Freeform Friday

I am not exactly a fount of ideas today.


My Mustang has already had its first hiccup. A couple of days ago and out of the blue, the nav map seemed to have no idea where I was and did not correctly show my heading. When I started the car yesterday, the map righted itself after a few minutes, but I was unable to play audio from any source other than Sirius/XM. I could not switch to FM or use the songs from my iPhone.

I decided the only solution was something Ford discourages, a Master Reset of the SYNC system. That, as of now, seemed to fix all of the problems. I hope this is not an ongoing issue. Even though the car is still, obviously, under the bumper to bumper warranty, the last thing I want is a repeat of the Z06 nonsense where repairs take an inordinate amount of time because parts are not available.

My wonderful wife’s Corvette memory seat setting has been finicky for quite some time. In order to get the steering wheel and seat in her desired setting, my wife first has to move the seat a bit. Then, pressing the #1 setting button in the door finishes the job. The car is supposed to automatically go to the correct settings for her key fob. On occasion, it does function properly, but most of the time she needs to “remind” it by noodging the seat.

EVERYTHING comes with a trade-off. The modern safety, convenience and entertainment systems in cars add complexity. I am not an electrical engineer and don’t know if such issues are the result of too many devices for a standard 12-volt system to handle. Once again, I fully understand why many automobile aficionados prefer cars from the pre-computer era. No, I am not going to show that picture of a Studebaker Gran Turismo Hawk in light green with a white top.



Well, it’s not the one in light green and white. What do you think of this paint job? This is a 1962 model, which I would not prefer over a ’63 or ’64, but supposedly the interior has been replaced. The ’62s were notorious for a bad vinyl interior that virtually disintegrated over time.

The seller, an independent dealer of classic cars in Michigan, is asking $15,900 for the car. That’s not an outrageous amount, some sellers are asking twice that much for allegedly pristine examples, but that doesn’t leave much money for modifications for me. Hemmings has another Gran Turismo Hawk listed at $9,900, but it’s a ’62 with no mention of a new interior and is in an exterior color that does not appeal to me. Good paint jobs are VERY expensive.

So many cars, just one life.


We received rain yesterday that, once again, was not really forecast by the National Weather Service. My admittedly anecdotal impression is that WeatherNation seems to be a bit more accurate in forecasting rain for our area. Here are a couple of videos from yesterday.



Hopefully, in one of these videos you can see the mountains in the distance that are in sunlight while it was raining at our house. When I write a post and insert videos I do not exactly know the content as all I see is wpvideo and some numbers/letters inside of brackets. I think the video to which I refer is the second one.








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Tuesday Coda

No, I did not misspell soda. A coda is the closing section of a music composition or literary work.

Yesterday I received the check for the significant amount due in the transaction in which I traded the Z06 for a new Mustang GT. The Z06 saga and purchase of its replacement is all over including the shouting.

Compared to what I had spent on repairs to the Z06 and buying the Cascada, I have recouped more than half that amount AND I now have a desirable brand new car. While I am still not flush with cash, I can breathe a little easier.



All I want is an ownership as free from hassle as possible. I will not have any modifications done even if they wouldn’t require ECM tuning. If 450 HP/420 LB-FT of torque in a 3,750-pound car is not enough for someone in his early 60s, then I really am hopeless. The sound alone makes owning the Mustang GT worthwhile.



Here’s a video unrelated to automobiles:



This was, indeed, a precursor to an intense rainstorm yesterday. Mother Nature neither knows nor cares that the official end of the monsoon season was September 30.

Although the storm blew away many of the items we had in the front yard for bulk trash pickup week–which usually happens every four weeks–the rain was welcome, as always. I know that this year’s monsoon season did not deliver as much rain as last year’s as the 2021 version dumped so much rain on us that, at times, the level of our swimming pool actually reached the pool deck. That did not happen this year.


Sorry, Lyle, but here is a photo of one of my favorite landmarks in the area, Four Peaks:



While lack of a view of Four Peaks cannot realistically be a deal-breaker when we move to a single-story house, it sure would be nice to have. It’s like a five-car garage; it would be great to have one, but such houses are not usually available in the range of what we would want to spend. Thanks to my wonderful wife for taking and sending me the photo.


This remark from Robert Hutchins, former President of the University of Chicago, is right on the mark, in my opinion:


“A university is a community of scholars. It is not a kindergarten; it is not a club; it is not a reform school; it is not a political party; it is not an agency of propaganda. A university is a community of scholars.”


So many institutions of “higher learning” have strayed very far from this concept to the detriment of all of us, ultimately, although I will not live long enough to see all of the awful repercussions. A university…is not a political party; it is not an agency of propaganda. Amen!

Sadly, here is an example of how universities–in this case, its students–have become clueless; yes, the link is to Why Evolution Is True:


Professor in Maine demonized for teaching that humans have two sexes; students walk out and demand her suspension.”


Although dozens of conditions exist that can cause a baby to be born with an ambiguous gender, as best as I can tell from my admittedly brief research, in no way does the proportion exceed 1% and some studies suggest the ratio is even smaller. It just speaks to the hypocrisy of ideologues that those who demonize climate change deniers as ignoring science do EXACTLY THE SAME THING when it suits their a priori beliefs.


I do pay attention to the word counter at the lower left when writing a post. Yesterday, because of the word count I deliberately excluded mentioning the anniversary of Bobby Thomson’s (yes, I spelled his last name correctly) famous homerun (“The Giants Win The Pennant! The Giants Win The Pennant!”) in 1951 that did, indeed, win the National League championship for the Giants and send them to the World Series.

I am going to cheat the word counter by showing you something Bill James wrote in his legendary book, The Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract.



Yes, the Giants hit 11 homeruns against Ralph Branca in 1951 and beat him six times. The reference to Earl Weaver is that he was the first manager, as far as anyone knows, to make sure data was compiled on specific batter-pitcher matchups and to use that data in lineup construction and pinch-hitting decisions.

The first 2-3 years I worked for the Baltimore Orioles, the team Weaver managed although he was retired by the time I started working there, one of my job responsibilities was to maintain the “Weaver charts.” While the data was stored in a computer database by this time, I still had to manually look at every scorecard from every game and to manually input changes in the data. At some point, this task was given to someone in the Public Relations department. I never trusted the data after that, but that’s another story for another day.

Today, such data is probably available to almost anyone with a computer. It certainly is available to all major league teams. Remind me to write about my reports on Left/Right tendencies for the opposition before every home stand and road trip.









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Saturday Stuff

One Two One Nine…



Not long after I took these pictures on Thursday we experienced our first of three periods of moderate to heavy rain with thunder and wind. At one point during the rain–let’s say at 4:30 PM–the temperature gauge in our backyard read 62°. At (very) nearby Carefree, the temperature was 57°.

These were not monsoonal storms, but were a result of a powerful upper-level low pressure system. Of course, we turned our AC systems off and opened the windows even knowing that parts of the house might get a little wet. At one point while my wonderful wife and I were sitting in the bonus room upstairs, we could feel rain being blown on to us, even though the screen door in front of the sliding door was closed and we were 5-8 feet from the screen.

It wouldn’t bother me in the least if, in the future, average annual rainfall is 12 inches here instead of the historical 8. Of course, I don’t know what effects, if any, that would have on local flora and fauna, but many lifeforms are highly adaptable. I don’t have a rain gauge, but I would be shocked if we didn’t receive at least an inch of rain on Thursday, if not 2-3.

While forecasts that are more than five or six days out are not really that accurate, our nighttime lows are supposed to drop into the 50s (F, 12°-14° C) by the end of next week. I hope we are about to hit the weather sweetspot here because that lasts quite awhile. Yesterday, instead of using the treadmill for my Friday workout, I walked in the neighborhood for the first time in months and I really enjoyed it, sweat and all.

Enough with the weather report, although I would never say enough with Weather Report.


It’s amazing how good a photograph can look when taken by a professional:



Many thanks to Rob Mains for graciously taking and sending me these photos. I must say (channeling Ed Grimley) that it at least borders on amazing how much better the ZR1 wheels look than the original Z06 wheels.


Enjoy your weekend…







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Threadless Thursday

Sadly, book “burning” is alive and well.


Yesterday, we received some much needed rain. I don’t know if forecasting in the desert is especially difficult, but the forecasts here seem to be wrong quite a bit.

On Tuesday morning, the probability of precipitation for Wednesday was pegged at only about 20 percent. Even at 5 AM on Wednesday, it was only shown at about 30 percent. Well, it rained for most of the period between 7 AM and 2 PM. It was the best type of rain we could have received in that it was steady, but never really heavy. Let’s see if this works:



Another weather prediction that was incorrect was the daytime high, not surprising given the miss in terms of precipitation. Forecast to be in the mid-90s, this is where temperatures sat for most of yesterday afternoon:



That picture was taken at about 2 PM on our way back from a lunch run. When the rain ended and the sun returned, the temperature did break into the 80s, but never close to the 90s. Here is a more scenic photo:



The evening provided this view that I thought was amazing:



Obviously, the lack of tall trees makes capturing scenes like this easier, but I also think they are more common here than in the mid-Atlantic.


The car collector market has taken off as the damn virus has receded in many, but not all, places. (Vaccines work!) This article reports on the RM Sotheby’s automobile auction held in Italy last week. Yes, Sotheby’s is a high-end auctioneer, but the results from recent Barrett-Jackson and Mecum auctions in the US tell the same tale: people want to buy collector cars, maybe more now than ever before.

The Sotheby’s auction offered only 19 lots, but the average sale–converted to US dollars from Euros–was over $1,000,000. The median sale was about $660,000. I wish I could show pictures of the lots offered, but the blog author, apparently, is not at liberty to share them anywhere but his site. From Hagerty’s comes a picture of a car like one offered in Italy, a 1950 Cisitalia 202 SC Cabriolet:


See the source image


The Sotheby’s lot sold for about $370,000 all in including commission. A Cisitalia 202 (although I think it is a coupe) is still part of the collection at the Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) in New York. In my opinion, the design is timeless and still fresh.

Italian automotive design is just in a league of its own. I won’t show the Alfa Romeo 4C again, but a car like that would not and could not have come from anywhere else.










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