Keep Reading

My wonderful wife and I want to offer best wishes to our friend, neighbor and regular reader of Disaffected Musings, M. Bless you and be well.

I also want to wish a Happy Milestone Birthday to my childhood friend, RC. For one or two years during elementary school he ate more dinners at our house than at his own.


I think reading, real reading and not skimming Fack Fucebook posts or tweets, is a very important activity. Here are some facts from this piece:


  • “Extensive reading was linked to superior performance on measures of general knowledge, vocabulary, spelling, verbal fluency, and reading comprehension.” – Cunningham and Stanovich, 1998
  • “In one of the most extensive studies of reading yet conducted, Anderson, Wilson, and Fielding traced reading growth to reading and reading volume. They found that the amount of time students spent reading was the best predictor of reading achievement.” – Anderson, Wilson, and Fielding (1988)
  • “It is clear that reading early in life are critical factors in student success,” – Anthony W. Marx, president of the New York Public Library, New York Times (2015)
  • “Students not reading well in third grade are 4 times more likely to drop out.” – Students First, Statistics About Education in America
  • “Differences in volume of pleasure reading between good and poor readers is massive.” – Cunningham and Stanovich, 1998
  • “Differences in reading volume make an independent contribution to growth in reading and language skills.” –  Mol & Bus, 2011
  • “Research consistently shows strong correlation to reading & academic success at all ages” – National Center for Educational Statistics
  • “Variation in time spent reading can further widen the gap in achievement between good and poor readers. Avoiding this dynamic is one reason why early intervention for reading problems is so important.” – Biemiller, 1999


I think much of this country’s ills are due to poor parenting and one of the manifestations of the state of parenting is a generation seemingly unable to read. Parents, granted feeling overwhelmed at times, use electronic devices as de facto babysitters. The path of least resistance is tempting, but it is often not the best path.


From Bertrand Russell via The Muscleheaded Blog:

“The world is full of magical things patiently waiting for our wits to grow sharper.”

From Edward R. Murrow via the same source:

“The obscure we see eventually. The completely obvious, it seems, takes longer.”


From USA Today, of all places, comes a picture gallery of concept cars that didn’t make it to production. From Wikipedia a picture of one of those concept cars and what was the first concept car, the Buick Y-Job of 1938:


See the source image


That’s Harley Earl at the wheel, by this time a General Motors Vice-President, the first “stylist” to be a VP at a large corporation. The Y-Job, built on a Buick Super chassis, had all manner of advancements that seemed very futuristic for 1938. These included power-operated hidden headlights, electrically operated windows and an electrically powered convertible top.

Earl used the Y-Job as his personal car until 1951. I think the car still looks stylish today more than 80 years after it was built. How much do you suppose it would cost to have a replica built on a modern chassis with a modern drivetrain, suspension, etc.? How much do you think the original, still residing at the GM Design Center, is worth?









If you like this blog please tell your friends and share the blog URL ( Thanks.






“…a confused jumble or medley of things…”

From this CNBC article comes this chart:

United States 79,595
Japan 17,915
China 16,875
Germany 15,080
Canada 10,840
France 10,120
Hong Kong* 10,010
United Kingdom 9,370
Switzerland 6,400
Italy 5,960

OK, what is it? According to data firm Wealth-X this is the number of Ultra High Net Worth (UHNW) individuals in the ten countries with the most such people. Wealth-X defines UHNW as having a net worth of $30 million or more. By the way, the asterisk next to Hong Kong denotes that it is a “semi-autonomous, special administrative region of China.”

Seven percent of all American households have a net worth of $1 million or more and the number of US households with a net worth of $25 million or more has increased 73 percent since 2008. I have written this data before because I didn’t understand why a wealthy country with so many empty-nester and single-person households seemingly buys nothing but SUVs and pickup trucks. Thanks to my friend Robert I have come to the realization that it is America’s obesity that plays a major role in what vehicles the country’s citizens buy.

I have no problem with wealth as long as it is acquired legally. As I have also written before I believe that money I have legally earned, legally saved and legally invested belongs to me. Government does not have “dibs” on the entirety of a country’s wealth so that it can “fix” wealth distribution. Government exists to protect property rights, not to usurp them.


Speaking of property:

See the source image

From a picture of a 1995 Corvette, the next to last year of the C4 generation. Five years ago I did not care for these cars. The looks seemed bland to me and until the introduction of the “new” LT-1 engine in 1992 these cars were less than spirited performers. As I have often written, however, as I grow older my tastes have changed and I appreciate cleaner lines more. Not that I am going to buy a C4 Corvette, but if I were I would still buy something 1992 model year or newer, preferably 1995 or 1996 because the fuel injectors were improved in 1995 to deal with the effects of the corn farmers subsidy program…I mean ethanol content in gasoline.


I titled this photo “WTF Buick.” I wish I could remember the source, but it is a picture or rendering of the Buick Avista concept car. Of course, the first concept car was the Buick Y-Job from 1938:

See the source image

The photo is from From time to time American automobile manufacturers tease the public with stunning concept cars, but most of them never come close to production. Conceptus Interruptus


The next Barrett-Jackson auction begins soon so I thought it was about time for another Cristy Lee photo:


See the source image




Y-Job? No, Y-Job!

See the source image

From a picture of the first concept car, the Buick Y-Job. This car was “designed” by the legendary Harley Earl (George Snyder probably made the actual drawing) and was produced in 1938. While it was a concept car, it was drivable and, in fact, Harley Earl drove it for years. The car had a Buick straight 8-cylinder engine (modern V-8s were a decade away) and, except for the brakes, was basically a stock Buick Super underneath the body.

See the source image

From another view of the Y-Job showing the waterfall grille that Buicks still have to this day. Other styling cues from this car would be used in Buicks for at least a decade afterwards.

I would never modify the actual Y-Job if I were to somehow acquire it (I doubt GM will ever sell it or relinquish ownership in any way), but if I were really wealthy I might commission someone to make a faithful replica of the body and then put a modern drive train underneath. Once a resto-modder, always a resto-modder. I think the look is timeless, but the engineering is not.