Tuesday Tidbits

No, I don’t mean these although I wish they were still available:


See the source image


This CNBC article reports on the recovery of much of the Bitcoin paid to the Colonial Pipeline hackers. With a court order, US government officials were able to identify a virtual currency wallet used by the hackers and retrieve the “funds.” This morning, the price of Bitcoin is declining sharply. Let’s see: the bad guys suffered and now Bitcoin is “suffering.” I think there’s a message in that…

The main reason that Bitcoin has become the favored payoff for modern digital criminals is that it is supposed to be untraceable after the transaction. Well, I guess it isn’t.


This piece reports on how “wokeness” and “cancel culture” threaten real freedom of speech in the publishing industry. It’s not written by a person of conservative ideology, by the way. While the author maintains that freedom of speech doesn’t really apply to publishing companies, here is the last sentence of the post: “It would be sad if senior editors started capitulating to their offended or woke staff, for that would lead to the homogenization of literature (most publishing staff are liberals).” By literature, he means all books and not just fiction.


Ultimate Garage 3.0 is getting out of control. My list is up to 17-18 cars. While that represents an infinitesimal fraction of all cars ever made, of course, it sure is a case of “garage inflation” when one considers the first Ultimate Garage I published had 7 cars.

Does that increase stem from learning more about cars, about being more immersed in the automotive world than ever before? Am I just getting more indecisive as I age? I guess I’m supposed to show a car photo here. Let’s see…



This is a picture of a 1967 Corvette restomod I took at the 2019 Barrett-Jackson auction in Scottsdale, Arizona. (I wonder where that is? Yes, that is sarcasm…) I had hoped to bid on the car, but the bidding took off and the car hammered for $192,500 all in.

The prices of C2 Corvette restomods at that auction, in addition to the cost and time of having one built, were major factors in my decision to buy a C7 Z06. Of course, I actually bid on two C7 Corvettes at that auction, but had the next-to-last bid both times and each of those bids was $71,500 all in, a long way from $192,500.

While I don’t think I will ever be in a position to acquire a C2 Corvette convertible restomod, at least not without parting with my Z06, I still very much would like to have one. If Ultimate Garage 3.0 is published, it will come as no shock that one of these will be included.









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Throw In The Towel Thursday

Seemingly overnight, the world is beyond me. Bitcoin, which to me is an “asset” based on nothing but peoples’ belief in it, is soaring to new high values. Some companies are adding it to their balance sheet. The oldest bank in America will now hold, transfer and issue Bitcoin on behalf of its asset management clients.

Jim Cramer of CNBC, whose opinion I respect, owns some Bitcoin and thinks companies should do the same. He believes it’s a hedge against the activities of central banks. It is true that in the last year the M2 measure of the US money supply has increased by $4 trillion. Obviously, this monetary policy has been in response to the effects of the damn virus. Incredibly though, more than 20% of all U.S. broad money now in circulation was created during the last year. (Thanks to Rick Rieder and his group at Blackrock for that data.) I think that Bitcoin is too volatile to be a currency, an investment or anything else, but maybe the world is way beyond me.

Vehicle manufacturers are proceeding rapidly to an all-electric portfolio in the next 10 to 15 years, even though very few people actually buy electric vehicles today. (The best estimates are that electric vehicles account for only 2%-3% of sales at present.) The cynical part of me thinks part of the motivation, particularly for Ford and GM, is they want the price of their stock to grow like that of Tesla.

I am very aware that many changes are unforeseen and of huge magnitude. Something about all of this is still quite unsettling to me.

I am appalled by the seemingly exponential growth in what I call the “Ignorant Me Me” population, which I think is fueled by “social media.” It is frightening to me how many people have zero regard or respect for anyone else. It is mind boggling that so many people listen to politicians, to actors, to athletes instead of listening to scientists. I don’t think science is perfect–it is an endeavor of imperfect people, after all–but the vast majority of scientists are just trying to understand some part of the universe better, not trying to get you to vote for them or watch their movies/TV shows.

I guess I’ve had my say, for now. I would like to read your thoughts. I’m not really going to throw in the towel, but at times I really want to.


This Corvette Blogger article has some relevance to today’s post. Unlike some who have predicted the C8 will be the last ICE Corvette, Dave Cruikshank offers his informed opinion that “the C9 Corvette will be to the C8 as the C6 was to the C5.” Cruikshank does think, though, that the C9 will be last ICE Corvette. He writes, “With all the R&D money invested in the C8’s exotic architecture, we predict that GM will want upwards of ten years of production to maximize the return on its latest brainchild. Let’s be crystal clear here though, there will not be another gas-powered Corvette developed after the life-cycle of the current car expires.”

From the piece a picture of the mid-engine Corvette Indy concept car:


Mid-Engine Corvette Indy Concept


Many Corvette “purists” wrung their hands and dogmatically predicted the demise of the Corvette after the announcement of the mid-engine architecture. Not all precincts have reported, but early returns suggest that they were wrong as the C8 seems to be extremely popular, especially among buyers who would not have purchased a Corvette before.

IF it is done properly, it is entirely possible that an all-electric Corvette could be very popular. It won’t sound like this, though:










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PS, from my friend of almost 40 years, Professor M:


Bitcoin is just another commodity right now, no different that the host of others.  Some think it may eventually become a recognized currency, but regulation of its use and fierce competition from other cryptocurrencies will occur long before.  It remains to be seen how things will turn out, but to me, Bitcoin is a fad at present.

As for the money supply, I share your concern about its recent growth.  (The Fed has also changed its accounting – M1 now contains savings account balances, which were previously counted only in M2, so the difference between M1 and M2 has become barely noticeable.)  However, just as in the aftermath of the financial crisis of 2008 – 2011, the velocity of money has slowed considerably.  This results in more money in the economy for any given level of GDP i.e. the additional money isn’t necessarily translating to increasing aggregate demand – that’s the only reason it hasn’t been particularly inflationary (up to this point, anyway.)  It’s the result of QE (quantitative easing) which is being carried out to keep longer-run interest rates low in addition to SR rates, ostensibly to fuel the economy.  One of the obvious downsides to this strategy is that the low interest rates give government a greater incentive to borrow.  (Quantity demanded and price are inversely proportional.)  Not to mention creating a disincentive to save which sends the wrong message especially to young people.

Politics will defeat sound economics every time.  Trump thought the economy meant the stock market.  Biden is acting like he wants to pay for his election to office by being overly generous.  Go figure.