Weary Wednesday

I am suffering from coronavirus fatigue, like I suspect millions or tens of millions of other people are. I am not trying to minimize the significance of what has happened, the millions of infections and hundreds of thousands of deaths worldwide. Remember, though, that unless the situation takes a horrendous turn for the worse, the vast majority of the world’s population will not become infected and the vast majority of those who do become infected will recover.

I am tired of washing my hands 20 or 30 times a day (or more) and since I have OCD, that behavior will probably continue for the rest of my life. I am tired of disinfecting the groceries and letting them sit on the kitchen island for two days before I will put them away, not including perishables, of course. I am very tired of having to wear a mask in public, although I always do it. (Has anyone invented a clear face mask, yet?)

I am not a young man with the promise of a long future. I hear the clock ticking and just want to go back to as normal a life as I can have while I can still enjoy it. Of course, my wishing will not change the situation one iota.


Does anyone else besides me loathe “Auto-Correct?” Before I disabled it on my iPhone years ago, the damn thing would drive me crazy, granting that’s a short drive. NOT ONCE did the system ever actually give me the right word for my text or email. I would like to read your thoughts on the scourge of Auto-Correct.


On the most recent Corvette Today podcast hosted by Steve Garrett (wish I could find the specific link and show it here, this is the link for the Corvette Today podcast in general), John Kraman of Mecum Auctions and the NBCSN telecasts of those auctions was the guest. As always, John was entertaining and displayed his immense knowledge of automobiles. I do have one bone to pick, though.

At one point John talked about the increasing percentage of Corvettes sold with automatic transmissions as the reason the new C8 is only available with an automatic, although it’s really a dual-clutch automated manual. He said that in the first model year of the C7, 2014, about half of the cars were equipped with a manual. According to The Genuine Corvette Black Book, only about 35% of 2014 Corvettes were equipped with a manual transmission. More Corvettes have been sold with an automatic than a manual every model year since 1972 although the split was close to 50-50 in 2009: 50.5% automatic, 49.5% manual.

Chevrolet/General Motors wasted an opportunity for revenue, in my opinion, by not recognizing the trend sooner. They did not charge extra for an automatic transmission until 2006, the second year of the C6 and the first year for the new 6-speed automatic that was available through the first year of the C7 in 2014. I haven’t shown any charts for awhile. Anyone miss them? <end sarcasm>


2006          34,021          19,094 56.1%  $           23,867,500
2007          40,561          22,422 55.3%  $           28,027,500
2008          35,310          19,136 54.2%  $           23,920,000
2009          16,956            8,560 50.5%  $           10,700,000
2010          12,194            6,913 56.7%  $              8,641,250
2011          13,596            8,516 62.6%  $           10,645,000
2012          11,647            7,586 65.1%  $              9,482,500
2013          13,466            7,229 53.7%  $              9,036,250
2014          37,288          24,088 64.6%  $           30,110,000
2015          34,240          23,232 67.9%  $           40,075,200
TOTALS       249,279       146,776 58.9%  $         194,505,200


Note that the cost of the “optional” automatic transmission increased from $1,250 to $1,725 with the introduction of the 8L90E eight-speed in 2015. The sales figures for Corvettes were depressed beginning in 2009 because of the “Great Recession.” The C7 introduction in 2014 boosted sales, which reached 40,000 in 2016. I just wanted to show the first ten years that the automatic transmission was an “extra,” how much revenue that brought to Chevrolet/GM, and how charging for the automatic didn’t seem to affect the percentage of people who ordered them.

From 2011 through 2015, 64% of Corvette customers ordered their cars with automatics. In 2016, the model year for my Z06, that number jumped to 77% AND 76% for the Z06. I have an older copy of the “Black Book” so I don’t have any more recent data. Based on what Tadge Juechter, Corvette chief engineer, said during the C8 reveal last July, that number reached 85% by the end of the C7 in 2019.

Of course, since the only available transmission for the C8 is an automatic, Chevrolet/GM can’t earn additional revenue by charging for one. Note that the automatic brought almost $200 million in additional revenue from 2006-2015.

Anyway…waxing nostalgic here is a picture of my 2007 Corvette for which I gladly paid the additional $1,250 for an automatic:










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Throwback Thursday, The Big Bang Theory Edition

Tonight the 279th and last episode of The Big Bang Theory will air on CBS. The show is the longest running multi-camera (usually meaning live audience) sitcom in TV history. While in my opinion it is not as funny as it was in the first five seasons or so, it is still an enjoyable half-hour of TV, of which there are very few as far as I am concerned. I have to admit that I am sad that the show is ending.

While no one associated with the show will ever read this, thanks to all the cast and crew for so many wonderful moments over 12 seasons.


See the source image


From The Mary Sue a picture of the original cast of The Big Bang Theory.



The Big Bang Theory debuted in September, 2007. Speaking of 2007, this is a picture of my 2007 Corvette. My life was much different then than it is today. Then, I had a successful baseball operations/player personnel consulting business. My wonderful wife and I were living in Texas. The iPhone was first released in 2007; over one billion of them have been sold.

When I sold this Corvette after the collapse of my business in October, 2010 I didn’t think I would ever own another one. Thanks to my wonderful wife and to years of successful investing in the equity and fixed income markets I, of course, am back in the Corvette saddle again. However, the ’07 remains the only Corvette that I purchased new and that may never change.






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The Ones That Got Away

In my previous blog I posted about the cars that had gotten away. That post was inspired by a similar one in Automobile Magazine.


See the source image


From Hot Rod a picture of a 1967 Pontiac GTO. My first car was a 1967 GTO, purchased for me by my father for the very large sum of $300. Granted, this was more than 40 years ago, but that wasn’t a lot of money even then.

My GTO had the standard engine, a 400 cubic-inch V-8 rated at 335 HP and 441 LB-FT of torque. It had a Turbo Hydra-Matic 400 automatic transmission with the Hurst “His and Hers” shift on the floor. We fitted the car with large radials (so large, in fact, that the front tires scraped the wheel wells on sharp turns) and stiffer springs in order to improve the handling, but it was never going to be a great-handling car.

My car was originally light blue with a black top, but after an accident two weeks before I was supposed to leave for college, the car was re-painted (in a repair bay in my father’s gas station) dark blue all over. As part of the restoration we purchased “mag” wheels that looked like Cragars, but didn’t cost as much.

The right exhaust manifold had been broken in the accident so we decided to add exhaust headers. I loved that car; in an incident emblematic of the many “unfortunate” things that have happened to me, the car was rear-ended one night while I was returning home from my summer job. The woman who hit me claimed that her brakes failed, but I am 100% positive she just wasn’t paying attention. (Another time the GTO was hit while parked near my house, just sayin’.)

After fighting with the insurance company over the settlement, they gave us a decent amount of money and they let us keep the car, which we then sold as is. Many people miss their first car, but I really miss my first car.


2007 Vette


This is a picture of my 2007 Corvette. I bought it new to “replace” the 2002 Corvette I had purchased used in 2004. When I decided to take the Corvette plunge, I thought I would buy a used one in the event I didn’t like it I wouldn’t have spent the money for a new one. The fact that I purchased a new one should tell you what I thought of the 2002.

In cold black and white, no comparison exists between the 2007 Corvette and the 1967 GTO. The Corvette was powered by a 364 cubic-inch V-8 that produced 400 HP and 400 LB-FT of torque. It weighed about 3,200 pounds compared to the GTO weight of about 3,600 pounds.

The Corvette had power disc brakes with ABS; the GTO had undersized drum brakes without ABS, of course. The Vette had navigation, modern suspension, modern steering and a modern automatic transmission. I managed about 20 MPG with the Corvette and about 12 MPG with the GTO, although I almost never paid for gas with the Goat as, once again, my father ran a gas station.

Not to brag, but the 2007 Corvette was not a financial stretch at all. I traded in my 2002 Vette and simply paid cash for the difference. My baseball business was doing very well at the time. A little more than three years later I lost my business and sold the car in a panic as I thought I needed to raise cash.

Although I have a nice car now and my wonderful wife has a 2015 Corvette that I can drive when I want, I miss my 2007 Corvette. I think I miss what it represents, a time when I was very satisfied with my career, as much as I miss the actual car.

Don’t take anything (or anyone) for granted as fate can often be a cruel mistress.






Monday Musings

Little doubt exists that the Chinese government is enabling its steel and aluminum companies to sell at prices low enough to suppress the market. The debate is the remedy.

The trade deficit amount has NOTHING to do with the amount of the national debt. The national debt is, basically, the accumulation of federal government deficits and surpluses as measured by outstanding government debt. A trade deficit is when the value of a country’s imports exceeds that of its exports. Having a trade deficit is a drag on a country’s GDP, but does not directly have anything to do with government deficits. It is disappointing to read and to hear how many people think the two issues are directly related. An uninformed public is a dangerous thing. Ignorance is NOT bliss.

Enough on policy…I am still hoping to read about what cars you drive. Here is a car I used to own:

This is the 2007 Corvette I used to have. I bought it new to “replace” the 2002 model that I had purchased used in 2004. I had a thriving business then as a player personnel/baseball operations consultant to multiple major league teams and the Vette was not a financial stretch, by any means. Although I have a nice car now and my wonderful wife has a great Corvette that I can drive if I want, I still miss this car. I sold it in a panic when I lost my business in 2010 and thought I needed to raise cash.