Monday Musings 64

Today’s earworm, “Come On Down To My Boat” by Every Mothers’ Son, is sponsored by OCD. The group was a one-hit wonder and the song peaked at #6 on the Billboard chart in 1967. Maybe I just have to stop listening to Sixties on Six on Sirius/XM.

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I will be undergoing a “minor” surgical/diagnostic procedure today at the Mayo Clinic. I believe this will be the third time I have had this particular procedure done. Please wish me luck.

You know the old joke about surgery, right? Major surgery is any surgery you’re having while minor surgery is surgery on anyone else.

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Should I count the days until we receive our second vaccine shot against the damn virus or until we have “full immunity” about two weeks later? In case you’re curious, [Everyone in unison] or even if you’re not, it’s 11 days until the second shot so about 25 days until we’re “free.”

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Today’s installment of “People Vote With Their Feet” is courtesy of this CNBC video about the mass exodus of people and businesses leaving California and moving to Texas. Like everything else, this is not all good or all bad for Texas. From the video summary:

 

“Oracle moved its headquarters to Austin, Texas late last year. Tesla is also building its new Gigafactory there, and Apple will house its second-largest campus in Texas’ capital city. This Big Tech influx has raised chatter about Texas potentially becoming a business hub that could rival Silicon Valley.”

“CBRE and Charles Schwab relocated their headquarters from California to the Dallas area in recent months, and Hewlett Packard Enterprise is headed to Houston. Texas has also attracted wealthy individuals like Joe Rogan, Elon Musk, Dropbox CEO Drew Houston and Palantir co-founder Joe Lonsdale.”

 

In a federal republic like the US, different states can have different laws and regulations. Who knows? One or two really bad earthquakes and perhaps California could become a ghost state. Once again, people want to reap most of the rewards of their labor and not have them confiscated by government. When they can, people vote with their feet so they can enjoy more of those rewards.

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How about this as a reward? From this Road and Track article a picture of the Aston Martin Valhalla:

 

Land vehicle, Automotive design, Vehicle, Supercar, Car, Sports car, Performance car, Concept car, Coupé, City car,

 

When first announced Aston targeted 2021 as the start of manufacture for this limited production (500 units) automobile. I don’t know if any have been produced or sold. A price bandied about but not confirmed by the company is $1.3 million. Unlike many people, I don’t begrudge wealth as long as it has been acquired or built legally. If you can really afford to buy a car for $1.3 million, then more power to you. Hopefully this link to a picture from Aston Martin’s website won’t break:

 

 

The website ad copy is sparse; detailed specs are not shown. Supposedly, the heart of the car will be a turbocharged V-6 developed totally in house by Aston Martin. I think some Aston fans were not happy the car doesn’t have a V-8 or V-12. Welcome to the 21st century…

If you can reward yourself with one of these, go right ahead. Being resentful and envious of people who are wealthier than you is not a sound basis for public policy. The politics of envy are a road to mediocrity.

 

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PS, thanks to everyone who responded yesterday to my “lament” about the decline in comments by commenting.

 

Still An Important Anniversary

December 23, 1987 will always be one of the most significant days in my life. PLEASE read An Important Anniversary, which I posted on this day last year.

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OK, what do these three pictures represent?

 

 

The top is a view from my office in our previous home; the bottom two are views from my office now. I wonder if people who were born and raised here or who have lived here a long time take the views for granted. I hope I never do.

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So far, about 800,000 people in the US have received the first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. That number is about 2.5 million worldwide. I know the MSM has a different take, but I think it’s amazing that in about a year since the virus was discovered in the human population, vaccines have been developed, tested and given to millions of people. (Update: the CDC just announced that the number of vaccine doses administered has surpassed one million.)

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What was the best-selling car in the US in 2000 that was made by an American company? The answer is the Ford Taurus, picture below from IIHS:

 

See the source image

 

The Taurus was manufactured from October, 1985 through March, 2019 except for a brief hiatus in 2006-07. About 8.1 million cars with the Taurus “nameplate” were produced in total.

The Taurus grew out of an effort to improve manufacturing processes at Ford. My friend Dr S (a PhD in Statistics) will appreciate this: Ford adopted a quality culture employing statistical process control across all aspects of automobile design and manufacture. The Ford Taurus was the first Ford model resulting from this statistical approach to manufacture.

Even 20 years ago, however, the writing was on the wall about the future of vehicles like the Taurus. The top three selling vehicles were the Ford F-Series pickup trucks, the Chevrolet Silverado and the Ford Explorer. The F-Series sold more than twice as many units as the Taurus.

As I have written here ad infinitum, I weep at the trend towards SUVs and pickup trucks. In addition, NO ONE will ever be able to convince me that America’s march to obesity isn’t the primary reason for that trend. More than 70% of American adults are overweight and more than a third are obese. The fact that SUVs have higher profit margins than cars means that automobile manufacturers are only too happy to oblige the trend. Give me one of these any day; oh, I already have one:

 

 

#StillAnImportantAnniversary

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#LongLiveTheCorvette!

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Monday Musings 55

A very random post today…

Throwback Thursday 36, a post from February about the 1920 Presidential Election, has now received views every day for more than two weeks. On some days the number of views has been quite significant and the post has accounted for about 8 percent of all blog views since August 31, although that percentage has declined a bit in the last few days. Even though I have edited that post to include a question about how people are finding it, no one has responded.

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Yesterday was, of course, the first Sunday of the 2020 NFL season. I hardly watched at all even though DirecTV is giving us Sunday Ticket for free this year. It figures that we would receive the NFL package for free this year as it is highly unlikely we will be living here for much of the NFL season and we are not going to continue to subscribe to DirecTV after we move. Since the company was purchased by AT&T, their customer service and the service itself have gone downhill.

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Before the virus I estimated the probability of the current occupant of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue being re-elected at 60%-65%. I now think that probability is no more than half of my original estimate. Since my first blog, hosted by the Evil Empire (aka Google), has been deleted forever I cannot prove what I am about to write. However, I wrote that the 2016 election was a tossup despite the assessment of virtually all “pundits.” I was not surprised at the outcome.

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In this article, the results of a poll about a potential COVID-19 vaccine were shown. Frighteningly, in my opinion, only one-third of Americans would get vaccinated as soon as a vaccine is approved and about one-quarter would NEVER get vaccinated. The others say they would wait although what they would wait for is not clear. (Not surprisingly, people aged 74 or older were the group with the highest percentage of willingness to be vaccinated right away.) If three-quarters of the population gets vaccinated and the vaccine is 60% effective, the virus would continue to circulate in the population although at reduced levels compared to the current situation.

The state in which we still live is among about a dozen with a recent increase in the number of reported cases. It is in the state’s southern most and most rural county in which the number of cases has been the highest per capita. However, a recent cluster of cases has been reported at the state’s fairly large university, which is not far from where we live. This CNBC article reports that at the University of Tennessee and the University of Wisconsin, secret fraternity parties seemed to be at fault for outbreaks at those two institutions. Is this equation correct? Young In America = Stupid In America  An ignorant, excessively hedonistic youth does not bode well for the future of this country. In a world where competition comes from everywhere, the fact that this is the United States no longer insulates the country from the manifestations of a generation that is, for the most part, not meaningfully educated.

“We’re churning out a generation of poorly educated people with no skill, no ambition, no guidance, and no realistic expectations of what it means to go to work.”

– Mike Rowe

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This Hemmings article asks, “For similar money, is the Corvette for you a C3, C4, or C5?” At first I pasted in the image from the article. Then, the picture disappeared. The new WordPress block editor is most decidedly user-hostile so my attempt to replace those pictures may not succeed.

 

See the source image

See the source image

See the source image

 

The article states that C1 and C2 Corvettes are now “blue-chip collectibles” with high price tags and that C6 and C7 cars are “just” used cars riding down the depreciation curve. That’s why the focus was on C3, C4 and C5 Corvettes.

Some commenters expressed a preference for the “pre-computer” C3 saying the further we go out in time, the easier it would be to get that generation serviced or work on it yourself. I understand the sentiment, but given how many Corvettes have been built I suspect aftermarket parts will be available for a long time.

I have owned a C5, a 2002 model, and it was my “gateway” car to being a Corvette fanatic. I suspect it’s way ahead of the C3 and C4 in terms of drivability and reliability. In recent years, though, I have come to like the looks of the C4 better. A later C4, at least no older than 1992 and preferably one from 1995 or 1996, might be a nice way into the Corvette market.

Does anyone have an opinion on which Corvette they would buy given a choice of these generations? We would like to read your views.

 

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