Mishmosh Monday

For the first Disaffected Musings post with this title…thanks to those of you who read the blog yesterday. Usually, the first day I post after a multiple day break does not see a large number of views and visitors. Add in the fact that yesterday was a holiday and an NFL Sunday and I would have expected little activity. I was pleasantly surprised. Once again, please feel free to tell friends about this blog and to pass along the URL, to click on any or all of the Related Posts, to submit thoughtful comments and to click on any ad in which you have genuine interest. Thanks again.



Yesterday’s weather that created the opportunity for a photo like this probably also triggered the worst Meniere’s Disease “flare” I have had in years. Beginning with a very loud ringing, my right ear felt like it was underwater and I was basically deaf in that ear for a couple of hours. I also became a bit queasy.

I took 50 mg of Meclizine and, after about an hour, I felt much better. I think the underlying stress caused by our efforts to buy the “Goose Bumps” house was also a factor in the flare-up. We now have only about four weeks to negotiate an accepted offer for our current house. That’s rather difficult as we have no offers at all and have had very little traffic. Trying to be as objective as I can, I think the probability that we are successful is only about 20 percent.


I’ve been meaning to share this piece for awhile. Charlie Munger, Vice-Chairman of Warren Buffett’s company Berkshire Hathaway, states his belief that the world is not driven by greed, but by envy. (By the way, Munger turned 99 yesterday.)

Munger remarked, “I have conquered envy in my own life. I don’t envy anybody. I don’t give a damn what someone else has. But other people are driven crazy by it.” I have often written about my strong belief that being resentful and envious of people who are wealthier than you is not a sound basis for public policy. The FACT that 80 percent of American millionaires are first-generation millionaires who did NOT inherit their wealth is never reported in the mainstream media. As Huxley wrote, “Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored.”


If you’re reading this blog then you will probably enjoy this article from Hagerty authored by none other than Jay Leno. Here is how the piece begins: “The thing I like about my taste in cars is that I have no idea what it is. Really, if I had to define it, I would say I like to buy a good story more than I like to buy a particular vehicle.” He then writes about two particular car purchases and how the story “made” him buy those cars. Of course, it doesn’t hurt to have Leno’s net worth, but it’s hard to say he didn’t earn it. Here is the photo at the top of the story.



This Why Evolution Is True post is titled, “More debunked or questioned psychological studies.” The reference that really caught my eye was this, ““Expertise attained after 10,000 hours practice” (Gladwell). Disowned by the supposed proponents.”

Malcolm Gladwell wrote a book (Outliers) in which he purports to give evidence that superior achievement is basically just the result of lots of practice. Here is an excerpt from a piece by Dr. K Anders Ericsson, “In one of my first publications on expert performance I reviewed the compelling evidence for the absence of training effects on height and body size. [emphasis mine] I concluded that in many sports elite athletes are either systematically taller or shorter than the general population and these differences in height were virtually completely determined by genetic factors.”

I know people, and I’m sure you do too, who could have 10,000, 20,000 hours of training in say, Einstein’s Theory of Relativity, and not be able to explain it any better than before they started. Once again, it’s nature AND nurture. Some people have a pathological need to engage in excessive distillation of reality. That need doesn’t mean those people are correct. The world is more complex than many people want to acknowledge.









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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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Monday Musings

I am still suffering adverse effects from the first dose of the Shingrix vaccine. As such, I do not have the same perspective I have when I am less encumbered by physical maladies.

Becky Quick of CNBC interviewed Warren Buffett, Charlie Munger and Bill Gates this morning. First, a politically incorrect remark: Becky Quick has great legs. Why it’s not OK to express that view but is OK to praise someone for being a great singer is beyond me. Both are products of genetics.

Quick asked her guests about Bitcoin. Here are two comments:

Buffett: Bitcoin is an asset that creates nothing.

Munger: Bitcoin is worthless, artificial gold.

Millennials will dismiss those remarks as being the thoughts of old fogeys. (Buffett is 87, Munger is 93.) However, automatically assuming that anything new, anything created while a person is young and “vital” is progress is also a prejudiced viewpoint. Most of us suffer from temporal arrogance, but many young people of today push the arrogance to new heights. Neither human beings nor their institutions are perfect; therefore, no creation or development is automatically good just because it’s new.

All three men opined that the world is a much better place now than it was, say, 100 years ago. Munger mentioned that cars of today are remarkable feats of engineering in that a car purchased new today can be driven for ten years without any major problems. Buffett and Gates said that the world was less violent, healthier and wealthier than in generations past.

I would like to add that, IMO, a significant reason why people don’t see or acknowledge progress is that it is not in the interest of politicians to acknowledge progress. If the world is better, then why do we need more government programs?


A picture of a 1964 Corvette convertible I took this weekend at a monthly gathering “sponsored” by a local Corvette club. I LOVE C2 Corvettes. This was the only C2 at the show; most of the cars were C5, C6 or C7 models like the two blue Vettes parked next to the ’64. I grow more determined by the day to acquire a restomod C2 Corvette.