Moon Balloon

These admittedly less than stellar photos are the inspiration for today’s post title.



As I have written a time or two before, hot-air ballooning is popular here. The juxtaposition of the balloons and the almost full moon was irresistible; I just wish the photos had turned out better.


The power of Cristy Lee…yesterday saw the most views in a day without a post in the 45+ month history of Disaffected Musings. The last three days have had, basically, a week’s worth of views and visitors.



That ear next to the left side of her face is my ear. This picture was taken at the Barrett-Jackson auction in Scottsdale, almost three years ago.

My wonderful wife and I plan to attend the next Scottsdale auction in about three months. It was that trip in January of 2019 that sparked the desire to move to Arizona, which culminated in our move almost a year ago.

It is really incomprehensible to us that we have been living here almost a year. Of course, as is the case with life, it has been far from an all-good period, but we are happy to be here.


According to 365 Days of Motoring, on this day in 1896 William Jennings Bryan became the first US presidential candidate to campaign in an automobile during a stop in Decatur, Illinois. A blog post is an inappropriate venue in which to discuss Bryan’s life.

One thing that interests me, though, is the fact that Bryan was born before the outbreak of the US Civil War and yet rode in an automobile. He lived to see powered, heavier than air flight. Do people really assimilate the sometimes immense changes in technology that occur during their lifetimes, or is it like losing hair and losing weight in that it takes an outsider to really notice? Of course, when it comes to the changes in technology, who would that outsider be?

I have long been fascinated with the concept of time travel although I am in the camp that meaningful time travel will never be possible. I wrote a post whose link I cannot find about taking a modern performance car back to the 1950s or 1960s and what effect it might have on the car enthusiasts of that day. Even more dramatic might be taking such a car back to the nadir of American automotive performance, the mid 1970s through the early 1980s, and seeing the effect it would have.

Of course, many car enthusiasts of today were alive when cars were denuded. Do they appreciate what cars of today can do? From Muscle Garage a picture of a 1981 Corvette:


See the source image


This car was available with only one engine, a carburetor-fed, 350 cubic-inch V-8 that produced 190 HP and 280 LB-FT of torque. The available manual transmission had four speeds while the available automatic had three.

In the last Corvette generation–the C7, which ended with the 2019 model year–the base engine had 460 HP/460 LB-FT of torque and was available (from 2015) with either a seven-speed manual or eight-speed automatic. Cars today have ABS systems, airbags, cameras, satellite navigation, etc.

Of course, the entire automotive industry is attempting a sea change towards electric-powered vehicles. The actual speed and magnitude of that change remain unclear, in my opinion. For the nth time, the American electrical grid is not close to being able to handle millions of electric cars plugged in every night. However, a permanent move away from ICE-powered cars seems inevitable.

When those a decade or two younger than I am are, for the most part, driving such cars will they appreciate the magnitude of the change?








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Friday Free For All

As I predicted, with the availability (on the Motor Trend app) of the first episode of Garage Squad after Cristy Lee’s departure, the number of views of Disaffected Musings spiked as people searched the Internet to find out why she is no longer on the show. Where Is Cristy Lee? and The Gift That Keeps On Giving saw a fair number of views as did the main blog link.

I have not written about the lovely Ms. Lee in quite some time, but she seems to be inextricably woven to my blog. I can think of worse fates.


Two posts from Why Evolution Is True:


The Times of London defends Kathleen Stock’s freedom of expression and so should we

Eric Clapton breaks my heart for the fourth time, bankrolling an anti-vaxer band


I am drawn to this blog because the author is a self-proclaimed liberal, but one who does not buy into all of liberal ideology and is very critical of the most radical elements. In fact, many of his posts would be seen as blasphemous by those on the radical left.

If someone could point me to a similar blog written by a self-proclaimed conservative, but one who does not buy into all of conservative ideology, then I would appreciate it. I don’t know if George Will, who wrote a cover blurb for the book I co-authored about the greatest baseball teams of all time, qualifies as I think the only place he rejects “modern” American conservatism is his rejection of Tonald Drump. As I have written before, I think we have reached a point where the truth resides not in the place where both sides are satisfied–which may no longer exist, anyway–but in the place where both sides are angry. That may be the real truth, now.

From the outside, it could be said that I “lean” right because I reject the notion of government as panacea. However, I also reject most of “modern” American conservatism. Of course, I also reject most of “modern” American liberalism.


From the Kogod School of Business via Corvette Blogger comes the annual list of the Made In America Auto Index, the cars with the most US content for model year 2021. The Mustang GT with a manual transmission ranks first at 77% and the Corvette ranks second at 72%. Interesting to me is that for the bottom 52 of 342 vehicles in the survey their US content is 0%. So, about 15% of “mainstream” vehicles sold in the US have no US content. The obligatory picture of a C8 Corvette:



Model year 2022 production has already begun for the Corvette and the C8 version of the Z06 will be unveiled at the famous Petersen Auto Museum in Los Angeles on October 26th. The Z06 will almost certainly be a 2023 model year car, however. Once again, word stronger than mere rumor is that the car will be powered by the most powerful naturally aspirated V-8 in history: a 5.5 liter/336 cubic-inch DOHC flat-plane crank engine producing 650 HP/600 LB-FT of torque.

I will be very interested in the pricing of the new Z06. For the last year of the C7 (2019), the base price of a Z06 coupe was $80,590 and $84,590 for a Z06 convertible. My 2016 Z06 coupe stickered at about $101,000, but it has 2LZ trim, the Z07 performance package, an automatic transmission, etc. Of course, I didn’t buy the car new.

I’m thinking the base price of a C8 Z06 coupe will be under $100,000, but maybe not for the convertible. We’ll find out soon enough.

Have a great weekend…









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Tuesday Toes

I was originally going to call this post “Tuesday Toes” because I was going to apologize, sort of, for writing something that would step on many people’s toes. Welcome to life over 60; I have forgotten what I was supposed to write. Anyway, I like the title.


This article by Jake Novak is about a year old, but still relevant, IMO. He makes a strong case against Universal Basic Income (UBI). Here are some excerpts:


“As the fog starts to clear from the first months of the COVID-19 crisis, at least one of America’s leading policy debates no longer needs to be debated at all. That’s because it should be clear to everyone now that the Universal Basic Income (UBI) idea is still a very bad, no good, terrible idea.

For millions of Americans still shut in at home and shut out of work, this is painfully obvious. The coronavirus lockdown has proven once and for all that cash payments can’t hold a candle to a purpose-driven life…

Of course, this also leads us back to the paramount need for more job opportunities to fill an economic and emotional void even in the worst of times. If cash handouts of X amount don’t to spur the economy and create enough jobs in times of crisis, than handouts in the amount of X + X won’t either. Something else is required.

Jobs have a funny way of bringing both cash into a person’s pocket and a feeling of self-worth into a person’s soul. FDR understood this well, and that was why his administration’s jobs programs didn’t worry too much about whether the jobs it was handing out were really essential at the time. That doesn’t mean Roosevelt’s macroeconomic response to the Great Depression was sound, because it generally wasn’t. But even scholars like Amity Shlaes, who have expertly critiqued the New Deal, can’t deny the priceless emotional boost FDR gave the country by putting people to some kind of work and giving them that daily purpose…”


Giving people incentive not to work will create a country where millions, and I mean literally millions, of people will decide not to work. Very few people always do the “right” thing and very few always do the “wrong” thing; most people respond to incentives and to disincentives. By the way, I agree and have written that for many/most people a job is not just about the income, but about having a purpose and some structure.


I suspect views of Where Is Cristy Lee? will increase once Season 8 of Garage Squad begins airing on Motor Trend. Why? Apparently, after just two seasons on the show, the lovely Ms. Lee has left Garage Squad. She will be replaced by “Bogi” Lateiner. That choice makes me think that All Girls Garage will cease to be produced. Anyway, the “obligatory” picture of Cristy Lee:



Someone whom my wonderful wife’s mother has known since her real estate days decided to visit her and her husband (my wife’s father) this past weekend. Again, I do not like the term “in-law.”

He is a good-hearted person with a yen for traveling, which partially explains his desire to visit someone that, frankly, he didn’t know all that well. Why am I mentioning this? Take a look at his car:



This is a 2007 Pontiac Solstice in GXP spec, meaning it has the turbocharged 2-liter/122 cubic-inch inline 4-cylinder engine that produces 260 HP/260 LB-FT of torque. I don’t know if this is still true, but at the time of its release the Solstice GXP/Sky Red Line engine had the highest specific output, power per unit of displacement, of any motor in General Motors history. A dealer upgrade was also available to increase power to 290 HP/290 LB-FT, but I don’t think too many buyers opted for that boost, pun intended.

As every regular reader knows, I am a big fan of the Solstice/Sky. While I prefer the looks of the Sky I am quite fond of the Solstice, as well.








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Happy Birthday! Happy Birthday!

Happy Birthday to the Birthday Twins: my wonderful wife and my sweet sister! They call each other “BT,” short for Birthday Twin.


While total blog views declined a bit yesterday compared to Friday, views of Where Is Cristy Lee? increased again, by 40 percent compared to Friday and were 25 times the average daily number of views for that post for the week ending March 23rd, the day before the Barrett-Jackson broadcasts began. I guess I should be grateful for the increase in readers, but don’t want the blog to be a one-trick pony. That being said, here is a picture of Cristy Lee I don’t think has been shown before on this blog.



Speaking of Barrett-Jackson:



The highlight of the recently completed auction was the sale of a 427 Cobra Super Snake owned by Carroll Shelby himself. The car was fitted with twin superchargers and with an automatic transmission, I might add. I don’t know whether he was genuinely interested or whether it was for show, but at one point Barrett-Jackson Chairman and CEO Craig Jackson actually left the podium and moved to the auction block in order to bid on the car. The car hammered for $5 million and was not sold to Jackson.

Apparently, this was the third time this particular car was consigned to a Barrett-Jackson auction. Each time the car hammered for $5 million. I told my wonderful wife that if I could afford it I would have tried to buy that car. Only two of these were ever made and this is the only one left.

To quote Morey Amsterdam, money may not buy happiness, but with it you can be miserable in comfort. Actually, I think money can buy happiness in most ways that word can be defined, although perhaps not in every way.








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Two Z06 Years

First…if views of this blog are a proxy for the number of viewers of the current Barrett-Jackson auction, then that number increased from Wednesday to Thursday and again from Thursday to Friday. More specifically, views of Where Is Cristy Lee? followed that pattern. Overall, the total number of blog views yesterday was about 70 percent higher than the average since October, when blog views took another quantum leap up. Thanks for reading.


Incredibly, it was two years ago today that I took possession of my 2016 Corvette Z06. Overall, I have driven the car about 5,200 miles. In the 20 weeks we have lived in Arizona, I have driven the car about 1,400 miles. That means, so far, I am driving the car more here than before we moved, as I suspected would happen. Of course, I will show some photos of “The Red Rocket:”



So, do any of you think I should say “Damn The Powertrain Warranty” and schedule the engine work as soon as possible? I was waiting to be fully vaccinated, but by mid-April my wonderful wife and I will be at “maximum” immunity, barring some awful unforeseen event(s). The warranty expires in late July. The shop where I am very likely to take the car is booked 8-10 weeks out. Does it matter if I have the work done in late May or early June?

Even though I don’t need the work to be done, a life spent only doing the things that one needs to do is an unfulfilled and incomplete life, in my opinion.



After lunch yesterday, my wonderful wife and I went for a little drive. At one point, I made her stop the car so I could get out and take some pictures of our surroundings. The photo above is just one of those pictures. Once again, the view looked better in person than it does in this picture. In distilling the three-dimensional world into a two-dimensional picture, much can be lost.

By the way, even though we were probably no more than about ten miles from our house, the temperature where I took this picture (53°) was nine degrees colder than at our house (62°). It’s difficult for people who don’t live here to understand the dramatic changes in elevation in short distances and how much those changes can affect the weather. I would guess this was about 1,500 feet higher in elevation than where our house is.

Even though I might be singing a different tune in July when it’s 108° here, so far I am very happy with our new surroundings. I can certainly understand why the population of metro Phoenix has increased five-fold in the last 50 years.









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Pictures For A Friday

Einundsechzig Heute…

Yesterday’s Barrett-Jackson telecast caused even more views of Where Is Cristy Lee? than the day before. From via that post, a picture of the gorgeous Cristy Lee:


See the source image


Soixante et un aujourd’hui…

Many successful people, even baseball’s “Golden Boy,” forget on whose shoulders they have stood:



…היום שישים ואחת



Looks like part photo, part painting. Wish I could say I composed it that way, but that would be a lie. Another vista:



Sześćdziesiąt jeden dzisiaj…

Speaking of Barrett-Jackson, yesterday the first 2022 Cadillac CT5-V Blackwing was auctioned for charity and hammered at $265,000. Not knowing that particular car would be auctioned this month, I wrote about it here about three weeks ago. Here is a picture from Cadillac’s website via that post:


White CT5-V Blackwing Passenger Side View Exterior


During yesterday’s broadcast one of the announcers (I believe it was Steve Magnante) claimed the car was powered by a twin-turbo V-8. That may well be, but on Cadillac’s website is this copy: “The CT5-V Blackwing is powered by the highest output in Cadillac’s history: a 6.2L Supercharged V8 hand-built in Bowling Green, Kentucky.”

Of course, a 6.2 liter supercharged V-8 would be the LT4 that was used in the C7 Z06 Corvette and is used in the current ZL1 Camaro. I think, perhaps, Magnante (or whoever) confused the CT5-V Blackwing engine with the CT4-V Blackwing engine, which is a twin-turbo V-6. When will Cadillac stop with its awful three-character names for models?! Oh yes, I forgot…its new electric/hybrid model will be called the Lyriq. (Premature publication, sorry…)

Other than my idiosyncratic affection for the Rover P5B and my more common affinity for the Maserati Quattroporte, I am not normally a fan of 4-door cars. I have to add the Cadillac CT5-V Blackwing to that list. Does anyone have comments they’d like to make about the Blackwing?

Enjoy the weekend!








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Have You Heard?

Apparently, many people still hadn’t/haven’t heard that Cristy Lee is no longer part of the broadcasts of the Barrett-Jackson auctions. The first telecast of the current auction taking place in Scottsdale, Arizona aired yesterday on fyi (not on its former long-time TV home, Motor Trend/Velocity) and the post Where Is Cristy Lee? received its highest number of views in some time.

She has not appeared on a Barrett-Jackson broadcast since October, 2019. Yes, last year’s schedule was disrupted because of the damn virus. I’m not even going to show a picture of the lovely Ms. Lee.


From time to time I use information from the site 365 Days of Motoring in this blog. I do not like that the site is not secure, nor do I like the fact that I often cannot corroborate the “facts” there anywhere else.

For example, the site claims that the Saturn Sky was unveiled to the media on this day in 2005. However, many sources–such as Wikipedia–claim the Sky concept car was first shown at the 2005 North American International Auto Show, which used to be held in Detroit every January.

Anyway…I will use any reason to show and to write about the Sky. From The Pontiac Solstice Book by Gary Witzenburg–a book that is, quite frankly, a PR piece from General Motors–a picture of the Saturn Sky:



This is one of the few cars that I do not see more often here than back in the mid-Atlantic. I don’t know if part of the explanation is that the Sky and the Solstice were built not too far from where we used to live.

I like the way the Solstice looks, but I love the way the Sky looks. Although both cars were built on the same platform with the same drivetrain, they shared no exterior sheet metal. As almost everyone reading this knows, I think GM should have given Buick an updated and upgraded version of the Solstice/Sky as a halo car. As some of you may know, my wife test-drove a Sky (and many other cars) before she bought her Lexus SC430 in March, 2007. (Fourteen years ago?!?!)

The car she drove was not in Red Line spec and, frankly, the interior felt cheap. Still, it handled well and was decently comfortable although the interior was also a tad smaller than optimal.

Once again, I lament the virtual disappearance of cars like this from the automotive marketplace. Thirty percent of American households consist of married couples living without children compared to twenty percent being married couples living with children. That doesn’t even count the single-person households.

A car like this could even be fitted with a hybrid drivetrain like the BMW i8. A small displacement (1.6-1.8 liter) turbocharged 4-cylinder engine could be coupled with electric motors to give the car electric-only capability AND a potent power-to-weight ratio when fully engaged. Yes, I know; no one is listening to me.

We would like to read your thoughts on the Sky/Solstice, two-seat roadsters, “power” hybrids or anything else that’s relevant.







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First Saturday In March

Most Saturdays this blog gets a little boost in readership as, apparently, some people still don’t realize that Cristy Lee is no longer part of All Girls Garage, which airs on Saturday. Where Is Cristy Lee? has accounted for almost two percent of all blog views so far in 2021. Of course, that’s only about half the proportion compared to 2020. Anyway, here is a recent photo of the aforementioned Ms. Lee:



On this day in 1896 inventor, engineer and polymath Charles Brady King became the first person to drive a car in Detroit. King designed and built the automobile becoming the father, in a way, of the evolution of Detroit into “Motor City.”

The Detroit Journal interviewed King afterwards and he made a prescient comment:


“I am convinced they [horseless carriages] will in time supersede the horse.”


King would be a mentor to Henry Ford and Ransom Eli Olds. King would later go to Europe for two years to study automotive design. When he returned he founded the King Motor Car Company in 1911, which was, apparently, the first company to offer a V-8 engine. Company production reached 3,000 for model year 1916, but was severely affected by the post World War I recession. From 1912 through 1918, inclusive, King produced almost 15,000 cars.

Early in 1921, the assets of the company were sold to Charles Finnegan of Buffalo and the company headquarters were moved there in 1923. However, the company filed for bankruptcy in 1924. From The Beaulieu Encyclopedia of the Automobile a picture of a 1912 King:



I think only the most knowledgeable of automotive historians are aware of King and his contributions to the industry. I was only vaguely aware of him until today and, I guess, don’t really know that much about him even now.


On this day in 2017 General Motors’ intention to sell its European Opel/Vauxhall subsidiary to PSA Automotive became official. General Motors acquired a majority stake in Opel (a German company) in 1929 and gained full control in 1931. Vauxhall (a British company) was acquired by GM in 1925.

Maybe I missed the coverage, but this is a big story in the history of the automobile industry that seemed to go relatively unnoticed. The sale basically represented GM’s “raising the white flag of surrender” in terms of Europe. Ironically, PSA Automotive very recently completed its merger with Fiat-Chrysler forming a new company called Stellantis. Of course, from 2001 through 2016 General Motors’ European operations lost money every year with a total deficit of more than $15 billion.

The two transactions by PSA Automotive supposedly signal an intention to return to the North American vehicle market. Peugeot and Citroën are part of PSA and neither make has been sold in the US for decades. Of course, Stellantis now “owns” the Dodge, Chrysler and Jeep brands as well as Alfa Romeo and Maserati. Maybe Peugeot and Citroën will not be brought back to this market. Citroën has a history of being an innovator in the automobile industry.

Does anyone have any comments on these transactions, Stellantis or any related topic?









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A Or B, Wow Or Wow Edition

Thanks to all of those readers who read the blog late in the day yesterday. I suspect searches for Cristy Lee while the Season 7 Finale of Garage Squad was airing played a large role in the surge of views and the timing.


No Kei cars today…


See the source image


From Kelways Village a picture of a 2020 Ford GT. This example is, of course, from the third generation of Ford GT.

For 2020, the engine output has been tweaked up to 660 HP from the original 647. Remember that these cars are powered by a V-6 engine. I think they are a marvel of engineering and have heard that in regular traffic they are surprisingly docile. However, on the track or just with your foot on the throttle they are a beast.

The base price for one of these is more than $500,000. The limited-edition Liquid Carbon variant is about $750,000.


OK, what car can compete with the Ford GT? How about this?


See the source image


From Car Express UK a picture of the recently introduced McLaren 765 LT. As the name might suggest, only 765 of these will be produced and, supposedly, all of those have already been sold. The LT stands for “Long Tail.”

The 765 LT is powered by a “tuned” version of the 4-liter V-8 that McLaren has been using. For this model, the engine will produce 755 HP/590 LB-FT of torque.

The 765 LT is priced at about $360,000, if you can find one to buy. Do you care that both the Ford GT and the McLaren 765 LT use titanium exhaust systems?

I hope this is a tough choice, good people. 2020 Ford GT or McLaren 765 LT, please.








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Good Old Days

I have shown this picture before on Disaffected Musings.



This is me and three other San Diego Padres “bigwigs,” including General Manager Kevin Towers (kneeling), in the visitors clubhouse in Dodgers Stadium after the Padres clinched the 1996 NL Western Division title. The following picture has not been shown before because it was “lost” for years.



This photo was taken in the visitors clubhouse at Turner Field in Atlanta after the Padres’ win in Game 6 of the National League Championship Series clinched the title and sent us to the World Series.

At the far left is Larry Lucchino, then President/CEO of the Padres, and at the far right is John Moores, then Principal Owner/Chairman. The late Kevin Towers is immediately to Lucchino’s left. No points for guessing who is holding the National League Championship Trophy along with Lucchino.

As I mentioned, this picture was missing for many years. Larry Lucchino and I did not have an amicable parting of the ways and for many years my feelings about him were not positive. I resigned on my own terms and was not forced out, but he considered my departure as a personal affront.

With the passing of time I came to appreciate what he had done for me in terms of my baseball career. However, as I began to look for the photo, I feared that out of pique I had either put the picture in a place where it would never be found or, more horribly, that I had simply thrown the picture away.

After multiple searches I simply gave up. I did, however, make a comment to my wonderful wife in passing that maybe the picture would be found after we moved to the desert. Wouldn’t you know that she found the picture yesterday (remember, we’re still unpacking) and in a place I know had previously looked at least twice. A woman’s touch…

Can you understand why I am bitter about my departure from baseball? Can you understand why I utterly reject the notion that I am obsolete, as baseball, football and the rest of the American job “infrastructure” have classified me? Remember Shakespeare, “If you prick us do we not bleed?”

I am still far from being the dullest knife in the drawer. That I am not a coder, don’t possess the “right” degree(s) or don’t belong to the “right” groups is irrelevant from my perspective. Virtually no one else thought I could have a career in major league baseball; I was right and the rest of the world was wrong.

I firmly believe that I am still right and the rest of the world is still wrong, but the structural and institutional barriers that keep me from being more productive are most formidable.



Stretching the concept of a segue until it almost breaks…for some fans of All Girls Garage the good old days were when Cristy Lee was on the show. I think Internet searches for her are the primary reason why the number of views for Where Is Cristy Lee? is now well into four figures. For 2020, that post has been viewed more often than the next five most-read posts combined, not counting the About page. OK, I guess you want to see a picture. If you must…this is from her website,


See the source image


As my wonderful wife knows, I think Cristy Lee is literally one of the most beautiful women in the world. I am 99% sure she would like to be known for more than her looks, but her looks are quite formidable.


According to the 365 Days of Motoring website, the first 426 Hemi engine was successfully tested on this day in 1963 by Chrysler. I have not been able to find corroborating evidence anywhere else regarding the date. (Oh, if you run this website why is it still an unsecured site?!)

The “Elephant,” as it came to be called because of its size and heft (it weighed almost 850 pounds), is part of the pantheon of American engines. It was first made available for street use in the 1966 model year. For me, the best use of one of these engines is in one of these cars:


See the source image


From yet another unsecured site (which is why I didn’t provide the hyperlink),, a picture of a 1968 Dodge Charger R/T. I think this is the best-looking year for one of the best looking cars ever, the second-generation Charger.

The 426 Hemi was rated at 425 HP/490 LB-FT of torque. Many automobile “experts” think Chrysler’s published output figures were deliberately understated. Some sources state the output was more like 470 HP/500 LB-FT.

Of course, Chrysler is still producing a Hemi of sorts. Some in the know say the engine’s combustion chambers are not really hemispherically shaped; I am not in the know when it comes to the modern “Hemi.” Still, a modern Hemi (say, a 707 HP Hellcat motor) and modern automatic transmission along with modern suspension and brakes in a ’68 Charger would be one fine ride, in my opinion.


OK, time for the “commercial” and an explanation: Please feel free to tell your friends about the blog and to pass along the URL (, please feel free to click on any (or all) of the related posts at the bottom of each post, please feel free to “Like” any post and to submit thoughtful comments and please feel free to click on any ad in which you have genuine interest.

The month of December has started very strongly in terms of the number of views and visitors. I hope that the monthly “record” for both of those metrics can be shattered this month. PLEASE click on as many post titles as you want and PLEASE pass along the blog URL to as many friends as possible. Many thanks.








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