Almost Thursday

Yes, it is Thursday, not a few minutes before Thursday. Take a look at the B line on this Powerball ticket.

 

 

Since I bought the ticket I was obsessed with that B line and, somehow, felt it would be the winner. Here are the actual winning numbers from last night’s drawing with one matching ticket sold in the state in which I was born and raised, Maryland:

40 53 60 68 69

Not far off, huh? Yes, it’s just a coincidence (including the location of the winning ticket)–an after the fact association, if you will–but it still “speaks” to me.

The odds of winning any prize in either giant multi-state lottery are about 1 in 30 or 1 in 25, but my wonderful wife and I are on quite a dry spell having bought many times that number of tickets in the last 12-18 months without having won anything. Put down in black and white it seems like a giant waste of money. Still, if we don’t play the lottery our chances of winning a life-changing amount of money are zero. If we play, then our chances asymptotically approach zero, but they’re not zero.

We have no debt and we have a healthy net worth. We are not spending our last dollars in the hopes of winning the lottery. I think playing not only gives you an infinitesimal chance of winning, but it allows you to have very pleasant daydreams about what you would do if you won.

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Frank Luntz is a Republican pollster who predicted that the Democrats would win the two Senate runoff elections in Georgia to gain de facto control of that body. In this CNBC article he makes some chilling comments after recently hosting a virtual focus group of Americans from across the “political spectrum”:

 

“It’s going to be very tough for the president and Congress to find that middle ground because, quite frankly, it doesn’t exist. It was the most contentious group I’ve done in a long, long time. It was even more contentious than in the lead-up to the election.” (The focus group was held earlier this week.)

 

Ironically, even though a shrinking number of “unaffiliated” voters can give that group more power in an otherwise deadlocked political landscape, I think it has become inevitable that the US cannot exist much longer in its current state. Whether it happens in 10 years or 50, I don’t see any solution except dissolution.

Given that most elected officials in the US only care about being elected and re-elected, and nothing about actually governing, I don’t see a “way out” other than to get out. I know I have written this many times before, but the results of the 2020 elections only show how divided the country is. The Senate has 50 Democrats and 50 Republicans. The House has 221 Democrats and 211 Republicans with three vacant seats. The most polarizing President in US history did not really inflict much damage on “his” party, which actually gained seats in the House. That party distribution in both houses is not a mandate from the people, it’s a strong indication that “the people” are not capable of delivering a mandate.

I’m not even going to write that I hope I’m wrong because nothing lasts forever. If it’s time to dissolve the US into two or three countries, so be it.

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Would the dissolution of the US lead to more automotive innovation in one of the “spin-off” countries? After all, a country that is not the US would not be bound by US DOT and EPA regulations. Would “modern” versions of a car like this return?

 

See the source image

 

This is a picture of a 1958 Cadillac Eldorado Brougham that was offered at the RM Sotheby’s Arizona 2018 auction. Body shapes like this are probably in violation of current US regulations and laws, but in a country that is not the US could these shapes return?

I am quite enamored of these cars that were not only a styling tour de force, but also had many innovations such as the first automatic two-position memory power seats. These are a contender to be part of Ultimate Garage 3.0, but not a lock.

I welcome thoughtful comments from you on any post topic from today or any other day.

 

#AlmostThursday

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Spiritless Saturday

I suspect that I am unlike many people who want any signs of normal to return in that I have almost no enthusiasm for the upcoming NFL season. I have not been this apathetic about the NFL since 1984, the first season the Colts called a city other than Baltimore their home. I have not watched the NFL Network in months nor do I read football websites anywhere near as frequently as I used to.

I believe that, perhaps, the “virus” has accelerated a change in my attitude that had been occurring, anyway. As I grow older I become more focused on the activities of the people in my life who are important. Why I should care about what some strangers are doing just because they’re wearing a particular uniform? After we move, do I have to follow another set of strangers?

My different attitude about the NFL in particular and sports in general is genuine. Many people I know still cannot understand and, frankly, don’t believe me when I say I haven’t followed baseball in almost a decade or that I don’t really care about the 2020 NFL season. Why would I lie about my feelings about sports?

I haven’t followed the NBA since the early 1980s. One day in the late ’80s a friend asked me if I had watched some basketball game on TV. When I told him that I hadn’t because I wasn’t following the NBA at all he said, “I bet you watch games with Michael Jordan.” When I said I didn’t he accused me of lying.

I am no longer friends with this person, in large part due to his narrow-mindedness. I rail about this quite frequently, both in this blog and in my life, but why do the majority of people think that everyone else thinks like they do or, worse, should think like they do?

NO ONE has a monopoly on truth and wisdom. NO ONE has a monopoly on good judgment or good taste. Whatever happened to “Live And Let Live?”

“There are more things in heaven and earth…than are dreamt of in your philosophy.”

– Shakespeare

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On this day in 1902 the Cadillac Automobile Company was founded. At its birth, Cadillac was not a part of General Motors; GM was not founded until 1908.

Ironically, the company was formed from the remnants of the Henry Ford Company. Ford was a most disagreeable person and after a dispute between him and his investors, including Lemuel Bowen and William Murphy, he left the company along with some of his “associates.”

Henry Leland of Leland & Faulconer Manufacturing Company persuaded Bowen and Murphy to stay in the automobile business using Leland’s engine. A former Henry Ford Company factory was used as the Cadillac factory.

The company was named after Antoine de la Mothe Cadillac, a French explorer who founded Fort Pontchartrain du Detroit in 1701, which became the city of Detroit. de la Mothe, born Antoine Laumet, adopted the “Cadillac” part of his name in honor of the town of Cadillac in southwestern France.

I know I have been writing about Cadillac quite frequently as of late. I think the fact that the company seems to have lost its way is sad. Of course, being lost is at least partly due to the stumbles of Cadillac and of General Motors.

If money were no object, then I think I would try to acquire this Cadillac: the 1957-58 Eldorado Brougham, of which only 704 were made. (Picture from supercars.net):

 

See the source image

 

While we will not be acquiring a car like this after we move, barring a lottery win, a Cadillac of more recent vintage might very well be an addition to our 3-car or, hopefully, 4-car garage. You’ve seen this car in Disaffected Musings many times, so one more time won’t hurt.

 

See the source image

 

From Classic Cars a picture of a 2000 Cadillac Eldorado. As recounted ad nauseam, I think these cars are stylish and will function well in the role of grocery car and occasional “taxi.”

If the day comes when I lose my interest in cars, I think I will be in trouble.

 

#SpiritlessSaturday

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In Or Out?

Without further ado:

 

See the source image

See the source image

 

The top pic is from favcars.com, the bottom is from supercars.net. These are two pictures of the 1957-58 Cadillac Eldorado Brougham. This was a hand-built, top of the line luxury car. It was derived from the Orleans and Park Avenue show cars of 1953-54.

This car was groundbreaking in many respects. From the Wikipedia article about the Cadillac Eldorado, here is a description of the innovations:

 

“The car featured a roof trimmed in brushed stainless and self leveling air suspension…It also had the first automatic two-position “memory” power seats, a dual four-barrel V-8, low-profile tires with thin white-walls, automatic trunk opener, cruise control, high-pressure cooling system, polarized sun visors, electric antenna, automatic-release parking brake, electric door locks and a dual heating system. Other unique features included an automatic starter with restart function, Autronic Eye, drum-type electric clock, power windows, forged aluminum wheels and air conditioning…Buyers of Broughams had a choice of 44 full-leather interior and trim combinations and could select such items as Mouton, Karakul or lambskin carpeting.”

 

The Eldorado Brougham also had many luxury touches like a leather cigarette holder (remember this was the late 1950s) and a vanity kit. The air suspension was a bust as the technology of the day just wasn’t up to the demands of the design. The price was a staggering–for the time–$13,074; a Series 62 Eldorado Biarritz convertible was $7,286. Do you really care about the drivetrain? OK…for both years the Eldorado Brougham used Cadillac’s 365 cubic-inch V-8 with a four-speed Hydra-Matic automatic transmission. Engine output was 325 HP/400 LB-FT of torque for 1957, 335 HP/400 LB-FT for 1958.

I don’t think I ever saw one in person until the 2016 Barrett-Jackson auction at Mohegan Sun in Connecticut. It’s not too surprising that I didn’t see one before then as only 704 were made during the two model years it was produced.

OK, for the 1957-58 Cadillac Eldorado Brougham, In Or Out?

 

#InOrOut?

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#somanycarsjustonelife

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