Monday Musings 47

I am aware that I write some things more than once. I have written almost 800 posts in 28 months and cannot remember everything I’ve ever written. However, most of the time that I repeat myself is for effect.

I have written many times that if you’re reading the blog then you should read the comments. I have no way of knowing how many of you are doing so. Below is an exchange of comments between me and photobyjohnbo. By the way, if you like great photography you should check out his blog.



Looks like you hit a chord with people and your comments on technical vs college education. As a lifetime member of the Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE) and a former technical trades editor, you are certainly preaching to this member of the choir.

My favorite question to young people mentioning college is, “Do you know what the NDSU (North Dakota State University) grad says to the NDSCS (North Dakota State College of Science) Grad?”
“Will that be fries with your order, sir?”
NDSCS is one of the state’s major technical colleges. Most people are familiar with the NDSU Bison.


My reply:


Obviously I have nothing against a college education. I have two degrees and the second one, my graduate degree in Economics, opened a lot of doors for me until it didn’t. However, I fervently maintain that too many people attend college and not enough people learn a skilled trade. I also steadfastly maintain that the misguided government policies that excessively subsidize consumption of “higher education” are the single biggest reason college costs have exploded. As the economist in me knows, an exogenous upward shift in the demand curve of a good or service–in this case due to subsidization–combined with a relatively fixed supply (in large part due to universities seeing themselves as a luxury good) means the only variable that can adjust is price and it can only go straight up.

What’s the solution? I have my own ideas, but in this country of excessive political polarization it is doubtful anything will get done. In fact, it is likely that the only change will result in the situation getting worse as people almost always choose what they think is the path of least resistance and voting themselves a “free” college education fits that definition. Of course, NOTHING is free even if it seems to be free to you.


In this country, politicians are far less concerned about quality governance than about getting elected/re-elected. Promising “free” stuff is a great way to make the latter happen, not such a good way for the former. Does anyone else have anything to offer?



My OCD is really locking in on this car, a Maserati GranTurismo (this one is a 2008 model). I think the Buick-like portholes are playing a large role in that new obsession, perhaps more in my subconscious than conscious mind. The first family car I remember and the first car I ever drove was a 1956 Buick Century.

As our latest setback has pushed the relocation timetable into limbo, the search for a Corvette companion/grocery car has abated. I also realize that we can achieve our goal of a grocery car with style and performance less expensively than buying one of these. All I can say is, Carpe Diem!








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Monday Musings

The death of Kobe Bryant in a helicopter crash yesterday is sad and shocking. That is true for me even though I am not an NBA fan and have not been one since the early 1980s.

The harsh, but very profound lesson is to Carpe Diem, Seize The Day! Do not put off doing something until later because none of us is guaranteed later. Look for that better job, move to that better place. Do not let others without legitimate authority over your life tell you what to do and how to live.


V Squared, I LOVE YOU!!!


From the untimely death of a famous athlete to the attempted extermination of an entire people…today is International Holocaust Remembrance Day because on this day in 1945 the Soviet Army reached the Auschwitz concentration camp. This day has been observed throughout the world since 2005.

About 1.1 million people died in Auschwitz, of whom about 80% were Jews. The number of Jews who died in Auschwitz is equal to the current population of the city of Indianapolis, the 17th largest city in the US.

This day is not really a day about words, and I should probably be more discreet in that members of my family were among those who died in the Holocaust, but I cannot resist because of my intense contempt and hatred for Holocaust deniers and anti-Semites. To the people in those groups, including those serving in Congress, Zolst Leegen En Drerd! One more thing:

Never Forget! Never Again!


I was going to try to segue to something lighter, but not today.









Frugal Friday

At today’s end an eighth of 2019 will already be gone. Carpe Diem!


From today’s Friday Funnies by 56packardman:

gas $1.39


Reader “David Banner” suggested writing about collector cars for “the average Joe/Jill.” I think that’s a good idea although defining “average” and “collector car” is subjective.

Today’s selections are from Hemmings and, as such, the listings belong to them. As today’s Frugal Friday is the first I am kind of winging it. If I continue the feature I will probably not rely solely on Hemmings.

For today I chose cars listed at between $9,000 and $10,000, inclusive, and cars that were made between 1989 and 2004. The criteria are arbitrary, I admit. That reminds of me what I used to say about salary arbitration in baseball. Salary arbitration is well-named because the results are completely arbitrary. I also only included cars sold at US dealers and not by individuals as well as including only those ads with photos. I will try to avoid cars about which I have written before, but it is inevitable that some of them will be included. Without further ado:

Here is a 1991 Chevrolet Camaro RS:

It’s in Red Metallic over Gray and has only 56,000-ish miles. It’s not an overly powerful car; the engine is a 305 cubic-inch V-8 rated at 170 HP/255 LB-FT of torque, which is not a high output for a 3,300 pound car. It has a 4-speed automatic transmission. The asking price is $9,500.

About 101,000 Camaros were produced for the 1991 model year. I think if you want a nice driver with a little flair for not a lot of money you could do a lot worse than this car. ALL used cars come with risk.


A Jaguar for under $10,000?! Yep…

This gorgeous burgundy over beige 2001 Jaguar XK-8 coupe with about 56,000 miles is listed for $9,900. My wonderful wife had an XK-8 convertible and it was not without its issues, but they are beautiful cars and are nice GT cruisers. Bill Stephens, one of the hosts of Mecum Auto Auctions on NBCSN, has an XK-8 about which he speaks very highly.

This car has a 4-liter (244 cubic inches for the aforementioned Bill Stephens) V-8 engine rated at 290 HP/290 LB-FT of torque. The XK-8 has a five-speed automatic transmission. Even if you had to put $2,000-$4,000 into the car after purchase, you would still have a Jaguar that cost you less than $15,000.

Please let me know what you thought of the first Frugal Friday post.


Had to include a link to this CNBC article about Charlie Munger, Vice-Chairman of Berkshire Hathaway. The title is, “Charlie Munger says California, Connecticut have been ‘stupid’ for driving rich people away.”





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Mittwoch Assortment

Condolences to the family of Sergio Marchionne and to Fiat-Chrysler. On a wall in his office in Turin hung these words; “Every act of creation is first of all an act of destruction.”


Mittwoch (“middle of the week”) is the German/Yiddish word for Wednesday.


From this paper comes these words:

“However, when people are asked about the ideal distribution of wealth in their country, they actually prefer unequal societies. We suggest that these two phenomena can be reconciled by noticing that, despite appearances to the contrary, there is no evidence that people are bothered by economic inequality itself. Rather, they are bothered by something that is often confounded with inequality: economic unfairness. Drawing upon laboratory studies, cross-cultural research, and experiments with babies and young children, we argue that humans naturally favour fair distributions, not equal ones, and that when fairness and equality clash, people prefer fair inequality over unfair equality. [emphasis mine]”

Of course, “fair” is subjective, but beware of those who advocate equality of outcome and not equality of opportunity. Those two concepts are NOT identical.


Not to belittle the memory of Sergio Marchionne, but it seems appropriate to show some “related” automobiles.

See the source image

From a picture of the “entry-level” Ferrari, the Portofino. This car replaced the California in the Ferrari lineup. Marchionne orchestrated the spinoff of Ferrari as a public company in 2015. (Piero Ferrari retains a 10% stake in the company and only 10% of the company was actually offered in the IPO with the rest of the ownership “spun off”—using Ferrari’s words from their website—to holders of FCA shares and holders of FCA mandatory convertible securities.) Ferrari trades under the symbol “RACE.”

See the source image

From a photo of a modern Fiat 124 Abarth Spider. The new 124 is, of course, closely related to the new generation Mazda MX-5 Miata. The Miata recently had a power boost; I don’t know if the Fiat 124 Spider will also see such an upgrade.

Carpe Diem!


Not counting Puerto Rico as a separate country (WordPress does) people in 20 different countries have read this blog. I think that’s amazing especially given I have no other social media presence (and never will) and the blog is barely three months old. The US accounts for 95% of page views with Canada and Israel tied for second.

What are the best books you’ve ever read? These days, if the topic is not automobiles or finance I can’t seem to concentrate enough to read a book, but I used to read all sorts of non-fiction. I am a fan of Tim Harford (The Undercover Economist, The Logic of Life).

Which of these do you prefer?

See the source image

See the source image

See the source image

From, and are pictures of a 1967 Chevrolet Camaro (top), a 1968 Camaro (middle) and a 1969 Camaro (bottom).

Which one do you like best? I know I could add a poll, but I’d rather compel you to send a comment. Me? I like them all and maybe one day I’ll own one, but I like the 1968 the best. I’m not crazy about the vent window in the 1967 and I like the more aggressive curve of the 1967-68 rear fender compared to the slightly flatter look on the 1969.

My first college roommate owned a legitimate 1969 Z-28. It was black with white stripes and had the high-winding 302 cubic inch V-8, rated at 290 HP, but closer to 340-350 in reality. He and I would cruise around campus doing first-gear bouncies in our muscle cars; I had a 1967 Pontiac GTO. Those cruises seem like another lifetime ago. Carpe Diem!