Monday Musings 68

Many thanks to Dominic Chu of CNBC. He tweeted about my blog; he also wrote these kind words to me in a message, “You’re a true wordsmith!”

The first week of May was, frankly, a disappointment in terms of blog views/visitors. In the last 2-3 days, the number of both has increased significantly. So much so that I received this notification from WordPress yesterday:

 

 

Yes, I am “liking” my own posts. I can, so I do. If you don’t “like” posts on a regular basis, please consider doing so.

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Today’s number after Monday Musings, 68, takes me back to my first radio job. Why? The frequency of the station was 680 AM.

I had the title of Associate Producer for a sports talk show where listeners could call in. I screened calls, booked guests, provided facts, etc.

The pay was supposed to be minimum wage, which at the time was $3.35/hour. I told the host of the show that I would not work anywhere for minimum wage. Our “solution” was that I clocked in for three hours a night even though the show only ran for two. Therefore, I was paid, de facto, $5.02/hour. Of course, I loved being at the radio station and was usually there more than three hours a night.

This job was how I wound up being among the first members of the “media” to report the presence of Mayflower moving vans at the Baltimore Colts complex on the night of March 28, 1984. The radio station for which I worked was the Colts’ flagship station and the studios were located not far from the Colts complex.

While at work that night we started receiving calls that moving vans had been spotted heading for the complex. Rumors that the team was going to move had become quite rampant. Colts’ season ticket holders had not yet received their renewal notices for 1984 tickets, which normally would have been sent at least a month before.

In addition, beginning earlier in March–I believe–Colts’ employees paychecks had begun to be drawn against an Indianapolis bank. I think only stubborn denial prevented all Colts fans from accepting the reality of the situation: the team was going to move to Indianapolis.

Anyway, back to that night…the host of the show, a well-known Baltimore sports personality who was actually subbing for the regular host, told me to drive out to the complex to investigate given all the calls we were receiving. Sure enough, I saw Mayflower vans at the complex. I spotted another car and rolled down my windows. The driver of the other car was a reporter for the local ABC affiliate (at the time) named Lisa Champoux. We said almost in unison, “It’s really happening.”

Bob The Red-Faced Owner, I will not dignify the *ssh*le’s existence by using his real name, had so alienated thousands of Colts fans with his antics that many of them, like me, had stopped following the team as closely as before. As a result, I was not that upset at the news that the team was moving. It was only years later that I realized what I, and many others, had lost.

I worked at that job for about a year. Not long after I began that position, I landed a spot hosting my own show once a week (on Sunday) on a small radio station–that was part of the Orioles’ radio network–outside of Baltimore and did both jobs concurrently for a few months. I used an alias while hosting the show for many reasons, not the least of which, unfortunately, was that the studios were located in a less than enlightened part of Maryland and I didn’t want to use my Jewish last name for fear of showing up to work one day and find a cross burning on the lawn in front of the studios.

As I have written, I loved working in radio. I guess I could try to make a podcast, but it’s just not the same to me.

Sorry, no cars today.

 

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#FirstRadioJob

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WTF Wednesday

Today’s first topic was suggested/inspired by a direct Twitter comment to me by Dominic Chu of CNBC.

The FDA decision to pause use of the Johnson and Johnson COVID-19 vaccine is a WTF moment, in my opinion. I was going to express my objections, but I’ll let someone far more qualified do so, Nate Silver:

 

“6 cases out of 7 million people. What a disaster. This is going to get people killed. And it’s going to create more vaccine hesitancy. These people don’t understand cost-benefit analysis. They keep making mistakes by orders of magnitude.”

 

Not to pick nits, but since apparently only women developed the blood clots it is closer to 6 cases out of about 3.5 million people, or about 1 in 600,000. That is a mere 1/200th of the frequency with which women taking oral contraceptives develop blood clots, granting the blood clots may not be exactly of the same type. Oral contraceptives are still being sold.

As to whether or not this decision will create more vaccine hesitancy, I believe the vast majority of adults have already decided whether or not they are going to be vaccinated, but on the margin Nate is right. I will also opine that those who choose not to receive a vaccine are clearly on the wrong side of the facts and will clearly be on the wrong side of history. I will, once again, quote Louis Armstrong and Isaac Asimov:

 

“There are some people that if they don’t know, you can’t tell them.”

 

“There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there always has been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that ‘my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.’”

 

Oh, the extreme libertarians are wrong a lot and so are those who have blind faith in government.

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While running errands yesterday I saw a “carcass” of one of these being transported on a flatbed truck:

 

See the source image

 

From Barrett-Jackson a picture of a 1955 Studebaker Speedster. That was the only year the Speedster was offered and it was introduced as a top of the line model with “upgraded” chrome and brightwork. I consider it a bridge between the original Loewy coupes and the Hawk line that began in 1956.

I have to admit I almost drove off the road trying to ascertain the car’s identity and again when I realized what it was. Of course, since I was driving I could not get a picture. The car was in rough shape, though.

Obviously, I hope the car was being transported to someone who will begin restoring it. Only 2,215 Speedsters were produced.

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Let this fact sink in:

 

More than half (54%) of the 1.7 million unemployed workers age 55 and over are long-term unemployed, according to AARP, an advocacy group for older Americans. (Economists consider long-term unemployment to be a period exceeding six months.)

 

Of course, I fit in that category as a 55 and older long-term unemployed. Age discrimination is very real, but very difficult to prove. I will once again write that it is absurd that someone with my skills and experience was unable to find a fulfilling and interesting work situation after my baseball career ended. Now, I am in the “discouraged worker” category, I guess.

 

#WTFWednesday

#JohnsonAndJohnsonVaccine

#DominicChu

#NateSilver

#GetVaccinated!

#StudebakerSpeedster

#AgeDiscriminationIsVeryReal

#somanycarsjustonelife

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Tuesday Twaddle

I follow Dominic Chu of CNBC on Twitter (@TheDomino). He is knowledgeable without being arrogant and passionate without being partisan. Occasionally we engage in short dialogues via Direct Message on Twitter. Often those dialogues are the result of my sending Dom a link to a Disaffected Musings post. Yesterday, in the middle of one of those dialogues Dom wrote this wonderful comment, “Your posts are awesome.” Wow! I mean, Wow! Dom’s comment was not in response to my asking him what he thought about the blog or any specific post. He offered it unprompted by me.

As every regular reader knows I am very proud of this blog AND wish many more people were reading. However, it is always great to receive such positive feedback, especially from someone who is a professional journalist. Thanks again, Dom.

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C8 Convertible

 

From this autoblog.com piece comes a picture of a C8 Corvette convertible. The article is about Chevrolet’s announcement that the official reveal of the C8 convertible will occur on October 2, despite the fact that the car was already shown in official company photos when the C8 was revealed in July.

No doubt the C8 convertible will have a soft-top and, no doubt, the chassis will be beefed up in order to compensate for the loss in structural rigidity a fixed roof provides. I suspect the base price for the convertible will be $5,000-$6,000 more than the coupe. Are any potential buyers reading this?

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More evidence of the softening of the collector car market: the gross sales total from all of the auctions held during Monterey Car Week last month was down by about 31% from 2018. The average price per lot was down about 24% and the median price declined by 16 percent. Combine that with slightly fewer lots offered and a small reduction in the sell-through rate and, voila, -31%.

Total sales have actually declined in four of the past five years in Monterey with only 2018 being an increase compared to the previous year. Remember that even the very wealthy don’t have to buy expensive collector cars. In all honesty, though, data like this makes me a little nervous about the overall economy.

My wonderful wife ribs me from time to time about having too much cash in our holdings. The ribbing happens even though our family portfolio has significantly outperformed its expected risk-adjusted return over a period of more than a decade. If the economy falters then having a substantial cash position will be quite an asset, in my opinion. Also, if the collector car market continues to soften and if that softening trickles down to all segments then maybe I can buy that Studebaker Gran Turismo Hawk for even less than the modest amount one would cost today.

 

#DominicChu

#C8CorvetteConvertible

#SofteningOfCollectorCarMarket

#StudebakerGranTurismoHawk

#somanycarsjustonelife

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Today’s post title is nothing more than my penchant for self-deprecation and alliteration.