Friable Friday

Friable: Adjective, easily crumbled


You don’t think it was a simple matter of downloading the pro football computer game and getting started, do you?! Of course not…first, the downloader wouldn’t open. Then, the game wouldn’t open. I sent numerous emails to the company, but didn’t hear back from them until many hours had passed.

Before I heard from the company, but hours later and in desperation, I joined a computer forum of users of this company’s football game and posted my issue. Someone who apparently has been using the pro football game for a long time suggested that my anti-virus software (in my case, PC Matic) was interfering. Sure enough, when I disabled the “Super Shield” feature, the game downloaded and ran just fine, or seemed to at least.

Oh, still no resolution to the Z06 issue(s). Maybe I’ll have the car back by the 4th of July…


A link to a piece from Why Evolution Is True: A new New York Times opinion columnist.

One of the comments resonated with me and shows, once again, that woke is a cult and that ALL people who blindly follow any ideology are practitioners of hypocrisy:


The woke readily toss the concept of “lived experience” when it requires them to acknowledge that biological women have a different lived experience than trans women. All of a sudden talking about lived experience is bigotry and transphobia. The hypocrisy is staggering.


I weep for the future, even though I won’t see it.


Sorry, just too distracted to write anymore today.








NFL Draft Thursday

I must really be stressed. I woke up this morning with the worst case of fullness in my right ear–a symptom of Meniere’s Disease, I was diagnosed with it in 2008–in many years. Doctors who treat Meniere’s think that 80%-90% of severe manifestations are stress-related. Of course, many doctors think that 80%-90% of all ailments in the developed world are at least partly due to stress.

As a “comfy blankee” I consumed two items for breakfast I hardly ever consume: bacon and sugar. Whether it was those two items, the 50mg of meclizine I took, just eating breakfast or some combination of the above, my fullness has improved markedly since earlier this morning.

I once had a Meniere’s related case of vertigo that was so bad, I had to be taken to the hospital in an ambulance. That happened at the end of a very stressful day during the last time I attended the baseball winter meetings (December, 2009).

I guess I need to find an ENT here in Arizona. I do not have any diazepam, better known as Valium, which short-circuits vertigo attacks.


Of course, I am stressed about my Z06. I didn’t hear from the dealer yesterday and am actually imagining a scenario where they can’t solve the issue. If they have to replace the ECU, then I strongly believe I shouldn’t be charged for the re-programming of the original ECU, which did not solve the problem. I am imagining a loud argument with the service personnel at the dealer.

Until two months ago, I had unconditional “love” for the Z06. After a $13,000 brake job and the fiasco currently unfolding, that feeling has disappeared.


Many of you don’t know or care, and that’s OK, but the first round of the 2022 NFL Draft will be held today. The TV ratings will surpass those of most MLB and NBA playoff games.

Perhaps “inspired” by the day, I finally broke down and ordered the computer football game of which I have written before, like here. Drafting my own league and playing the games will give something to do that I hope I will enjoy.

My friend Mel Kiper, the “godfather” of NFL Draft coverage on TV, has been the subject of some controversy. He was not allowed to attend the draft this year (in Las Vegas) because he has not been vaccinated against the damn virus. I was aware of his decision and tried to explain to him the reasons he should be vaccinated. I know he respects my intelligence and knowledge of topics outside of sports, but he chose not to be vaccinated.

I will not comment anymore on Mel’s situation, but I believe that the large percentage of people who have not been vaccinated in the developed world has played the largest role in the damn virus’ persistence, at least in the developed world. Unvaccinated people are potential hosts for the virus, where it can convert, replicate and mutate. Viruses are not that good at making exact replicas of themselves.

A tweet from Bill James:


“I generally like resistance to the government, because governments like to take over people’s lives and tell people what to do when it isn’t necessary. I just encourage you to get vaccinated first. Fight the government some other way.”


Very well said and I agree 100 percent.


Just like I have a very positive reaction anytime I see a Saturn Sky, I have a similar reaction every time I see one of these:


See the source image

See the source image


From Fast Lane Cars, two pictures of a 1958 Chevrolet Impala. That was the first year for the Impala and the only year for this body style. According to sources like Encyclopedia of American Cars by the Auto Editors of Consumer Guide®, for that year the Impala was a “sub-model” of the top of the line Bel Air, not becoming its own model until 1959.

The heart wants what it wants, I guess. I can’t explicitly explain why I am so enamored with the looks of the car. It just seems “right” to me, I suppose.

Wish me luck, but only good luck. I’ve had more than enough of the other kind.







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Wandering Wednesday

The daily Z06 update: returning the ECU to stock tune did not solve the “Engine Power Is Reduced” problem (of course). The service department at the Chevy dealer finally decided to avail themselves of corporate resources. They learned that one or more of four particular sensors is/are the cause of that error message, which cannot simply be ignored because that message means the car can only operate in “limp home” mode. Apparently and par for the course, the one sensor that seems to be the cause is the one most difficult to access and the one that requires the most labor to change. Maybe the car will be ready tomorrow. The repair bill is now in four figures.


What do you think of the looks of this car?


See the source image


Expanding my search horizon for the “down the road” purchase of a convertible unearthed a couple of Fiat 124 Spiders, the car shown above. They are/were, of course, manufactured in Japan alongside the Mazda MX-5, but do not share the same engine.

I have always thought they have a great look although many automobile journalists do not share that view. They have a little more power than third-generation MX-5s, but are not power monsters, either. (Good fourth-generation MX-5s cost more than I want to spend.)

Of course, we no longer have a grocery car/taxi. Maybe I need to look at one of these, instead:


See the source image


This is a 2016 Maserati Ghibli S. It is difficult to find a good low-mileage one (doesn’t have to be a 2016 model) for under $35,000 right now and that is definitely more than I want to spend. I’d rather buy a convertible for $15,000-$18,000.

I am so bored that my brain creates things about which I can obsess. It is OCD, after all. I am seriously considering purchasing the most recent edition of the computer football game I could not bring myself to buy last year. At least that will give me something to do most days.

How bad is my OCD/boredom? I have started compiling a list of all US network primetime TV shows that aired in the 1940s. Don’t ask me why I am doing this because I really don’t know. I have always been fascinated by the beginning stage of a process much more than by its mature stage. Here is a picture of what I have done so far. Please note the message under the spreadsheet title.



You can see I have not gotten very far, at all. This could end up like my project to document all engines used in US automobiles since 1930. The effort ended with American Motors.

Once again, you can understand why Disaffected Musings is so important to me and why declining readership is so disappointing. Just as C/2 gave me the idea for Cars A To Z, a new reader might suggest a topic I had never considered.

I think that’s enough of a look into my brain (or what’s left of it) for today. As always, I welcome thoughtful comments. Thanks.









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Threes And Sevens: 1943

Every f*cking day…yes, not a “real” problem, but another “paper cut.” My wonderful wife and I decided to go to McDonald’s for breakfast this morning. As we have done every time except one, we used the drive-thru line.

Our usual order is three egg and cheese biscuits, substituting a McGriddle for two of them, a large half-cut iced tea with light ice and a large iced coffee with cream and no sugar. The line went quickly today and when we received our food I counted three sandwiches so off we went to return home.

Even though the sandwiches were labeled correctly, they were all prepared incorrectly with sausage and no egg. I don’t eat sausage and we weren’t going to drive the five-ish miles back to the McDonald’s. We have been told that we could call to register our complaint and that we would get a comped meal the next time. We didn’t do that, either.

Once again, I know this was not a serious, life-altering issue. Still, I would like a month–hell, how about a week–where nothing goes wrong.

By the way, I still don’t have my Z06. The service advisor at the Chevy dealer called yesterday to tell me that after much testing, the only thing they can surmise is that the aftermarket tune I had done–nine months ago–is the cause of the issue. When I had the car towed there I told them they could replace the ECU or re-tune it and in either case they could tune it back to stock. I confirmed that again and they said they would tune to stock, but I was warned I would have a “permanent” error on the DIC since the ECU expects to get readings from two O2 sensors on the exhaust manifold, which no longer exist since I have aftermarket long-tube headers, instead.

Since I received the call at about 10:30 AM I had a reasonable expectation that the car would be fixed by close of business yesterday. Of course, I have not received any subsequent call to tell me I can pick up the car. No news is not good news in this case.

I can tell you that even the suspicion that the aftermarket tuning could be the cause of this situation–it has now been 11 days since I have driven my car–completely rules out any such tuning in the future. I guess I’ll just have to make do with 700+ HP/720+ LB-FT of torque.


Passenger car production ceased in the US in early 1942. In January of 1943 the Office of Price Administration (OPA) banned “nonessential” driving in 17 eastern states and 25 million gasoline ration books were issued to motorists all over the country. What do you think the response would be today to a similar action?

Sadly, Edsel Ford–the only child of Henry and Clara–died on May 26, 1943. On June 1, the senile, anti-Semitic tyrant re-assumed the presidency of the company that bears his name. The following long passage largely comes from More Than They Promised: The Studebaker Story by Thomas Bonsall.


“By the time America was drawn into the war, Ford Motor Company was in dreadful shape. Indeed, it had been for many years. One is tempted to refer to this as an “open secret” in Detroit, except that there was nothing secret about it at all. Every intelligent industry observer knew that Ford was in a potentially fatal downward slide and also knew the reason: Henry Ford [my mark].

…In the opinion of most observers, the only thing that offered any hope for the company was the old man’s remarkable son, Edsel…Under the circumstances, Edsel’s premature death at the age of 49 in May, 1943, caused shock waves–and not just in Detroit.”


Remember that the US was fighting on two fronts in World War II with the largest manpower and industrial commitment in the nation’s history. Ford’s vast manufacturing capability was desperately needed to being the war to a successful conclusion. Back to the book:


Peter F. Drucker, one of the mid-century’s most highly regarded writers and theorists on corporate management, wrote this about what might have happened next:


“Reality was such that the survival of Ford seemed improbable–some people said impossible. The best indication of the seriousness with which these chances of survival were viewed was a scheme proposed in responsible circles during those days in Detroit. The US Government, it was said, should lend enough money to Studebaker–the fourth largest automobile producer but still less than one-sixth the size of Ford–to buy out the Ford family and to take over the company. In this way, and this way alone, Ford would have a chance to survive. Otherwise, it was agreed, the company might well have to be nationalized lest its collapse seriously endanger the country’s economy and its war effort.”


As More Than They Promised points out, Drucker had impeccable credentials and, at the time, was conducting detailed research in Detroit for his very significant study of General Motors. His efforts involved almost unprecedented access to top auto industry leaders such as Alfred Sloan, who certainly knew what was happening in Detroit.

In the end, of course, nothing came of this plan. For one thing, the Ford family would almost certainly have vehemently resisted the idea. Henry Ford II, Henry Ford’s grandson, was released from military duty in July of 1943 and appointed to Vice-President of Ford in December, although at that point he became the person in charge de facto.

In addition, by the end of 1943 almost everyone “in the know,” including the German High Command, knew the Allies were going to win the war. The sense of urgency in the US Government regarding Ford’s situation evaporated, especially since Henry Ford II was in charge by then.


In 1943, about 1.3 million people were working in 1,038 automobile plants producing war materiel. The combined value of production was $13 billion in 1943 dollars. That translates to about $216 billion today, an amount which sounds large but is actually less than a third of annual US government expenses on “defense.” Of course, much of that is not actual production of war hardware.

Want to see some car “photos?” From Richard Langworth’s book on Studebaker during the post-World War II years are two photos of styling proposals for 1943-44 models.



Once again, what actually happens/happened is not the only thing that could have happened and is almost certainly not always the event with the highest a priori probability. Life is a Monte Carlo simulation and has just one event with a 100% probability, although the timing of that event is usually unknown.








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Sunday Sunday

Yes, the post title is a play on the title of the song “Monday, Monday” by the Mamas and the Papas. Until I have my next Hemoglobin A1C test, I will not be having any sundaes.


The situation with my Z06 is making me more depressed every day. Tomorrow will be a week the dealer has had the car. I find it inconceivable that the service department of a Chevrolet dealer cannot diagnose and fix an issue with a 2016 model in that time frame. I am also disappointed I have not had more communication from the service advisor “overseeing” the repairs. Every f*cking day…


My wonderful wife and I were returning from breakfast yesterday and I started talking about Saturn Sky Red Lines I had seen on CarGurus. Within seconds of my beginning to talk about those cars I spotted a Sky on the road. I said, “Gee, maybe that’s an omen.”

Even out here, Skys and Solstices are not common sights. I don’t really believe in omens, either, but it was a weird juxtaposition of events. Once again, a relevant picture:


See the source image


From Mecum Auctions a picture of a 2009 Sky Red Line Ruby Red Special Edition. Speaking of Mecum, I recently received a check from them reimbursing me for an overpayment of taxes on my purchase of the Flying A/Gas sign last month at the event in Glendale, Arizona. The amount was only a little more than one percent of the purchase price, but they could have kept the money and I would have never known.

My wonderful wife and I are supposed to attend the Mecum auction next month in Indianapolis. With the way things have been going recently, I am not taking that trip for granted. As of now, no Saturn Sky Red Lines–or Saturns of any kind–are consigned to that auction.



This photo is from January. I was going to show a more recent pic of a double rainbow, but the street signs at the intersection where we live were all too visible. Can’t be too careful these days…

As I have written, for a place that averages 8-9 inches of rain a year rainbows are surprisingly common. I just wish my current life fortune could match the scenery.







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Barren Saturday

I don’t really have anything about which to write today, either, but compulsion usually wins.


A brief “update” on my Z06: the installation of a new battery means the car will now start, but the “Engine Power Is Reduced” message still appears on the Driver Information Center. That means the car would only run in “limp home” mode. I have to admit I am surprised it is taking so long to diagnose the issue.

When I asked the service advisor yesterday if the ECU would have to be replaced, he just said they had to wait for more diagnostics. I am wondering if the voltage regulator in the alternator has played a role in this situation. It’s now been more than a week since I have driven my car and the dealer has now had it for five days. Can’t wait to see that labor bill…


Two sources, neither of which I trust that much, report that Packard built its one millionth car on this day in 1947. That milestone is not mentioned in the definitive Packard history, Packard: A History of the Motor Car and the Company, edited by the late, legendary Beverly Rae Kimes.

OCD sufferer that I am, I decided to walk back from the total production of 1,614,005 cars shown in the Kimes book and subtract the figures for 1948 through 1958. Sure enough, by my calculation Packard production was 999,650 cars before 1948.

I was fascinated by the beginning of Appendix VIII, The Packard In Production. I have written many times about the haphazard nature of record keeping for most of human history. Instead of trying to type the first page, I figured it was better to work smart, not hard. I hope you can read this, even on a mobile device.



Note the multiple references to errors and please read the last sentence: “It is as accurate as available figures made possible.” I am a data/numbers guy, but I also subscribe to GIGO: Garbage In, Garbage Out.

I guess I have written about this topic before as the tag “The One Millionth Packard” already existed. After nearly 1,400 posts on this blog, plus more than 600 on my first blog, I cannot remember everything I’ve written, nor should I be expected to.

Below is a photo of a 1947 Packard Clipper DeLuxe Eight. By the way, another complication with Packard production figures is their insistence on using “Series” numbers instead of model year. The 21st Series was built in 1946 and 1947, the latter also seeing production of the 22nd Series.


See the source image


A total of 23,655 21st Series Clipper DeLuxe Eight units were built. As best as I can tell, about 62 percent of them were built in 1946 and the remainder in 1947.

I no longer have much desire to own a Packard or Studebaker or any other car built without modern safety systems. Of course, those modern systems come with the real cost of more complexity that can lead to frustrating delays in diagnosing and fixing those modern cars.






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Both the product and sum of two 2s are 4. Obvious, but still interesting to my math-obsessed, OCD-addled brain.


Every moment of your life, except the first and last, you are older than you’ve ever been before and younger than you’ll ever be again. That realization has stuck with me since I was a teenager.


An “update” on my Z06: the service advisor at the Chevy dealer called me yesterday morning. (Wait a minute, that’s not my name.) He said the techs were still working on the car, but had discovered that the battery was not operating properly and wanted my permission to install a new one. Maybe I added two and two and got six, but I inferred that the battery might be the cause of the engine fault codes. When I didn’t hear from the service advisor the rest of the day, I realized that I would–once again–not be so lucky as to have something simple like that be the source of trouble.

Kicked in the shins every f*cking day…


A CarGurus search for used convertibles in my area, with mileage and price limits, yielded no Saturn Sky Red Lines and mostly a bunch of German cars. One exception was a car like this:



This is a 2015 Mazda MX-5, known–of course–in the US as the Miata. By the way, the car’s aficionados, of which there are many, often say that Miata stands for “Miata Is Always The Answer.”

I have always liked the look of these cars in all generations. On paper, they do seem underpowered, though. The engine for this model, with its automatic transmission, is rated at just 158 HP/140 LB-FT of torque. Even for a 2,500-pound car, that doesn’t seem like enough power.

With my car in the shop and with my wonderful wife away for much of the day yesterday–and graciously leaving her car behind–I had the opportunity to drive her Corvette to run an errand. Even with 460 HP/460 LB-FT her car seemed much different than mine. Maybe no one needs a car with 700+ HP/700+ LB-FT, but I’m sure it drives like very few other cars have ever driven. If I ever drive it again, that is…

Anyway…this MX-5 with about 48,000 miles has an asking price of $18,750. CarGurus rates the car as a Good, but not Great, deal. Yes, I don’t need to buy a car, but I am older now than I have ever been before. I hear the clock ticking.







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When The Last Is Not The Last

The story about someone paying over a half million dollars for the ball that Tom Brady threw for his “last” touchdown pass, only not to be the last when he un-retired has been widely reported. Fortunately, the person who bought the ball will now not have to follow through with the purchase.

On this day in 1976 what was supposed to be the last American-made convertible, a white Cadillac Eldorado, rolled off the assembly line at Cadillac’s plant. General Motors heavily promoted these cars as the “Last Convertibles.” Edward Kennard, Cadillac’s general manager at the time, said, “Like the running board and rumble seat, the convertible is an item which history has passed by.”

All other GM makes had ceased producing convertibles the model year before; other American car companies had stopped even earlier. Cadillac produced exactly 14,000 Eldorado convertibles for the 1976 model year. The MSRP was $11,049, but some buyers paid as much as $20,000 thinking the cars would become valuable classics in the future. Of course, dealers have to “ask” for such a dramatic markup from MSRP. From Hemmings a picture of a 1976 Eldo convertible:



The “end” of convertibles didn’t last long as Chrysler introduced the LeBaron convertible in 1982 and sold almost 13,000 units. General Motors jumped back into the convertible market with Pontiac producing 626 2000 LE ragtops in 1983. In that year, Ford offered a convertible Mustang and sold over 23,000 of them. Not surprisingly, when Cadillac resumed building convertibles for the 1984 model year–building 3,300 Eldorado Biarritz ragtops–people who had purchased the ’76 Eldo convertible were not pleased and at least two filed suit against Cadillac and General Motors. Although in my admittedly brief search I was not able to find the reason(s), the lawsuit was dismissed.

I like to write that people have the right to change their minds even if there’s nothing wrong with the one they have. Deliberate deception, though, is another story.

As always, I welcome thoughtful comments about this or any other relevant topic. Thanks.






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Empty Wednesday

I don’t really have anything about which to write today. So, why am I? Compulsion…I want the blog to reach a certain “milestone” for views for the year before the end of April. If I post every day, or almost every day, until the end of the month, then that “milestone” will probably be reached. If I skip two or three days, then it won’t.

I suspect many readers are already tired of my writing about the possibility of my buying a Saturn Sky Red Line. By the way, while the turbo version of the Pontiac Solstice (the GXP) was not available until its second model year of production, the Red Line was available from the beginning for the Sky. However, the Solstice was released one model year before the Sky.

About 30 percent of Skys were in Red Line spec for its first year, 2007, but from then through the end of production, more than 60 percent of Skys were Red Line models. Only about 44 percent of Solstices were GXPs during the same period. I found that factoid (OK, you can call it minutia) to be surprising. I doubt most “car people” would think more Saturn buyers would opt for a performance upgrade than Pontiac buyers. From Fortune, a picture of both cars:


Pontiac Solstice/Saturn Sky 2005-2009


This photo was shown as part of a piece called, “10 Tarnished Halo Cars.” Three of the other cars were also among my favorites: the Studebaker Avanti, Cadillac Allante and Buick Reatta. More trivia/minutia: almost exactly 100,000 Solstices/Skys were produced, 99,954, to be exact. If one counts the Opel GT and Daewoo G2X, both of which were just re-badged Sky Red Lines, then total production of Kappa platform convertibles was 107,658. From the Fortune article, which was published in 2012:


“These two roadsters were supposed to inject some much-needed Viagra into the flagging Pontiac and Saturn brands, and GM launched them with all the thunder that a failing automaker could muster. Yet even the imprimatur of design guru Bob Lutz couldn’t fend off harsh comments from car reviewers who found them dynamically inferior to the long-established Mazda Miata and incapable carrying any baggage than could fit in a number 10 envelope. Touted as instant classics, they are now little more than curiosities — poor relatives to the 60-year-old-and-still-going-strong Chevy Corvette.”


It’s hard to remember now that when the Solstice was first introduced, it was hugely popular. Pontiac received 7,000 orders, its planned first-year production, in just the first 10 days of availability. Dealers often sold the car for more than MSRP. More than 21,000 Solstices were actually produced for model year 2006.

Despite the introduction of the Sky for the 2007 model year, Solstice sales actually increased to about 24,000. I think the cars were a victim of the Financial Crisis and then, of course, rumors of the demise of Pontiac and Saturn became louder and those makes were, sadly, both discontinued. 30 Kappa platform cars (20 Solstices, 8 Skys and 2 Opel GTs) were built with 2010 VINs in late April/early May of 2009.

The Sky Red Line could accelerate from 0-60 MPH in 5.2 seconds (with an automatic transmission, the manual was slower), pull nearly .9g on a skidpad and brake from 60 MPH to a stop in just 124 feet. (Do you sense that I am trying to talk myself into buying one sooner rather than later?) The “car reviewers” mentioned in the Fortune piece as being critical of the car somehow never mentioned those facts. Of course, those weren’t the performance specs of the base car, either.

OCD is no fun…







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