A Saturday Audible

It is sheer coincidence that today’s post title has the word “audible” in it; today is the first day of the 2022 college football season. In the context of America’s favorite sport (football in general) an audible is a last-second change of play by the quarterback.

Originally, I was going to write about something else today and make a confession, of sorts. I have decided to wait until the relevant situation has been resolved before I make that confession.

Below is an appropriate picture to mark this day, however (when in Rome…). I used to be a huge fan of this school’s football team, but it has become increasingly difficult to remain a fan because their performance has been so far below what it was for the first three decades of my fandom. Go Big Red? Now, watch them be upset in their season debut; they are 10-12 point favorites.


Riddell Nebraska Huskers Revolution Speed Full-Size Replica Football Helmet


On this day in 1859 Edwin Drake’s well, drilled in an effort to extract oil, reached 69.5 feet. Initially, there were no signs of oil (the drilling–in Cherry Township, Pennsylvania–had begun nearly a month earlier). However, the next day the hole was filled with crude oil.

While this particular well was not profitable this event signaled the beginning of oil as a primary fuel for use in the industrialized world. That era will come to an end, but not as quickly as the zealots think, in my opinion.

The number of cars and light trucks owned by people all over the world is probably about 1.2 billion. Almost all of them are powered by internal combustion engines (ICE). Millions of ICE-powered vehicles are still being manufactured every year.

Unless governments enact an outright ban on ICE-powered cars, an extremely ill-advised move given the total disruption it would cause, it will take decades until they are completely replaced by something else. Of course, as I have written time and time again, eFuels/synthetic fuels are a path to a world with lower emissions from vehicles that makes much more sense than spending billions or even trillions to move to an all-electric vehicle fleet. By the way, did you know that cars and trucks only produce about 20% of CO2 emissions?

That being said, I saw one of these cars on the way back from breakfast this morning and continue to be wowed by its looks.


See the source image


Yes, this is the Cadillac ELR, a plug-in hybrid sold in model years 2014 and 2016. The ELR was based on the Chevrolet Volt’s platform although, of course, it was much more expensive than its Chevrolet cousin.

To me, this is what the two-door CTS of roughly the same period should have looked like. In 2013 (the calendar year in which manufacture began), the ELR was awarded “Best Production Vehicle” in the Eyes on Design Awards. However, the ELR was a failure as only about 3,000 were manufactured.

Although I know they are designed primarily for aerodynamics, I don’t think Teslas have an appealing exterior design. They look rounded-off or “melted” to use Todd Deeken’s word. I think the ELR is easily one of the best-looking cars of the 21st century, although that is at least as much an indictment of current automotive styling as it is praise for the ELR.

Maybe it’s just a coincidence, but I think seeing an ELR today (and I have seen one–perhaps the same one, maybe not–on several occasions since moving to Arizona) is another example of the amazing car culture here. Yes, the metropolitan area population here is five times that of the state in which we lived before we moved to Arizona. Yes, in this part of Arizona median/mean household income and net worth are much higher than where we used to live. Still, those conditions don’t necessarily have to manifest themselves as car fandom.

I like to think that I am not a narrow-minded person. My disdain for the zealots’ push to move to EVs is not denial about the very likely scenario that electric-powered cars will become the dominant paradigm sometime in the future. I do not think EVs are the answer, they are certainly not the only answer, but I can read the writing on the wall.

As always, and even though this is well-worn territory, I would like to read your thoughts on this topic. Thanks.








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Munday Mosings

I have never been a fan of Tom Brady. Although I am well aware of the hyper-competitive nature of professional athletes–I did work in major league baseball for 20+ years–Brady’s competitiveness seems beyond pathological.

What he does with his life is his business, of course, but “un-retiring” weeks after making a retirement announcement seems very “off” to me.  Could it be given the news regarding Aaron Rodgers, Russell Wilson and DeShaun Watson that Brady just had to get back into the spotlight?

One of my favorite movies is Quiz Show, which is about the TV game show scandals of the 1950s. Herb Stempel (played by John Turturro) was a very successful contestant on the show Twenty-One. I don’t remember the context of this remark, but Richard Goodwin (a US Congressional lawyer investigating the game shows and played by Rob Morrow) says about Stempel, “He’ll have to be dragged from the spotlight with his teeth marks on it.” Maybe that describes Brady as well.


My wonderful wife and I attended two car gatherings yesterday. The first proved not to be our cup of tea although, at first, we were pleased that it was a much younger crowd than attends most such events here. We were most definitely outsiders. Almost all of the cars were German or Japanese and most of them were heavily modified. The good thing about the Japanese leaning was that a lot of these cars were there:



When I write “a lot” I mean like three or four. These are, of course, Nissan GT-Rs. Even in this car-crazy part of the world, these automobiles are not seen often. Here is another photo from this event.



Yes, that is my Z06 parked next to a new Toyota Supra. I texted this photo to my (i)ncomparable niece who is currently visiting her father in Israel. She is a huge fan of the Supra.

Since we were not far from there at this gathering, we headed east to Fountain Hills where a local restaurant “hosts” a show every Sunday except during the hottest part of the year. This event is much more typical of those held in the area both in terms of age of participants and types of cars seen. Unlike the first event at which Corvettes were rare, this was a typical sight in Fountain Hills.



The bottom photo was my attempt to show seven C1 Corvettes lined up in a row. I think all eight Corvette generations were represented here. Yes, I will include the obligatory scenery shot from yesterday although I have taken many such views from all over the Phoenix area in our 16+ months here.



Of course, that shot could have been taken in California as was this shot sans lake:



As always, I welcome thoughtful comments.






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Sunday “Sermon”

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

“The evil that men do lives after them; the good is oft interred with their bones.”

“Life’s but a walking shadow…a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.”

– Shakespeare


After communicating via phone, email and text for more than 35 years, “Herb Schwartz” and I finally met last week. My wonderful wife and I drove to Palm Desert, California where “Herb” and his wife spend the winter.

“Herb” is a former major league baseball player and has been a sports columnist for a long time. As he used to write “insider” info I occasionally gave him during my many years in baseball (he returned the favor by providing me with info) it is better if his identity is not revealed.

The three of us had a blast over breakfast, which went far too quickly. “Herb” had a tee time at noon and our confab lasted only a little over an hour. Obviously, we can’t wait another 35+ years to meet again. Despite what quantum physicists tell us, it sure seems as though time only goes one way.


As Palm Springs is not far from Palm Desert, my wonderful wife and I drove there one afternoon. In all honesty, I wasn’t that impressed with “Downtown” Palm Springs as it seemed tired to me and too much of one note.

One venue that did impress me was the Palm Springs Air Museum. The sheer size of some of the military aircraft was unknown to me beforehand and I was not able to get many shots where I could show an entire plane up close. Here are some photos; I apologize for their less than sterling quality.



I don’t know if you can tell by the palm trees, but it was extremely windy the day we visited the museum. I think wind gusts were easily in excess of 50 MPH.



I even piloted a C-130; of course, that was on a simulator. A retired Air Force pilot “manning” the museum library was among the many volunteers. We chatted and he casually offered me an opportunity to fly the plane. After takeoff, I basically followed the Thames River over London. It was not easy, but it was fun and I learned a lot. I am also now tempted to buy a flight simulator for my computer.


I attended the monthly Cars And Coffee at the local “event venue” yesterday. I went by myself as I wanted to get there very early to get a premium parking spot and didn’t want to disturb my wonderful wife. Well, I didn’t want to disturb her any more than I usually do.  🙂

The event is scheduled for 7 AM to 10 AM, but when I arrived at 6:20 I was not the first person there. The venue was already open and as it was a tad cold for me–about 40° F–I went inside and had some coffee and donut holes.

Once again, I am amazed at the car culture here. I wouldn’t want to guess the combined value of the cars, but it was easily well into eight figures. Without further ado:



It seemed like fate that I should see a Cadillac XLR yesterday given my growing interest in buying one. I introduced myself to Howard, the owner of the car as well as the owner of the realty office in this business area. He was very nice, but couldn’t offer much insight about this particular car as he has only owned it for one week. He did offer that he knows the XLR has issues, especially for the 2004 and 2005 model years; his is a 2005.

The fact that the car is next to a Ferrari is par for this event and for the Arizona car scene, in general. I have seen a real Ferrari Enzo at this event, of which only 400 were produced from 2002 to 2004.



I did not try to include Ferraris in every photo, but they were quite numerous yesterday as they usually are.


I cannot guarantee a return to my previous blogging schedule, even after we leave the busy month of March. I will try to finish the Cars A To Z series in a timely manner.








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Tuesday Tilt

I’m not a pinball player; to me, tilt means “warning, collapse imminent.” That is not an attempt to make light of the condo collapse in Florida. However, I would like someone to explain to me why so many people live there. (Sorry, Bob.) It’s always humid (in Miami, the average daily dewpoint is 70° or higher from April to October, that’s oppressively humid), there’s lots of lightning and the state is vulnerable to hurricanes. Florida is the sinkhole capital of the world. Miami receives an annual average of 62 inches of rain. People think Seattle is rainy, but it averages 38 inches of precipitation a year. Just sayin’…

The word “tilt” is relevant today because of a dream I had. I dreamt I was going grocery shopping at Wegmans, which is not possible, of course, because they have no stores in Arizona. “Tilt” comes into play because my transportation was one of those three-wheeled motorcycles. No, I neither have nor want one, at least I don’t think so. Anyway…I felt quite free driving this vehicle in part because I could tilt it some. I don’t really know if a three-wheeler can be tilted in a manner similar to a traditional motorcycle, but remember this was just a dream. However, I also felt somewhat afraid that I would tilt it too far and roll the bike over.

When I arrived at Wegmans I realized I wasn’t sure which set of stairs to take up to the store itself. The parking area was below street level. Also, the lack of practicality in where the groceries would fit on the three-wheeler was, apparently, not an issue. I almost walked up the first flight of stairs, but somehow knew that wasn’t the right one. I walked up the next flight and, sure enough, wound up in the store. That’s where the dream ended.

What does that dream mean? I refuse to believe it is just a random filtering of information never intended to be interpreted. Any amateur or professional psychologists out there are welcome to offer an interpretation.


Speaking of psychology, this piece is titled, “Failure of replication in psychology.” One part of this was very interesting to me; it’s about science, in general, and not psychology, in particular.


“A list of “replication failures” does serve to remind us that science is fallible, an ongoing enterprise that is subject to revision. Nothing is “proven” in science; the concept of “proof” is for mathematics, where there’s no “replication crisis.” Science is a Bayesian enterprise, in which accumulating evidence combines to give us more or less confidence in a hypothesis.”


The author then writes,


“But remember, too, that many scientific “facts” are very unlikely to be overturned, and, using any reasonable layperson’s notion of “proof”, have been proved.  A molecule of normal water has two hydrogen atoms and one oxygen atom, the normal form of DNA is a double helix, the speed of light in a vacuum is 299792458 meters per second (roughly 186,000 miles per second) and so on.”


I think some skepticism toward all human endeavors is good. Of course, when to drop the skepticism in light of overwhelming evidence is not always an easy call. What is overwhelming evidence? The average person has no idea about confidence intervals and Nate Silver argues that entire paradigm is flawed, anyway.

To quote André Gide again, “Trust those who seek truth but doubt those who say they have found it.”


A picture from yesterday:



Yes, I am still quite smitten by the desert scenery. You have to remember I grew up in Baltimore, a place with little topography, but with the occasional tall tree that blocked views into the distance.

In the context of Arizona, the mountain closest to us is basically just a tall hill. It is, however, higher in elevation than any place in the entire state of Maryland.


The longest-running car event in the country has resumed and it’s held in Scottsdale, Arizona. I believe the “official” title is the Pavilions Rock-n-Roll Car Show. It was on hiatus for over a year because of the damn virus, but has returned to its weekly schedule.

As I have written, virtually all of the people we meet at these events are friendly. We met a young man named Steven who arrived in his beautiful Honda S2000 and we spoke for 10-15 minutes. I also saw this car, one of my favorites although I think it will fall just short of inclusion in Ultimate Garage 3.0.



This is, of course, a 1987 Buick Grand National. Oh, the lack of cars around the Buick was, unfortunately, representative of attendance at the event. I think the word has not really gotten out that the Pavilions show is back.

Do any of you have a car, or cars, about which you have a similar feeling? By that I mean a car you really like and are always glad to see, but one that does not quite rise to the level of “Ultimate.”











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