling the three-dimensional world into a two-dimensional picture, much can be lost.

By the way, even though we were probably no more than about ten miles from our house, the temperature where I took this picture (53°) was nine degrees colder than at our house (62°). It’s difficult for people who don’t live here to understand the dramatic changes in elevation in short distances and how much those changes can affect the weather. I would guess this was about 1,500 feet higher in elevation than where our house is.

Even though I might be singing a different tune in July when it’s 108° here, so far I am very happy with our new surroundings. I can certainly understand why the population of metro Phoenix has increased five-fold in the last 50 years.









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Pictures For A Friday

Einundsechzig Heute…

Yesterday’s Barrett-Jackson telecast caused even more views of Where Is Cristy Lee? than the day before. From via that post, a picture of the gorgeous Cristy Lee:


See the source image


Soixante et un aujourd’hui…

Many successful people, even baseball’s “Golden Boy,” forget on whose shoulders they have stood:



…היום שישים ואחת



Looks like part photo, part painting. Wish I could say I composed it that way, but that would be a lie. Another vista:



Sześćdziesiąt jeden dzisiaj…

Speaking of Barrett-Jackson, yesterday the first 2022 Cadillac CT5-V Blackwing was auctioned for charity and hammered at $265,000. Not knowing that particular car would be auctioned this month, I wrote about it here about three weeks ago. Here is a picture from Cadillac’s website via that post:


White CT5-V Blackwing Passenger Side View Exterior


During yesterday’s broadcast one of the announcers (I believe it was Steve Magnante) claimed the car was powered by a twin-turbo V-8. That may well be, but on Cadillac’s website is this copy: “The CT5-V Blackwing is powered by the highest output in Cadillac’s history: a 6.2L Supercharged V8 hand-built in Bowling Green, Kentucky.”

Of course, a 6.2 liter supercharged V-8 would be the LT4 that was used in the C7 Z06 Corvette and is used in the current ZL1 Camaro. I think, perhaps, Magnante (or whoever) confused the CT5-V Blackwing engine with the CT4-V Blackwing engine, which is a twin-turbo V-6. When will Cadillac stop with its awful three-character names for models?! Oh yes, I forgot…its new electric/hybrid model will be called the Lyriq. (Premature publication, sorry…)

Other than my idiosyncratic affection for the Rover P5B and my more common affinity for the Maserati Quattroporte, I am not normally a fan of 4-door cars. I have to add the Cadillac CT5-V Blackwing to that list. Does anyone have comments they’d like to make about the Blackwing?

Enjoy the weekend!








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Have You Heard?

Apparently, many people still hadn’t/haven’t heard that Cristy Lee is no longer part of the broadcasts of the Barrett-Jackson auctions. The first telecast of the current auction taking place in Scottsdale, Arizona aired yesterday on fyi (not on its former long-time TV home, Motor Trend/Velocity) and the post Where Is Cristy Lee? received its highest number of views in some time.

She has not appeared on a Barrett-Jackson broadcast since October, 2019. Yes, last year’s schedule was disrupted because of the damn virus. I’m not even going to show a picture of the lovely Ms. Lee.


From time to time I use information from the site 365 Days of Motoring in this blog. I do not like that the site is not secure, nor do I like the fact that I often cannot corroborate the “facts” there anywhere else.

For example, the site claims that the Saturn Sky was unveiled to the media on this day in 2005. However, many sources–such as Wikipedia–claim the Sky concept car was first shown at the 2005 North American International Auto Show, which used to be held in Detroit every January.

Anyway…I will use any reason to show and to write about the Sky. From The Pontiac Solstice Book by Gary Witzenburg–a book that is, quite frankly, a PR piece from General Motors–a picture of the Saturn Sky:



This is one of the few cars that I do not see more often here than back in the mid-Atlantic. I don’t know if part of the explanation is that the Sky and the Solstice were built not too far from where we used to live.

I like the way the Solstice looks, but I love the way the Sky looks. Although both cars were built on the same platform with the same drivetrain, they shared no exterior sheet metal. As almost everyone reading this knows, I think GM should have given Buick an updated and upgraded version of the Solstice/Sky as a halo car. As some of you may know, my wife test-drove a Sky (and many other cars) before she bought her Lexus SC430 in March, 2007. (Fourteen years ago?!?!)

The car she drove was not in Red Line spec and, frankly, the interior felt cheap. Still, it handled well and was decently comfortable although the interior was also a tad smaller than optimal.

Once again, I lament the virtual disappearance of cars like this from the automotive marketplace. Thirty percent of American households consist of married couples living without children compared to twenty percent being married couples living with children. That doesn’t even count the single-person households.

A car like this could even be fitted with a hybrid drivetrain like the BMW i8. A small displacement (1.6-1.8 liter) turbocharged 4-cylinder engine could be coupled with electric motors to give the car electric-only capability AND a potent power-to-weight ratio when fully engaged. Yes, I know; no one is listening to me.

We would like to read your thoughts on the Sky/Solstice, two-seat roadsters, “power” hybrids or anything else that’s relevant.







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Another Wacky Wednesday

OK, so maybe this story is not important, but it’s my blog and I am going to tell it, anyway. For some unknown reason, a few days ago I thought about an episode of Crossing Jordan. My wonderful wife and I used to watch the show when it aired on NBC from 2001 to 2007. The show starred Jill Hennessy as Dr. Jordan Cavanaugh, a crime-solving forensic pathologist employed in the Massachusetts Office of the Chief Medical Examiner.

The specific episode was about a despicable attorney, played by the late Ron Silver, who had an extremely antagonistic relationship with everyone in the ME office. He was brought in, apparently killed by a gunshot. However, he wasn’t dead, but paralyzed from eating improperly prepared Fugu, a fish.

During the episode flashbacks were shown to explain how the relationship between Silver’s character and the staff had evolved. Eventually, the team figures out he’s not dead and determines the identity of the person who shot him and two other people.

After the attorney recovers, he vows vengeance against the Chief Medical Examiner for not having figured out he was still alive more quickly. After his vow, he walks out of the office, where he is struck by an ambulance and killed.

OK, so what’s the “punchline?” Yesterday, while vegging out in the bonus/media room, I noticed we have a channel called Start TV among our Hulu + Live TV choices. Wouldn’t you know this channel airs Crossing Jordan? Wouldn’t you know the first episode that was airing after I realized the show was available was the episode I had thought of days earlier?!

That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.


On this day in 1954 stockholders of Nash-Kelvinator Corporation and Hudson Motor Car Company formally approved plans for the two companies to merge into a new company called American Motors Corporation. AMC survived until being purchased by Chrysler in 1987.

Independent automobile manufacturers–meaning those not affiliated with the Big Three of General Motors, Ford and Chrysler–really began to struggle in the early 1950s. The Nash-Hudson merger was only one of three that took place during this time. Kaiser-Fraser purchased Willys in 1953 and later in 1954 Studebaker and Packard merged, although technically the transaction was in the form of a Packard buyout.

George Mason was Chairman and CEO of Nash-Kelvinator from 1937 through the merger and the first CEO of American Motors, although he died later in 1954. Many sources state that Mason had been pursuing mergers among the Independents since not long after World War II. Some sources reject that notion; since all of the people involved are dead, we may never know the exact truth.

AMC continued to manufacture cars under the Nash and Hudson nameplates, in addition to Rambler and the Metropolitan. (OK, the Metropolitan was really built by Austin of the UK, but the car was designed by Nash and built for the North American market.) However, Nash and Hudson were discontinued after the 1957 model year so AMC could focus on Rambler. George Romney, who succeeded Mason as AMC CEO, believed the Big Three were selling “gas-guzzling dinosaurs” and that AMC could have a niche offering a different type of car, something like this:


See the source image


From a picture of a 1958 Rambler American. By 1961, Rambler had moved into the third position among US makes in sales, albeit a distant third behind Chevrolet and Ford.

With the Big Three entering the compact car market and with Romney leaving AMC to wage a successful campaign for Governor of Michigan, AMC lost its way in the mid-1960s. (Yes, he was Mitt Romney’s father.)

Would American automotive history have turned out differently if Romney had stayed with AMC? Of course, we will never know.









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No News Tuesday

I probably won’t receive results from yesterday’s procedure until next Monday. What I can tell you is this: since I thought I would be going under, my wonderful wife accompanied me to the Mayo Clinic. My appointment time was 1:15. What time did we leave after the procedure ended? 1:15!

Obviously, I did not need general anesthesia, but just as obviously the Mayo Clinic–to use the colloquial–has its sh*t together. In addition, the first bills I have received were not for what I would consider to be an extraordinary amount. I am very lucky to have access to such a world-class facility.


Now the earworm thing is getting ridiculous. Today’s song stuck in my head is not even one I have heard lately although the last time I heard it was on Sixties on Six on Sirius/XM. Does anyone remember “The Pied Piper” by Crispian St. Peters? The song was his only big hit, reaching #4 on the Billboard chart in 1966, although he had one other top 40 song a year later (“You Were On My Mind”) that reached #36.

Even worse is that my brain seems to be waging a battle about which song will play repeatedly in my head. Every now and then, the piano intro and ending to “Fortune Smiles” by legendary jazz/classical pianist Keith Jarrett plays in my head. I made a copy of the song years ago, editing out the middle and just keeping the intro and ending, which are about three minutes in total. I very much want to embed that audio here, but worry about a copyright violation. Oh, what the hell:



I used to play the keyboards a little and Jarrett’s solo parts from “Fortune Smiles” are the pieces I would have most liked to learn how to play. Sadly, since suffering two strokes in 2018 Jarrett has been unable to perform.


Here’s a very recent photo of a very fast automobile:



This is a Ferrari 812 Superfast. How much? Apparently, its price is so high that you have to ask the dealer; the price was not shown on the sticker as it is on almost all cars. The MSRP for a “reasonably” equipped 2020 model was about $400,000. Other cars in this complex have a sticker price in that neighborhood and yet those prices are displayed on the cars. I guess I don’t really know why the sticker reads, “Ask Dealer For Pricing.”

I could probably visit this luxury make complex once a week and never get tired of it. Many of the people on the lot are automobile “sight-seers,” people who obviously have no intention of ever buying one of these cars, but just want to see them and to take pictures. Is it better to actually be able to afford one of these cars, knowing that doing so would seriously damage one’s net worth, or not be in a position to afford one and, therefore, never be able to succumb to temptation?









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Monday Musings 64

Today’s earworm, “Come On Down To My Boat” by Every Mothers’ Son, is sponsored by OCD. The group was a one-hit wonder and the song peaked at #6 on the Billboard chart in 1967. Maybe I just have to stop listening to Sixties on Six on Sirius/XM.


I will be undergoing a “minor” surgical/diagnostic procedure today at the Mayo Clinic. I believe this will be the third time I have had this particular procedure done. Please wish me luck.

You know the old joke about surgery, right? Major surgery is any surgery you’re having while minor surgery is surgery on anyone else.


Should I count the days until we receive our second vaccine shot against the damn virus or until we have “full immunity” about two weeks later? In case you’re curious, [Everyone in unison] or even if you’re not, it’s 11 days until the second shot so about 25 days until we’re “free.”


Today’s installment of “People Vote With Their Feet” is courtesy of this CNBC video about the mass exodus of people and businesses leaving California and moving to Texas. Like everything else, this is not all good or all bad for Texas. From the video summary:


“Oracle moved its headquarters to Austin, Texas late last year. Tesla is also building its new Gigafactory there, and Apple will house its second-largest campus in Texas’ capital city. This Big Tech influx has raised chatter about Texas potentially becoming a business hub that could rival Silicon Valley.”

“CBRE and Charles Schwab relocated their headquarters from California to the Dallas area in recent months, and Hewlett Packard Enterprise is headed to Houston. Texas has also attracted wealthy individuals like Joe Rogan, Elon Musk, Dropbox CEO Drew Houston and Palantir co-founder Joe Lonsdale.”


In a federal republic like the US, different states can have different laws and regulations. Who knows? One or two really bad earthquakes and perhaps California could become a ghost state. Once again, people want to reap most of the rewards of their labor and not have them confiscated by government. When they can, people vote with their feet so they can enjoy more of those rewards.


How about this as a reward? From this Road and Track article a picture of the Aston Martin Valhalla:


Land vehicle, Automotive design, Vehicle, Supercar, Car, Sports car, Performance car, Concept car, Coupé, City car,


When first announced Aston targeted 2021 as the start of manufacture for this limited production (500 units) automobile. I don’t know if any have been produced or sold. A price bandied about but not confirmed by the company is $1.3 million. Unlike many people, I don’t begrudge wealth as long as it has been acquired or built legally. If you can really afford to buy a car for $1.3 million, then more power to you. Hopefully this link to a picture from Aston Martin’s website won’t break:



The website ad copy is sparse; detailed specs are not shown. Supposedly, the heart of the car will be a turbocharged V-6 developed totally in house by Aston Martin. I think some Aston fans were not happy the car doesn’t have a V-8 or V-12. Welcome to the 21st century…

If you can reward yourself with one of these, go right ahead. Being resentful and envious of people who are wealthier than you is not a sound basis for public policy. The politics of envy are a road to mediocrity.











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PS, thanks to everyone who responded yesterday to my “lament” about the decline in comments by commenting.