Thursday Thoughts

The Cold War has returned and it’s not so cold. Historians and other academics who think one person cannot, by themselves, influence world events could not be more wrong.


This beautiful picture, perhaps my favorite of all the photos I have taken since the move to Arizona, was taken yesterday and not last year.



Last year’s winter snow lasted an hour here, yesterday’s lasted a minute. Obviously though, the nearby mountains received more than a minute’s worth.

By the time I was realized it was snowing at our house and tried to find my phone to take a video, the snow had changed back to rain. It was this view a few hours later that led me to the picture shown above.



When I saw this view to the north I realized the mountains to the northeast might be covered in snow. Maybe this pales in significance to world events, but it sure is beautiful to me.


This post from 3 1/2 years ago is like the little engine that could in that it continues to receive views every month, slowly making its way up the list of all-time views by individual post. I could have taken a photo like this many times, but never did.


See the source image


The post to which I refer is about Evans’ invention of the Oruktor Amphibolos, which was America’s first self-propelled vehicle and the world’s first amphibious vehicle. On July 13, 1805 the Oruktor Amphibolos (Amphibious Digger) ran under its own power for the first time. That machine was built by Evans for the Philadelphia Board of Health as a solution to the Board’s concerns about dredging and cleaning the city’s dockyard and removing sandbars.

Note the plaque about Evans refers to the “first American land vehicle to move under steam power.” I guess some debate exists as to whether or not another American inventor built a self-propelled vehicle that was powered by some other means before Evans, but I don’t think electric vehicles were possible prior to 1805 and neither were internal combustion engines.

Evans designed and built the first fully automated industrial process (a system for milling and sifting flour) and the first high-pressure steam engine. In 1790, he received the third US patent ever granted for his milling/sifting process.

Oliver Evans was a man ahead of his time. He was the first to describe vapor-compression refrigeration and proposed a design for the first refrigerator in 1805, but it would be three decades until his colleague Jacob Perkins would be able to construct a working example. Similarly, he drew up designs for a solar boiler, machine gun, steam-carriage gearshift, dough-kneading machine, perpetual baking oven, marine salvage process, and a scheme for urban gas lighting. These ideas and designs would not be made reality until some time after his death in 1819.

I don’t know how or why people keep reading that post from 2018 (written on July 13 of that year), but I am grateful that they do. Here are some other posts near the top in all-time views:


A Tough Day For Cars

Good Old Days

Ultimate Garage 2.0: Honorable Mention & Car Number One

Sunday Studebaker

Barrett-Jackson Or Mecum?


Please feel free to click on any or all of those links. I am virtually certain that no one reading remembers all of those posts. I mean, I wrote them and I don’t remember.


What do you think of the looks of this car?


RML Short Wheelbase


This piece at Classic Cars reports that RML, a British industrial company, has revealed the first photos of the prototype for its Short Wheelbase automobile. The car is heavily based on the Ferrari 550 Maranello. It will be powered by a Ferrari V-12 producing 479 HP/419 LB-FT of torque and will be mated to a 6-speed manual transmission.

This will be RML’s first passenger car and will be limited to 30 units priced at $2 million each. I don’t know why company management has decided to take the plunge into the limited production of a very expensive car powered by an Internal Combustion Engine, but I hope they sell out within an hour of initial offering.









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Hello, June?!

A watched pot never boils…if your stove is broken.


Yes, today is not the last day of May. Sometime soon, it is likely I will take a 3-4 day break from posting. That break could start as soon as tomorrow.

Today is, however, the 28th consecutive day with a post and I think it’s time for a short break. While that is not anywhere close to the longest such posting streak–61 consecutive days and 100 days out of 101–I just need a brief recharge.

June 1 is, by the way, the beginning of meteorological summer in the Northern Hemisphere as opposed to astronomical summer that starts on June 20 this year. While Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport has had about 10 days with a high temperature of 100° or higher, we have not had one in our neck of the woods, yet. (I have always thought “neck of the woods” was a strange phrase, like why wasn’t it arm of the woods or nose of the woods, but someone has explained to me that the phrase has some logical origin although I don’t remember what it is and, frankly, don’t care enough to spend a minute on the Internet looking it up.)

I’m sure we will reach triple digits many times this summer, but the fact that we haven’t so far illustrates why we moved to this location and at this elevation. We are almost exactly 1,000 feet higher than Sky Harbor Airport. The dry, adiabatic lapse rate–change in temperature with respect to elevation–is 5.38° F per 1,000 feet in altitude. Combine that with the fact that almost all airports are heat islands and we actually have lots of plant life here and we are almost always 7°-10° F cooler than the airport, even though we are “only” about 30 miles away.

Of course, living here means we got to see this on January 25:



That didn’t happen at the airport.


OK, the search for new wheels for my Z06 continues. Yes, time for a picture:



The really inexpensive set, at least relative to full OEM price, I found is cast and not forged so they’re out. One of the reasons Chevrolet/General Motors is in the bind they’re in is that they cast the wheels for the C7 Z06 and Grand Sport. Forged wheels are much stronger than cast ones.

I don’t want to pay full retail for a set of C7 ZR1 wheels in Chrome, but I guess if I have to I will. Oh, it’s only 50 days until I take the car in for its next power upgrade.







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T Minus Five Days

Yes, OCD “sufferer”/Numbers Nerd that I am I am counting to my first “damn virus” vaccine. As I write this it’s actually a little less than five days because my appointment is quite early in the morning, earlier than I am writing this today.

I am still quite upset that my wonderful wife does not have an appointment despite much trying by both of us. I know the probability that she will be vaccinated when she accompanies me is not 100%.

While, in all honesty, we have been affected far less by the damn virus than much of the population, the last year has not been great. I would also offer my opinion that life will never go back to exactly the way it was before.

What do you think? How many of you have been partly/fully vaccinated or have an appointment to receive a shot?



Today, our high temperature here will be in the low 80s. It’s hard to believe that only about six weeks ago, this was a view from our house:



I did enjoy the snow, especially since it melted two hours after it stopped snowing, except in the surrounding mountains.


Frustratingly, the issues with writing posts in WordPress using the FireFox browser have not completely gone away. About 1-2 days a week, like today, the issues with the disappearing toolbar and the word count not updating in real time appear.

Hey, WordPress! Can you fix this for good?!


A picture from a place that we will probably never visit again, the AACA Museum in Hershey, Pennsylvania:



Only about 6,600 GTO convertibles were produced in 1964. Of course, that alone was more than the total number of GTOs Pontiac management expected to produce in the debut year of the GTO option.

One thing I have missed during this last year is attending automotive events and venues. As you may recall, we did attend one outdoor auto show during the first weekend after we moved, but were put off by the low proportion of people wearing masks. Oddly, in a supermarket or big box hardware retailer, virtually every customer wears a mask and all of the staff are masked.

Here’s to hoping the light at the end of the tunnel is not an oncoming train.








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1,000 Posts!

It is coincidence–synchronicity, if you prefer–that the 1,000th post on Disaffected Musings is written and published on the 20th anniversary of the Baltimore Ravens first Super Bowl win. Yes, this is post one thousand!

I thank those of you who have been along for part, most or all of the journey. Frankly, I don’t know if I have another thousand posts in me. The carrot that might get me there is a million words.

Since the average post length for 2018 was fewer than 400 words, even though the average since then is over 500 (552, to be exact), for the history of the blog the average is still fewer than 500, but not by much. Through yesterday’s post, number 999, I had written 494,222 words on this blog.

The thought of writing a million words on this blog is appealing. I would need to average about 505 words per post for another thousand to reach a million words.

If anyone has any topic about which they want me to write, whether it’s about automobiles or not, please feel free to let me know. Thanks again.


So far, so good…I am referring to the 2015 Cadillac ATS that we purchased on January 16 and that was delivered a week ago today. In this recent stretch of precipitation it has been our go-to car. To refresh your memory:



It is extremely comfortable to be the driver or the passenger and, frankly, much easier to get into and out of than our Corvettes. That’s not an issue now, but at some time in the future it may be.

The only problem is parking the car in the garage when you are by yourself. Although the car has front parking sensors, we have not yet learned to judge when the car is far enough in so the garage door can be closed behind it without hitting the items on the tire stop in front. Oh, besides a visual display the driver seat starts to vibrate when the front of the car approaches a perceived obstacle.

One odd feature is that, unlike almost all other American cars, the gas filler door is on the passenger side. The Alpha platform on which the car is built was designed in the US and is manufactured here.

I think it’s a shame that the ATS coupe has been discontinued by Cadillac in favor of two very similar four-door sedans. I mean similar to each other although they have similarity to the ATS. If the CT4 and CT5 have the same ride quality and comfort as our ATS, then they are probably nice cars to own, just not for us.


Some more pictures of our recent snow and its aftermath:



This morning almost all traces of snow are gone even from the nearby mountains. I took many photos of roughly the same view as the shot on the bottom and had a difficult time choosing which one to show here.

I am still in awe of the scenery around here and the snow just added levels to that awe. I hope that feeling never fades.







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Sacred Cows

“Sacred cows make the best hamburger.”

– Mark Twain

Sacred Cow: Plural Noun; an idea, custom, or institution held, especially unreasonably, to be above criticism (thought to be a reference to the Hindus’ respect for the cow as a sacred animal).

In my opinion, nothing is above criticism. I’ll let those of you so inclined to figure out the ramifications of that view.


We’re approaching six weeks on the market for our house and about 15 showings, but still no offers. The realtor for one family that supposedly has/had interest told our realtor her client is in no hurry and would be leaving the country for a trip. Is that a negotiating tactic? Who knows…

My wonderful wife and I have never had good luck in selling a home. I guess that will continue.


Related to our much hoped-for move, some of you may think we’re crazy for wanting to move to an area that, officially, has had almost 40 days this year with a high temperature of 110° or higher. Does the concept of dry, adiabatic lapse rate mean anything to you?

One of the criterion for our new house is that its altitude above sea level must be at least 700-800 feet higher than the mean for the major city at the hub of the metro area. In that area, such houses are not difficult to find. Believe it or not, if one is at 1,200-1,500 feet higher (2,300-2,600 feet above sea level), then this can happen:



This is somewhere in Scottsdale, Arizona in February, 2019, one month after we attended the Barrett-Jackson auction held in that city. Yes, that is snow, snow on a cactus.

The farther north/northeast one goes in the metro area, the higher the elevation. From its southern border to its northern border, Scottsdale is 31 miles long. That’s not to say we will definitely end up there because housing inventory that meets all of our criteria–not just elevation–is thin, but that’s where we want to be.

At 1,000 feet above the mean elevation for Phoenix (OK, who am I kidding, everyone knows that’s the major city I’m talking about), based on the average lapse rate–reduction in temperature with respect to elevation–the average temperature is 5°-6° cooler. That might not sound like a lot, but take 5° and multiply it times the hottest 120 days of the year and the heat load on your house is significantly lower. You might even see new snow every five or six years.


Some people think I am dogmatic and inflexible; I beg to differ. When we first moved to the mid-Atlantic I really wanted to live in a certain area, but after experiencing some of the downfalls (the all too often smell of compost used to grow mushrooms, the price of housing), we moved somewhere else.

I have pronounced that our next car purchase will have to have two doors. Well, after mulling over the possible uses of such a vehicle, maybe–just maybe–it might have to have four doors. While I am still steadfastly opposed to an SUV, something like this might not be too bad:


See the source image


From Maserati’s website a picture of a Quattroporte, a word that means “four doors” in Italian. While we would absolutely not spend $100,000+ for a third car, that’s what new Quattroportes cost, used ones can be purchased in the $23,000-$25,000 range.

If we have to buy a car with four doors, then having one of these might “ease the pain.” I still would much prefer buying a two-door car with a backseat and a decent-sized trunk, but the realities of life may dictate otherwise.







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