Monday Musings 78

While my wonderful wife and I are attending the Mecum auction this week, posting will be sporadic or non-existent. Writing a post using the WordPress app forces one to use the awful Block(head) Editor.

In any event, after posting for 15 consecutive days I could use a break. I am grateful, though, for the resurgence in the number of views and visitors so far in August.


One year ago today I published this post, titled Why Can’t I Buy This Car?! The specific car mentioned is the Alpine A110, built by Renault. Here is a picture:


See the source image


Yes, Renault doesn’t sell cars in the US at the moment. However, it would be illegal for me to import one from Europe. As I wrote last year, I do not believe in unconstrained freedom, but why is this car illegal and some monstrous SUV legal? Sorry, but that’s just wrong.

Many blinded by political ideology think government regulation is necessary to rein in big businesses. In actuality, regulation hurts small businesses that lack the resources to comply.

Eighty-three (83) percent of US businesses have annual sales of less than $1 million. Eighty-one (81) percent have fewer than 10 employees. Even so, these businesses employ millions of people.

No, Renault is not a small business. The point is still valid and the regulations that make it illegal for me to import one of their cars actually benefit the big automobile companies that do sell cars here.

There are none so blind as those who will not see.


Well, I guess my wonderful wife can’t buy the Ferrari California she drove awhile back.



The sign in the windshield indicates it has been sold. Inventory was sparse at the local luxury make complex. While I don’t know for sure, the worldwide computer chip shortage that has hampered production of so many items may be a factor.


I’ll end today’s post with some desert/sky scenery. See you on the flip side, I hope.











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Census Sunday

First…Frickin’ Friday proved, once again, that post titles matter. Friday had the fewest number of views and visitors for a day with a post in well over a year. I’m sure today’s title won’t exactly cause people to click in record numbers, either, but I’m at a point where I don’t really care that much, anymore.

Second…I don’t think the saying “no good deed goes unpunished” is precisely appropriate, but after a marvelous day yesterday, I woke up this morning barely able to walk as my right knee is quite painful and, basically, can’t be bent. On Saturday my wonderful wife and I attended two car events, she drove a Ferrari California and we enjoyed the best meal we’ve had since moving to Arizona.

The first event was at a venue that is basically a storage facility, but for cars. These exist all over the Phoenix area and, no wonder. As soon as they are announced and available for purchase, all units sell out in no more than a month. Here is a picture of one of these “auxiliary” garages:



I think you basically just buy the space and the rest is extra, but I suspect many of them have been upgraded like this one. The minimum size is 1,000 square feet and the minimum ceiling height is 19 feet.

It was enjoyable to see these spaces, the cars that are parked in them and other cars, but it was a bit dissatisfying as well as I would love to have such a space, but simply cannot justify the six-figure expense plus the annual fees. Oh, you want to see the Ferrari California my wife drove:



My wife loved driving the car, but claimed it really was not as capable a car as her 2018 Corvette. Car snobs would scoff at such a statement, but many of them wouldn’t be caught dead in an American car.


From the time I was very young I have been fascinated by the US Census. I must have been about 8 or 9 when a friend of one of my aunts gave me a copy of The Statistical Abstract of the United States. I think she worked for the Commerce Department.

After four or five years I had read the book so much the spine broke. Fast forward to today…if Americans pay any attention to the Census at all it was because of the news of House reapportionment. Texas will gain two seats in the House of Representatives beginning in 2022 and five other states will gain one seat. If seven seats were “gained” then seven seats must be “lost” somewhere else. The most notable “loser” is California, whose population actually declined from 2019 to 2020, and which lost one seat in the House.

Before I show an ad-hoc table of mine, here are some tidbits. Utah had the highest percentage growth in population from 2010 to 2020 at 18.4%. Second was Idaho at 17.3%. It is easier, in theory, for a state starting from a lower base to have a relatively high percentage gain in population. That makes Texas’ gain of 15.9% very impressive and, of course, helps to explain the two seat gain in the House. Overall US population gain was 7.4% from 2010 to 2020, the lowest mark since the 7.3% gain from 1930 to 1940.

Three states lost population: Illinois, Mississippi and West Virginia. Illinois and West Virginia are two of the seven states that lost a seat in the House of Representatives. The only state that can remotely be considered to be part of the Northeast that had a decent population gain was Delaware at 10.2%, but the official state population is still just shy of a million people.

OK, here is the ad-hoc chart showing five states, not at random, and their share of the US population in 2000, 2010 and 2020:


  2020 2010 2000
Arizona 2.2% 2.1% 1.8%
California 11.9% 12.1% 12.0%
Illinois 3.9% 4.2% 4.4%
New York 6.1% 6.3% 6.7%
Texas 8.8% 8.1% 7.4%


New York and Texas had somewhat similar populations in 2000, Texas had about 10 percent more people, but in 2020 that difference had grown to 44 percent. I’ll write it again: when they can, people vote with their feet. In 1990 (not shown here), New York actually had about 6 percent more people than Texas.

Like I wrote, I just find this stuff fascinating. I remember reading the article about the 1970 Census in the 1971 World Book Year Book dozens of times, about how it was the first Census ever where the suburbs had a greater population than central cities or rural areas. I don’t think that trend has reversed and doubt it ever will although I acknowledge my inability to predict the future with total accuracy.

OK, I’ll shut up about it now. I would, however, like to read your thoughts.







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Twisting Tuesday

“If you prick us, do we not bleed? If you tickle us, do we not laugh? If you poison us, do we not die? And if you wrong us, do we not revenge? If we are like you in the rest, we will resemble you in that.”

William Shakespeare, The Merchant Of Venice


I have written this famous passage many times in this blog to remind everyone that I am only human. Apparently, I missed a hell of a football game last night as the Baltimore Ravens blew a 14-point lead, saw the reigning league MVP leave the game with cramps, only to have him return and lead the Ravens to a last-second 47-42 win–and season sweep–over divisional rival Cleveland.

Although I am not following football closely anymore, I always enjoy when the Ravens beat the Browns, which is often. The Ravens are 22-4 against the Browns under current Ravens’ head coach John Harbaugh. Why do I enjoy these wins?

One reason is that when I worked for the Padres a young co-worker went ballistic when I showed up at a game wearing a Ravens uniform jersey. She was from Cleveland and a big Browns fan. She was also quite attractive and, how can I write this, quite the tease.

After I resigned from the Padres I received a vulgar card from her about the Ravens and owner Art Modell. What did I do? I watched the Ravens win the Super Bowl the very next season.

I really wanted to rub the Super Bowl win in her face as I wanted to do 12 years later when the Ravens won the Super Bowl again. However, I did not do so on either occasion.

Although I have torpedoed myself by acting impulsively far too often for someone who is supposed to be intelligent, in these instances I did not allow myself to stoop to her level. Still, I am only human.


Here is part of a review of a book I co-authored, one about the greatest baseball teams of all time:


“Ultimately, the last word in applying logic to a game of art belongs to [me], who notes that “so much of what happens in baseball is just random deviation from an unobservable mean.” To a rational person, that’s poetry.”


The review was by Noel Murray and [me] is yours truly. Explain again why baseball, football and the rest of the American job infrastructure have classified me as obsolete. “If you prick us, do we not bleed?” Yes, I wish I could exact revenge against those who refuse to acknowledge the depth of my skills and experience. I’m only human. By the way, that remark about baseball applies to life, in general. What happens is not the only thing that could have happened. Life is a Monte Carlo simulation.


How many of you have heard of guitarist Jeff Beck? He is one of the most accomplished musicians of the modern era and I am not damning him with faint praise.

Last week while listening to music on my iPhone, his song Diamond Dust” played. (I have the phone shuffle my song list at random.) I had forgotten how much I enjoy that song and have been hearing it in my head ever since. (Of course, I am now hearing the song in my head as I write this.) I have also played it two or three times a day since hearing it at random.

I don’t listen to music as often as I used to and I’m not sure why. However, with almost 800 songs on my phone, if I only listen for 15-20 minutes at a time then I am not going to hear very much of my music library in a day. (I still haven’t found all of my surround sound stereo components, let alone had the stereo connected.)

Here is the link to “Diamond Dust” on Amazon. I have read that Beck is not proud of Blow By Blow, the album on which “Diamond Dust” appears, or Wired, the follow-up to Blow By Blow. Both recordings were enormously successful; Blow By Blow reached No. 4 on the Billboard Top 200 and was certified Platinum by the RIAA. Wired was also certified Platinum.

Anyway…some more insight into how my brain works or doesn’t.


I am beginning to think that while this will not be in the near future, my wonderful wife’s next car may very well be one of these:


See the source image


From Auto Evolution a picture of a Ferrari California T. The “T” stands for turbocharged.

Don’t get me wrong: she loves her Corvette convertible. It is entirely possible that, somewhere down the road, she could acquire a California and keep the Vette. However, she LOVES the California. You only live once and you can’t take it with you.









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Rainy Day In The Desert

Well, I guess moving to the desert won’t stop my nightmares. Although, fortunately, I don’t really remember it, I had a nightmare bad enough that I made sufficient noise to wake my wonderful wife. She, in turn, woke me.

As I have written here many times, I am plagued by nightmares. I am sleeping better since we moved, but I have to accept that the nightmares will never stop.


Although we have had a couple of periods of rain since moving into our house almost five weeks ago (!), yesterday was the first measurable rain at Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport in 16 weeks. We live 30-35 miles north of the airport. What can rain do to the scenery? Glad you asked:



I had other shots where the top of the mountain was even more obscured, but the picture was almost indecipherable. Here is basically the same perspective not much later.



I used the rain to wash my Z06, which had grown quite dusty since it was last washed in November. I simply pulled the car out of the garage, sat in the driveway for 8-10 minutes and let the rain hit the car. Then, I drove back into the garage and dried the car with a couple of microfiber towels. The car looks much better; no, I didn’t take any post-wash pictures.


This CNBC story reports that the FDA will “quickly” approve the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID vaccine for emergency use. The FDA’s comments come after Thursday’s vote by the agency’s Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee (17 to 4 with one abstention) to recommend the vaccine.

While sitting in the driveway yesterday I met one of our next-door neighbors. He was a pleasant fellow and is a former college professor. Disturbingly to me though, he said he will never be vaccinated.

If the vaccines are really 90% effective, then two-thirds of the population will still have to be vaccinated in order to reach 60% immunity. That level is what many epidemiologists say is the key to halting the spread of the virus. Yes, apparently 5%+ of the population has already been infected. Better some margin for error exists than not.

I really can’t understand how people have opinions that are not connected to facts, but that is the human condition, I guess. My wonderful wife and I will be vaccinated ASAP.


Of the 45 Ferraris available for sale on AutoTrader within 50 miles of our zip code, how many were listed for less than $100,000? The answer is five, which included one of these, one of my wonderful wife’s favorites:


See the source image


From renderosity, a picture of a Ferrari California. The AutoTrader example is a 2011 model also in Silver. That car, with about 22,000 miles, is listed for $94,945.

The California is the most successful model in Ferrari history with about 18,000 sold. For 70% of California buyers it was their first Ferrari. Will one of these be my wonderful wife’s first Ferrari? One never knows…









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Tuesday Bites

I guess when all of this subsides I will have to finally break down, go to the dentist and get fitted for a biteguard to wear at night. I regularly bite my lips, my tongue and my cheeks while I sleep. At present, I am dealing with a horrendous sore on the inside of my lip caused by multiple bites of the same area. I also think the stress of current events is impairing my body’s ability to heal.

A much happier interpretation of bites:


See the source image


56packardman mentioned these in a reply to a comment I left on one of his posts. The picture is from I don’t recall ever having eaten these before, but you can be sure I will soon.


Where do you go for a “mental escape?” I am not asking so I can reveal my preferences; I am asking so I might learn something.

My routine has not really changed much in this time of social distancing. I have had to give up one of my few escapes, dining in restaurants. However, I definitely know something is much different and I am not one of those people who is obsessively consuming news. Any suggestions you can offer would be much appreciated.


One way I can tell the world/my world is different is that the joy I receive from thinking about cars has diminished. I doubt this is a permanent change, but it has decreased the “return” on an escape.

Maybe I’m just in a holding pattern waiting for the move to the desert. In an arc on Seinfeld Kramer wants to move to LA to get into show business. At one point George asks him if he is really going to California. Kramer’s response, “In my mind, I’m already gone.” Yes, that’s a funny line, but that also describes my state. I am a person who, when a course of action seems appropriate, just wants to take that action ASAP.

I think life is about doing things, not waiting to do things. None of us is guaranteed tomorrow.


On this day in 2004 the Empire State Building was lit in Ferrari red to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Ferrari’s presence in the United States (also in conjunction with New York Auto Show activities), which is traditionally Ferrari’s largest market in terms of sales. From 365 Days Of Motoring (not a secure website):



From Wikipedia a picture of Ferrari’s best-selling car ever, although now discontinued. For 70% of the people who bought this car it was their first Ferrari.


See the source image


This is, of course, a Ferrari California. This car is part of my wonderful wife’s Ultimate Garage and was part of my Ultimate Garage “1.0” that I showed on my first blog (not this one).

A Ferrari California is NOT a candidate to be a Corvette companion in the desert. It’s too expensive to acquire AND to maintain and is a “fail” as a grocery car. Still, let me see what Hemmings has:



Among the 590 Ferrari listings were 30 Californias. The one shown above is the least expensive, listing for $94,950. It is a 2011 model with about 8,000 miles. According to the ad the original MSRP was about $212,000.

As I have written before, the allure of winning a huge lottery jackpot largely resides in the cars we could buy—and in a house in which we could have those cars. I do not expect to win the lottery, but it sure is fun to dream. Ah, an escape…







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