A Real A Or B

OK, two pics first…

 

 

That white smudge is Venus. Not sure why the pic is so blurry; it looks fine on my phone. Must be a resolution thing. Any help, photobyjohnbo? Ironically, I named the photo “A Better Picture Of Venus” before I saw it here. No rest for the “wicked,” I guess.

 

 

That is my wonderful wife holding up my newest acquisition. While Guck Foogle T-Shirts are plentiful, I had to have this made. I will wear it as often as possible and when it wears out, I will buy one or two more. Fack Fucebook!

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OK, today’s A Or B is not a theoretical exercise. Tangent…looking out my office window can be quite the distraction. I can’t get a good picture because of the window screen and schmutz (“dirt” in Yiddish), but my eyes and brain are having quite the feast at present with the bands of orange, the cactus and the distant mountain peaks. Just since I began writing this tangent, the sky has developed a large orange-pink feature. (Sorry, I am partially color-blind and terrible at assigning the “right” name to many colors.) It’s still 10-15 minutes before “sunrise.”

Anyway, back to the cars…as every regular reader of this blog knows, my wonderful wife and I are on the verge of buying a car, I think. While we will make the final decision, of course, I would like to get your choice and read your thoughts about these two cars:

 

See the source image

 

The photo comparison is not apples to apples because the picture of the Lexus RC is of “studio quality” and the picture of the Cadillac ATS coupe is not.

OK, what do you want to know? For this exercise price does matter and assume the Lexus is $5,000 more expensive, let’s say $30,000 compared to $25,000 for the Cadillac. Assume the turbocharged 4-cylinder engine for each car.

The rear seats in the Cadillac are larger, but the trunk space is virtually the same. I have no “data” on how the RC drives because we haven’t driven one, yet.

If you want more info before casting your vote, please feel free to let me know. OK, Lexus RC or Cadillac ATS coupe? Thanks.

 

#AOrB

#FackFucebook

#LexusRC

#CadillacATSCoupe

#somanycarsjustonelife

#disaffectedmusings

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Not So Frugal Friday

First…perhaps this lawsuit is a last-ditch effort by a lame-duck administration to gain notoriety, but Fack Fucebook has been sued by the Department of Justice alleging the “company” discriminated against American workers in the way it hired foreigners for high-paying positions. From the linked story in US News & World Report:

 

“A lawsuit filed Thursday by the Justice Department accuses Facebook of refusing to recruit or consider U.S workers for some 2,600 positions from January 2018 to September 2019, instead reserving those jobs for H-1B temporary work visa holders that the company sponsored for permanent residency, often known as a green card.

Federal law requires companies to demonstrate that there are no qualified U.S. workers for a position before it offers the job to a foreign worker on a temporary visa who the company can then sponsor for an employment-based green card.

DOJ alleges in its lawsuit that Facebook reserved those thousands of jobs for foreign workers it sponsored for green cards through a federal immigration process dubbed PERM. Facebook did not advertise the positions on its careers website, required applicants to apply by mail and refused to consider U.S. workers for the roles, the Justice Department alleges.”

 

Why should anyone be surprised by a company that even puts itself in a position for such a lawsuit when it’s run by a person who has said, “You can be unethical and still be legal; that’s the way I live my life?” As I wrote here someone who admits unethical behavior is almost certainly not opposed to illegal behavior, despite Muckerberg’s statement to the contrary.

Delete Facebook! Fack Fucebook!

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My wonderful wife and I test-drove a Buick Cascada yesterday. Although the ride was a little “floaty” and the car did have the convertible wobble going over bumps, it was very comfortable and while it is certainly no C7 Corvette, it had more oomph than its power-to-weight ratio would have suggested.

However, while we were waiting for the Cascada to be brought around for the test drive, I saw this car in the showroom:

 

 

This 2019 Z06 convertible took my breath away. No, I/we am/are not going to buy it, but I started thinking about having a different set of constraints. I don’t mean an unlimited budget or a bigger house with a 6-car garage, but being able to spend for the Grocery Car/Taxi/Corvette Companion an amount similar to what we spent for our Corvettes, about $60,000 each. The car would still have to have four seats and a decent-sized trunk.

Using AutoTrader for such a search yielded a lot of German cars. In fact, and perhaps somewhat unfortunately, I may have to “hold my nose” when we buy the next car because if we don’t insist that it is a convertible, then it may be a German car although it would never be a Volkswagen or Porsche. Here is one of the only cars that met all of our criteria and wasn’t from a German company, picture from 0-60 specs.com:

 

See the source image

 

This is a 2018 Dodge Challenger Hellcat. Once again, this is not the actual AutoTrader car as links to pictures on their website break quickly. The AutoTrader car is White (not a preferred color for us) over Red, has about 27,500 miles and the asking price is $56,199.

Believe it or not, the trunk in these cars is quite large at over 16 cubic feet. Supposedly, the car will seat five, but it should certainly be able to seat four comfortably.

That would be cool having a 700+ HP grocery car/taxi. With the intake and exhaust mods on my Z06, that would give us two cars with 700+ HP. We would almost have a 2,000 HP garage. Still, we are not going to spend $55,000-$65,000 on this car, but I wanted to imagine what we could buy if we were willing AND the car had four seats and a decent-sized trunk.

As for the Cascada, we are not buying anything before the new year–which is scarily just four weeks away–but yesterday’s test drive did not eliminate the car from consideration. With the top up, the trunk has enough size for groceries and the back seats can comfortably carry two normal-sized people. Although I was somewhat facetious the first time I wrote this, the fact that the car was built in the country of my parents’ birth–Poland–is drawing me to the car. The fact that it’s a Buick, at least in name, is also a plus as buying it would be an homage to the car I grew up with and the first car I ever drove, my father’s 1956 Buick Century. Also, having another convertible in Arizona is not overkill. The test drive was with the top down…in December.

If anyone has any additional thoughts on this matter, I would be happy to read them. Thanks.

 

#NotSoFrugalFriday

#DeleteFacebook

#FackFucebook

#2019CorvetteZ06Convertible

#2018DodgeChallenger

#BuickCascada

#somanycarsjustonelife

#disaffectedmusings

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

 

 

 

 

 

Throwback Thursday 43

First…yesterday I criticized those who think taxes have no impact on behavior. Yes, there really are people who think taxes don’t affect how people act. This story from CNBC is about yet another of the countless examples of how taxes profoundly influence behavior.

Joe Lonsdale, co-founder of Palantir and founder of a venture firm named 8VC, is moving his company headquarters from San Francisco to Austin, Texas. In an interview, Lonsdale specifically cited California’s high taxes as a key reason why the company was moving to Texas. Peter Thiel, co-founder and Chairman of Palantir, recently announced that his company headquarters were also leaving California and moving to Denver, Colorado.

If they can, people vote with their feet. Making rich people poorer will not make poor people richer, at least not in the developed world. The politics of envy are a road to nowhere.

Second…Hallelujah! Fack Fucebook is likely to be the subject of two antitrust lawsuits, including one that could be filed as early as next week. State attorneys general are preparing to file an antitrust lawsuit against Facebook as soon as next week and at least 20 to 30 states could join in. Many sources are reporting that the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is also likely to file an antitrust lawsuit against Facebook.

Facebook has a de facto monopoly on “social media” especially when one considers that they own Instagram. I have tremendous respect for Jim Cramer of CNBC, but disagree with him on this issue. The possibility that the cost of digital advertising will increase if Facebook is broken up is a poor reason for not doing so. The power the company has is dangerous and time and time again they have shown disrespect for the data of their customers.

Delete Facebook! Fack Fucebook!

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What was the best-selling car in the US fifty years ago, or 1970 for those of you who are mathematically challenged? It was a model that sold over a million units for model year 1965 and even though by 1970 that figure had diminished by more than half, it was still at the top of the heap. Here is a picture (from Classic Car Database):

 

See the source image

 

This is a 1970 Chevrolet Impala. For that year about 496,000 Impalas were produced. Based on my admittedly less than thorough research, I believe the #2 car model was the Ford LTD at about 374,000.

For a model that was so successful for so many years, it is quite sad to me that the Impala is no longer being produced and probably never will be again. From the first year that the Impala was a completely separate model, 1959, through 1968–ten model years–more than seven million Impalas were produced.

As I have recounted before in this blog, I have a sentimental attachment to the Impala. When my ’67 GTO was wrecked in an accident two weeks before I was to leave for college for the first time, it was my father’s ’61 Impala that got me back and forth between home and college during my first semester. My aunt and uncle owned a ’64 that they would let me pretend to drive.

Car enthusiasts, particularly American car enthusiasts, should acknowledge the significance of the Chevrolet Impala.

 

#ThrowbackThursday

#SayNoToThePoliticsOfEnvy

#TaxesMatter

#FackFucebook

#JimCramer

#1970ChevroletImpala

#1970FordLTD

#somanycarsjustonelife

#disaffectedmusings

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

Wandering Wednesday

First, an apology to WordPress, the platform that hosts this blog. In yesterday’s post, Strange Minds, I asked why the word “dreamt” was underlined in red while composing a post since it is a real word. Well, I asked one of the WordPress engineers that question and they replied that WordPress does not have an active dictionary monitoring posts. The engineer suggested it could be my browser or even operating system.

Second, while I am always grateful for views/comments by markcars2014 and other Canadian readers, I want to note that Disaffected Musings has, seemingly, developed regular readers in Italy, Norway and my ancestral home of Poland. I hope they will continue reading and, hopefully, spread the word.

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How many of you have heard of the site postsecret? It was created by Frank Warren in 2004. People anonymously send in their secrets on postcards, which are often homemade, and some are shown on the site.

It is a relic, for lack of a better word, of the days on the Internet before Fack Fucebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc. The site has always been ad-free. For a time, so many secrets were sent in that Warren was able to publish several books containing them.

Some of the secrets are shocking and/or sad. I have always suspected that some proportion, say 20%, are not real. I don’t mean that Warren sends them in himself or via proxies, but that the “secrets” on some postcards are simply made up, perhaps as some sort of wish fulfillment.

Anyway…the picture above is captured from postsecret. I love Fack Fucebook being on the list of apps that don’t bring joy to the user. Here are two results from a study by Stanford University:

 

Facebook deactivation reduced political polarization

One of the biggest issues supposedly affecting the US voting base at the moment is political polarization — this is the idea that Democrats and Republicans are unwilling to compromise on issues that affect the entire country.

The study found that deactivating Facebook pulls former users more into line with the average position in their respective political parties. Essentially, this means that Facebook deactivation brings users closer to the political center. But, has social media actively led to the increase in polarization, or have the parties and voters drifted further apart of their own volition? According to the study:

“The figure shows that deactivation moves both Democrats and Republicans visibly towards the center. In the control group, the issue opinions of the average Democrat and the average Republican differ by 1.47 standard deviations. In the treatment group, this difference is 1.35 standard deviations — about eight percent less.

“Are these polarization effects large or small? As one benchmark, we can compare these effects to the increase in political polarization in the US since 1996, well before the advent of social media. Using data from the American National Election Studies… [another academic] calculates that the change in a different index of polarization… increased by 0.38 standard deviations between 1996 and 2016. The 0.16 standard deviation effect of Facebook deactivation on political polarization in our sample is about 42 percent as large as this increase.”

 

Facebook deactivation marginally improves subjective wellbeing

Perhaps the most interesting revelation from the study is that Facebook “does indeed have adverse effects on subjective well being.”

 

I know that my anti-Facebook rantings will not get anyone to stop using it. I suspect a larger proportion of readers of this blog don’t use Fack Fucebook than the proportion of the general public. I will make a strong statement: I think Mark Zuckerberg is the chief criminal of his criminal company and I think that Facebook should be forced to divest itself of Instagram and What’s App. The possibility that such a divestiture may raise the unit cost of digital advertising is a very small price to pay for stripping Fack Fucebook of its de facto monopoly of social media and for reducing the dangerous amount of power it has. Oh, here’s a remark made by Zuckerberg:

 

“You can be unethical and still be legal; that’s the way I live my life.”

 

For me, someone who admits to unethical behavior has no real constraints against using illegal behavior. That’s a trade-off almost no one can negotiate successfully. Fack Fucebook! Delete Facebook!

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Given the dramatic slowdown in the number of showings we’ve had for our house between weeks one and two on the market, I must admit to having some doubt that the move to the desert will take place as quickly as I would like. Of course, that means that the quest for a Corvette Companion/Grocery Car has been pushed to the back burner.

Still, I look on car sales websites almost every day although the “journeys” are much shorter than before. I have to admit that despite the change to looking for more modern cars, every now and then I look at something like this:

 

 

From this Hemmings ad a picture of a 1963 Buick Wildcat with an admittedly less than desirable 87,000+ miles on the clock and an asking price of $19,900. Throw in the black interior, a no-go in the desert, and this becomes an impractical purchase. Nevertheless, I am really drawn to this car. The heart wants what it wants.

 

#WanderingWednesday

#Postsecret

#FackFucebook

#CorvetteCompanion/GroceryCar

#1963BuickWildcat

#somanycarsjustonelife

#disaffectedmusings

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

 

 

100 Days In

Yes, today is the 100th day of 2020. That seems incredible to me.

If it seems like I am being Captain Obvious (or Capitaine Évident), I know I do that on occasion. However, don’t assume that because something is obvious to Person A that it is also obvious to everyone else in the “room.”

Numbers nerd/OCD person that I am, this day is significant because the number of days has reached triple digits and the number of days in a year is in triple digits. My brain says to me, “digits have maxed out.”

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Naked plea for blog views…if you follow Disaffected Musings by email, please click on the post title and don’t just read the post in your email. To all of you reading, please feel free to click on one or all of the Related Posts listed at the bottom of each post.

I have written every post and I don’t remember everything I’ve written; I doubt any of you remembers everything, either. You might be surprised by something you haven’t read or by jogging your memory about something you had.

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Fack Fucebook and Guck Foogle place tracking cookies on your computer EVEN IF YOU ARE NOT USING THEIR WEBSITES! Fortunately, Mozilla Firefox, the browser I use, has created something called Facebook Container that, of course, I have installed. The Facebook “Like” and “Share” buttons that appear on shopping, news and other sites contain Facebook trackers. Even if you don’t use them, Facebook uses these buttons to track you. The Facebook Container add-on creates a boundary between Facebook sites and the rest of the Web so it’s harder for Facebook to track you online.

Why aren’t more people outraged by this? I hear people say, “Facebook is dying because people are moving to Instagram.” Guess what? Facebook owns Instagram. Facebook and Google are criminal organizations, it doesn’t matter how much easier they allegedly make your life.

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My wonderful wife brought this “gallery” to my attention. It is a list of 27 people, some famous in addition to more than a few “oil sheiks,” who have extensive car collections. The list includes Jay Leno (of course), Craig Jackson, John Cena, Jerry Seinfeld and George Foreman. I wish the emphasis had been more on the cars than on the people, but a non-automotive publication like USA Today is not going to show 50 or 100 cars in an article.

If I ever had the means to have an extensive car collection I don’t think I would only purchase cars from my Ultimate Garage 2.0. Even if I limited the number of cars to 8 or 10, I might buy cars not on that list and not buy some cars that are on it. (An aside: feel free to click on the hyperlinks within a blog post. I only link to secure sites, sites whose URLs begin with https, and many of the links are to other Disaffected Musings posts, anyway.)

Here’s a car I would consider purchasing:

 

See the source image

 

Obviously from Car-from-UK.com a picture of a 1990 Aston Martin Virage. This was the first model year for the gorgeous Virage.

Power was provided by a 5.3 liter/327 cubic-inch V-8 that produced 330 HP/350 LB-FT of torque. The transmission was either a five-speed ZF manual or three-speed Torqueflite automatic. (In 1993 the automatic was changed to a four-speed.) Even in 1990, about 60% of these cars were sold with automatic transmissions.

Aston Martin, under Ford’s ownership at this time, was keen to point out that the Virage could be sold in the US without being detuned to meet US emissions standards. Of course, very few wound up in the US because the car, like all Astons, was not produced in large numbers. The Virage was replaced by the Vanquish in 2000; only 1,050 units of the Virage were made in total from 1989 through 2000.

Do you ever dream about having a lot of cars? Once again from the movie Diner, if you don’t have dreams you have nightmares.

 

#100DaysIn

#FackFucebook

#GuckFoogle

#AstonMartinVirage

#somanycarsjustonelife

#disaffectedmusings

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

 

Sunday Sluggishness

Of course people not reading this will not get the message, but I am very disappointed at the significant decline in the number of views/visitors for Disaffected Musings since early/mid November. I don’t care if I sound like a whiner; I am very proud of this blog. I read other blogs on the Internet and like almost none of them. Most people today cannot write and I am not sorry if that sounds elitist.

To those of you still reading do you have any ideas why so many fewer people are reading? What do you think can be improved? Without using Fack Fucebook or Guck Foogle how can I get more people to read the blog?

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I am somewhat surprised no one has offered an opinion on the car in which I might have bidding interest next month. Let me state up front that I would assess the probability that I buy the car at no more than 5%. The car might have a 6-speed manual despite the description, it might not look as good in person, upon inspection I might discover the car is leaking fluids or, most likely, the bidding will go beyond what I want to spend right now.

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Although I have noted the results of my blood test in a reply to a comment by Steve Dallas, for the rest of you the HbA1c result was very good. I went from having the second highest/second worst reading in my life to the lowest/best in a matter of three months. It’s amazing what cutting out ice cream and cookies will do for your blood sugar. <sarcasm> The result was good enough that my physician thinks I might be able to stop taking Metformin. I told him I was doubtful that could actually happen. I will also use this opportunity to state my politically incorrect belief that for 80% of people who are overweight and/or have Type 2 diabetes (remember Pareto’s 80/20 rule) lifestyle choices are the primary reason. By the way, I am not overweight. Given my exercise regimen and short eating window every day due to GERD it is virtually impossible for me to gain weight. I weigh 20-25 pounds less than I did before I started running 8-9 years ago. Exercise really works!

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From Car and Driver comes this picture:

image

Here is another photo:

image

This is the very limited production Nissan GT-R50 which was created in conjunction with Italdesign. Only 50 of these will be produced. The GT-R50, which might be a preview of the next iteration of the GT-R, is about 4 inches longer and 4 inches wider than the standard GT-R. The engine output has also been increased to a staggering 710 HP/585 LB-FT of torque. The engine for the Nismo “performance” version of the current GT-R is rated at 600 HP/481 LB-FT.

I have written about the GT-R before, but I think it’s an amazing car even if it’s a little long in the tooth.

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Here are links to the posts, not counting the Home Page, that have produced at least two percent of all views for Disaffected Musings:

Sunday Studebaker

Tuesday Collection

Wednesday Wanderings

I don’t think it’s a coincidence that two of these three posts are about Studebaker. 56packardman very graciously puts links to my Studebaker posts on the Studebaker Drivers Club forums. I don’t know how many members are in the club, but they are FANATICAL about Studebaker and will read anything relating to the make. The non-Studebaker post is about the engine choice for my restomod C2 Corvette build.

Once again, I would really like to read any suggestions about how to improve the blog and/or get it read by more people.

 

#somanycarsjustonelife

#disaffectedmusings