Monday Musings 75

Happy Birthday to my (i)ncomparable niece!

 

I could have easily titled today’s post “Pictures For A Monday.” I have a lot of photos I would like to share, but I must admit I worry a bit about showing so many pictures of the desert and of automobiles.

I know a blog needs a “hook,” some theme that has a strong appeal to a segment of readers. Still, I have never wanted this blog to be all desert or all automobiles all the time. In that vein:

 

 

This sign sits outside of Andreoli Italian Grocer in Scottsdale. While imported Italian food items are sold there, it is also a sit-down restaurant.

When I lived in Baltimore I ate many, many meals in the Little Italy area. My favorite restaurant there was Germano’s Trattoria and my favorite dish was something called Penne Strascicate. I had never seen that dish offered anywhere else, until I looked online at the Andreoli menu.

Andreoli was featured on an episode of Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives on The Food Network. My wonderful wife and I watched the episode before we moved to Arizona, but after we had decided we would move here.

As the damn virus has subsided, and we have been vaccinated, we have resumed dining out. A little more than two weeks ago we finally made it to Andreoli. Of course, I ordered Penne Strascicate as did my wonderful wife.

We were not disappointed. I won’t say the Andreoli version of the dish was better than Germano’s, but it was as good. On a scale of 1 to 10, it was an 11. Since it was still the June Of Me, we ordered chocolate mousse for dessert. That was also an 11.

We have been back to Andreoli one more time. Of course, I ordered the Strascicate, but my wife ordered the Gnocchi and said it was fabulous.

Back to the sign…the servers wear T-shirts that have a picture of Andreoli’s owner, Giovanni Scorzo, on the back wielding a large knife and the words, “Mangia e Stai Zitto!” In English that means, “Eat and Shut Up!”

During the damn virus, enjoying a nice meal in a restaurant was one of the few things we actually missed. I used to joke that we were the original practitioners of social distancing. We don’t go “clubbing” or attend large parties. Anyway, it was great to really enjoy a fabulous meal in a restaurant once again.

******************

Here are some photos:

 

 

According to the owner of that DB11, the exterior color is called Kermit Green and there are only three DB11s in the world in that color. To me, it’s a beautiful car in any color. I mean, I did just include it in my Ultimate Garage 3.0. By the way, the two Ultimate Garage posts are, so far, the two most read of the month and are just one apart in number of views.

 

#MondayMusings

#Andreoli

#DesertViews

#somanycarsjustonelife

#disaffectedmusings

If you like this blog please tell your friends and share the blog URL (https://disaffectedmusings.com). Thanks.

 

 

Whistle While You Wednesday

Today’s post will be as random as the title…

 

One year ago today 56PackardMan wrote his last post (at least as of now). Dirty Dingus McGee informed me that he is still posting comments on Bring A Trailer.

While we did not agree on every issue he was a great booster of this blog. He did not reply to two emails I sent him after he stopped posting and I have respected his privacy since then.

I miss his contributions to this blog and his disappearance from the blogosphere has somewhat changed the direction of my blog in that I am posting less about defunct American makes–like Packard–than before. I hope he is still reading Disaffected Musings on occasion and will consider posting a comment or two in the near future.

******************

I am re-reading When Pride Still Mattered, David Maraniss’ biography of Vince Lombardi, for the eighth or tenth time. Can you say OCD?

During one of those readings 7-10 years ago I had a dream that I was Lombardi’s quarterback with the Packers. It was one of the most vividly real dreams of my life. I guess that dream was the definition of wish fulfillment.

Of course, when I first discovered sports at about the age of 8 I dreamt of being a professional athlete. While I actually played football and basketball (ironically, I didn’t play too much baseball, the sport in which I would make a living for 20+ years), much of my “involvement” consisted of making playing statistics for myself and for those friends/family who would be my imaginary teammates.

Around age 12 I discovered statistically based sports table top games like APBA and Strat-O-Matic and, some might say, the rest is history. I certainly felt that playing those games gave me insight into strategy and the power of data.

Playing those games also might have been the most fun I had during my teenage years. As recently as last year I played a computer football game based on statistics and that is not a video game. I am debating whether or not to order the game with the players based on last season.

Part of me thinks I am just too old to continue playing sports games. Part of me is turned off by the dismissive manner of the game’s creator and publisher when I informed him of the many bugs in it, a game that has been on the market for 20+ years and shouldn’t have any bugs. However, part of me wants to buy the game, have my usual random draft of players and see how the season turns out. It will give me something to do while I am hibernating during the hot Arizona summer.

I have not made up my mind. The new edition of the game is supposed to be available beginning today. My wonderful wife, (i)ncomparable niece and Dr. Zal all think I should buy the game. Do any of you want to offer an opinion?

******************

This was my view yesterday while walking to the mailbox:

 

 

If you look closely you can see houses on the side of the mountain. I don’t think I would ever live that high up on a mountain, but I’m sure the views are amazing.

******************

A photo I forgot to include in a recent post:

 

 

This is a 1948 Buick Super that I photographed while at the local Gateway Classic Cars franchise. I have an affinity for Buicks, of course, since the first car I ever drove was a 1956 Century.

I really like the looks of this car, especially the waterfall grille. Maybe one of these days…

 

#WhistleWhileYouWednesday

#VinceLombardi

#WishFulfillment

#DesertViews

#1948BuickSuper

#somanycarsjustonelife

#disaffectedmusings

If you like this blog please tell your friends and share the blog URL (https://disaffectedmusings.com). Thanks.

 

Getting Old Tuesday

I had quite the fall yesterday, caused simply by trying to get out of my jeans so I could put on my “night clothes.” It is a VERY good thing that the floor of the master bedroom is now covered in carpet instead of hard wood, but I am still quite sore this morning.

The combination of Meniere’s Disease and advancing age is wreaking havoc on my balance. While living in a one-story house usually accelerates the decline in bone density and cardiovascular health, I know that if I had had a similar fall at the top of the stairs, I wouldn’t be writing this post now. EVERYTHING is a trade-off.

******************

Some more pictures from the desert:

 

 

With a little research I have figured out why the smudged picture of Venus turned out that way. In low light an iPhone camera slows the shudder speed (to allow more light) so almost any movement will make the picture blurry. I cannot hold the phone still enough to get good photos in low light with my phone. Is that another manifestation of advancing age and/or Meniere’s? I don’t know.

******************

From this CNBC article comes a list of the states to which people are moving and from which they are leaving, according to U-Haul. OK, people using U-Haul to move may not be representative of the entire population, but it’s still interesting to see. Here are the top five growth states in 2020:

 

1. Tennessee
2. Texas
3. Florida
4. Ohio
5. Arizona

 

California ranked last in 2020, behind Illinois and New Jersey. California has been in the bottom three states since 2016 and Illinois has been in the bottom two since 2015, when U-Haul began ranking states. Everyone repeat after me: People Vote With Their Feet.

From this US News article comes this list of the top and bottom states in population growth since 2010:

 

1.Utah (17.1%)
2 (tied). Idaho (16.3%)
2 (tied). Texas (16.3%)
4. Nevada (16.1%)
5. Arizona (15.8%)
6. Florida (15.3%)
7. Colorado (15.1%)
8. Washington (14.1%)
9. North Dakota (13.4%)
10. South Carolina (12.6%)

41 (tied). Michigan (0.9%)
41 (tied). New Jersey (0.9%)
43. Pennsylvania (0.6%)
44. Rhode Island (0.3%)
45. Mississippi (-0.1%)
46. New York (-0.3%)
47. Vermont (-0.4%)
48. Connecticut (-0.6%)
49. Illinois (-2.0%)
50. West Virginia (-3.7%)

 

The first list is just a 2020 measure while the second list uses a ten-year period so I am not calling this an apples-to-apples comparison. By the way, I had to deliberately leave out the space between 1. and Utah or otherwise the WordPress editor would have indented the list. WHY does WordPress assume that every numbered or bulleted list has to be indented?! I had to copy the list to Microsoft Word and paste it from there, but WordPress still wanted to indent the list unless I left out the space.

Eight of the ten fastest growing states are west of the Mississippi River and all ten of the slowest growing states are east of the Mississippi. Most of the latter group are also in the Rust Belt and/or Northeast. More from the article:

 

“Of the 10 most populous states, eight have seen population growth decline since 2010, while California, once touted for its population growth that boomed between 2000 and 2010, has seen stark declines in growth, losing population between 2019 and 2020 for the first time since 1990. Illinois and New York also saw population losses in the last few years, with both states’ 2019-2020 population loss marking their highest such decrease in the last 30 years.”

******************

With the purchase of the 2015 Cadillac ATS, all of the ruminating over what to buy has ceased. With it, a large source of blogging material has disappeared as well.

As the vehicle world seems to be moving ever faster towards electric and SUVs/pickup trucks, I wonder just how much material I will have for writing about cars. I open the floor to suggestions about what to use as a source for automotive content. In the interim, a picture of the only car in my “inner sanctum” among Ultimate cars that could be acquired for a five-figure sum:

 

See the source image

 

Remember that the quest for a car to accompany our Corvettes began with a car like this 1965 Buick Riviera GS. At this moment in time, such an acquisition will simply not happen. Oh well…

 

#GettingOldTuesday

#DesertViews

#PeopleVoteWithTheirFeet

#EditingForFascists

#1965BuickRivieraGS

#somanycarsjustonelife

#disaffectedmusings

If you like this blog please tell your friends and share the blog URL (https://disaffectedmusings.com). Thanks.

 

 

Slapdash Saturday

Who says Arizona has no bodies of water?!

 

 

This is a picture of Lake Pleasant (appropriately named, I think) where my wonderful wife, her parents and I spent part of New Years Day. I mean, c’mon, a lake surrounded by mountains on a cloudless, dry New Years Day with high temperatures in the low 60s. How can it get any better?

The dew point is about 20° here right now; in parts of south Florida the dew point is still in the 60s! No thanks, I’ll stay here. Yes, it will be very hot in the summer, but I don’t think a dry 105°-110° is any worse than a humid 90°.

******************

This piece from Classic Cars is one in a series of looks at 2020. This article chronicles the rapid growth of online automobile auctions in response to the damn virus. I enjoyed this sentence: “But in the middle of March, everything came to a stop faster than an F1 car heading into a hairpin turn.” I’m not even a big fan of auto racing.

I think the rapid move to online auctions speaks to the advantage of an economy where the private sector makes most of the decisions in terms of allocating resources. Can you imagine government being able to pivot so quickly? I maintain that’s not possible.

 

“Socialism is a philosophy of failure, the creed of ignorance, and the gospel of envy; its inherent virtue is the equal sharing of misery.”

– Winston Churchill

 

I know Dirty Dingus McGee has bought cars via an online auction; has anyone else? I have made some half-hearted bids on Bring a Trailer, but knew that little to no chance existed that I would wind up owning the cars. BaT listings show scores of photos and the seller is almost always available to answer questions.

I think online auctions will be the dominant form in the future as the low overhead and low commissions will be a competitive advantage. Even if you have not done so already, would any of you consider buying a car in an online auction?

******************

Some more blog stats…

The number of views that were referred by search engines in 2020 was seven times higher than the number for 2019 and 85 times higher than the number for 2018. I have no idea how “sticky” that referral pipeline is. Of course, I wish that the total number of views for 2020 had been seven times higher than 2019 or 85 times higher than 2018.

From my perspective, I think it’s unfortunate that 86 percent of those referrals from search engines in 2020 were from the Evil Empire, aka Google. I didn’t think that their share of the search market was that high, but maybe this blog is not a representative sample. I haven’t used any Google product for three years. The fact that I still have to delete Google cookies from my computer every week is just more evidence of their criminality.

******************

I am just beginning to formulate ideas for Ultimate Garage 3.0. It seems like I wrote about version 2.0 just a few months ago, but May of 2021 will be two years.

I am struggling to make these choices organic. I do not want to simply repeat the same 11 cars that I listed in 2.0, but don’t want to change just for the sake of change. In addition, my feelings about various cars are difficult to compare to each other.

I think at least five cars will stay the same; you can guess as to their identity. Why not limit 3.0 to just the “core” cars? What fun would that be?! 🙂

I don’t think I will write posts on the cars that just missed the cut as I have done in the past. However, I will begin to show cars that are under consideration, but not locks, such as this one:

 

See the source image

 

From Classic Nation a picture of a 1956 Continental (don’t call it a Lincoln) Mark II. In conversations with friends who are car people, some of them have “complained” about lack of representation of Ford and Mopar vehicles in Ultimate Garage 2.0. I am NOT a proponent of quotas in any aspect of life and that applies to this exercise. I think decisions about inclusion/exclusion should be made solely on the basis of merit, whenever possible, and it’s possible far more often than the SJWs will admit.

However, I also don’t want to exclude cars just because they were made by companies of whom I am not the biggest fan. For me, FoMoCo will always have the shadow of its disgusting founder hanging over it. Will that affect my decision to ultimately include or exclude the Mark II? I’m only human, but I will try to be as objective as possible about something that is subjective in nature, as paradoxical as that sounds.

 

#SlapdashSaturday

#DesertViews

#OnlineCarAuctions

#GoogleIsEvil

#UltimateGarage3.0

#1956-57ContinentalMarkII

#somanycarsjustonelife

#disaffectedmusings

If you like this blog please tell your friends and share the blog URL (https://disaffectedmusings.com). Thanks.

 

 

 

 

Of Viruses And Vitriol

Good Riddance, 2020! Good riddance to a year when both a virus and an election cycle highlighted and exacerbated the social and political polarization of the United States. As I have written here often, I believe that polarization is now intractable and the only solution is dissolution.

Good Riddance, 2020! I will not miss a year in which so many people in my former industry of employment–professional sports–have died, including many I knew personally.

While in one way–the move to the desert–this year has been good for me and my wonderful wife, 2020 can only be described as a year of calamity. Another like it in 2021 and…I don’t even want to finish that thought.

I offer a most fervent wish for a happier, healthier, calmer and safer 2021.

******************

I hope this picture shows as intended:

 

 

Well, I guess the photo is not sharp enough to convey what I saw with my eyes. In fact, the picture almost looks like a painting. The full (or near full) moon illuminated the mountain that sits not far to the north of our house. Oh well, let me show some more:

 

 

My wonderful wife took those two photos. It does rain in the desert, but that rain can lead to some amazing panoramas.

******************

Except for “Joe Walsh’s” tongue-in-cheek endorsement of the Maserati (Life’s Been Good, not this year), every reader who offered an opinion favored this car as the one we should buy:

 

 

As I wrote yesterday, I think this car (a Cadillac ATS coupe) is in the lead at present. Thanks to everyone for reading and to those who offered opinions on the subject. The post drew quite a lot of views.

My wonderful wife and I kept saying “Next Year” as to the time frame of the car purchase. Well, tomorrow is next year. That’s not to say we’re going to buy a car next week, but I will not be surprised if we buy the car by mid-February.

 

Thanks to all of you who read the blog on a regular basis and to those who send so many thoughtful comments. Stay safe, be well and Happy New Year.

 

#OfVirusesAndVitriol

#DesertViews

#CadillacATSCoupe

#somanycarsjustonelife

#disaffectedmusings

If you like this blog please tell your friends and share the blog URL (https://disaffectedmusings.com). Thanks.

 

Tick Tock Two

Down to 65 hours until the end of 2020…

Yet another person in the sports world with whom I worked has died in 2020. Bob Brown, who was the Public Relations Director for the Baltimore Orioles for 35 years–including while I worked for the team–died on Sunday the 27th.

Brown and I did not work together, per se, as I worked in Baseball Operations and not Public Relations, but I did assist his department in putting together the minor league players section of the team’s annual Media Guide. He had a reputation for having a temper, but I seldom saw that side of him and he treated me cordially, even if he didn’t quite understand what I was doing for the team.

 

“And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.”

– John Donne

******************

Even though I managed a post of normal length yesterday, it was the Corvette anniversary that bailed me out. I am still at a loss for topics about which to write.

Although December has already set “records” for most views and visitors in a month, those metrics have tailed off in the last week. Which came first, my running out of ideas or the decline in blog views? Well, at least I can keep showing these:

 

 

Stay safe and be well.

 

#TickTockTwo

#BobBrownBaltimoreOrioles

#DesertViews

#disaffectedmusings

If you like this blog please tell your friends and share the blog URL (https://disaffectedmusings.com). Thanks.

 

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.

******************

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.

******************

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.)

******************

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

#OfficeViews

#DesertViews

#COVID-19Vaccine

#FordTaurus

#LongLiveTheCorvette!

#somanycarsjustonelife

#disaffectedmusings

If you like this blog please tell your friends and share the blog URL (https://disaffectedmusings.com). Thanks.