Walkabout Wednesday

This “fact” has nothing to do with real life, but in my current computer football league (24 teams whose rosters–drafted at random–and names, for the most part, bear no resemblance to the real thing) the Texas Tornadoes have won their last two games by a combined score of 107 to 71. Yes, I wrote football, not basketball.

The Tornadoes, who always play in the first game of the new week, are the first team to ten wins at 10-1, but they have allowed 71 points to two teams with a combined record of 7-14. (One of those teams has, of course, not yet played its 11th game.) Can a team predicated on an elite of elite passing attack and little else win a title, even in a computer league? They always play first because they are a lot of fun to play.

This is not fantasy football where someone drafts players and then their team result is based on how those players play in a given week. This is also not a video game. Games are played with the teams using the game program/engine; I call the offensive plays for both teams and the computer makes the defensive calls for both teams. A radio type of description for each play appears on the computer screen.

I started playing statistics-based table top sports games when I was 12. It would be hard to conclude that was a waste of time given my eventual real-life career as a pioneer of the application of analytics to sports, a father of Moneyball and author of a sports book that The Wall Street Journal called without a doubt the best book of its kind ever written. Obviously, I still enjoy playing these games much as some people enjoy card games or Monopoly for most of their lives.


Moving to real football, the Nebraska-Northwestern game was watched by 4.4 million people on Saturday. That is twice the average of Nebraska’s per game TV audience from 2021. ESPN and Major League Baseball were ecstatic at the audience for last year’s American League Wild Card game between longtime bitter rivals the New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox. How many people watched that game? 4.8 million. In case you don’t know, that’s essentially a one-game playoff where the winner keeps playing for a shot at the World Series and the loser is eliminated.

The recent Detroit-Pittsburgh NFL preseason game (the NFL doesn’t want them called exhibition games) had a larger audience than any of the regular season NBA games broadcast last Christmas when, supposedly, they have a captive audience. The first round of the NFL Draft was viewed by about 10 million people this past April. That was a large decline from the audience of 15 million in 2020. In 2022, what was the average number of viewers for NBA first-round playoff games? 3.5 million…

There’s a reason why the NFL and its teams will receive $113 Billion in national media rights over the next 11 years, ratings. The primary, but not only, reason the Big Ten Conference just made a TV deal that will pay it $1 Billion a year for seven years is Big Ten football. Nothing comes close to football in sports popularity.

I think one reason why football is so popular is that each game is very important. NFL teams play 17 games in the regular season; college teams play 12. There are 162 games per team in a baseball season and 82 per team in an NBA season. With the fierce competition for eyeballs and the declining attention spans of the population, the significance of each game drives TV traffic.


These words are by Steve Szymanski, an automotive builder and fabricator, via Philip Maynard, long-time reader and commenter on this blog and–in the interest of full disclosure–a relative.


“Vehicles are not commodities, but rather consumable goods. They wear out, and auto manufacturers make more money selling new cars than providing repair parts. The push for EV is a godsend for the automakers. Makes them much more like cell phones, in that you will want the latest tech gadgets as the older vehicles become obsolete.

The battery issue is a feature, not a bug in this instance. There is no mass recycling program for the batteries, at this time anyway. And with copyright protections on software, your “right to repair” has ended. “Closed hood” is the norm now. Joe Six-Pack has no chance to rebuild, and those that try to circumvent the protocols get blocked. The software is not updateable and will be about as useful as a 10 year old cell phone.

GM has lead the way with in-vehicle purchases with their on-board navigation maps. You have to pay $90 a year to get the “updated” maps, On Star is at least a service with some side benefit, but to gain functionality, you have to pay monthly. Recently BMW upped the game, want your heated seats to work? You will have to pay a monthly fee for that.

Expect more of this. A lot more.”


I think that the push “to go green” by people on a certain part of the political spectrum has less to do with environmental concerns than to do with the old socialist/communist agenda of redistributing wealth and income: from rich nations to poor nations, from rich people to poor people.

In the same vein, I think the car companies are diving head-first and blindly into the EV pool because, in large part, they see more certain streams of recurring income. On somewhat of a tangent: Volvo is advertising their new line of EVs and the ads draw much attention to Google being pre-loaded. Sorry, I don’t want the Evil Empire knowing every detail of my driving.

Some even more cynical than I think the push to EVs is the first step in either the constant monitoring of driving by government or the eventual elimination of privately owned vehicles. Even if those scenarios eventually manifest, I won’t be alive to see them. For the nth to the n time: EVs are not the answer and they are certainly not the only answer. Although I’m not the only voice in this chorus, it wouldn’t bother me if I were a lone voice in the wilderness.

Give me one of these every day and twice on Sunday instead of any EV:



By the way, I think that’s one of the greatest front three-quarter shots of any car ever.







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Lost Wednesday

I don’t want to live in the past (which can’t be changed, anyway), but I don’t really like the glimpses of the future I see. Of course, and for the nth to the n time, history is replete with examples of the folly of human beings trying to predict the future.


Well, the Z06 saga continues. Last week, the person in charge of the job informed me the parts needed to complete the work were scheduled to arrive this week. Of course, that is not to be. Yesterday, I was informed the parts will not be delivered until the last week of August.

Can you blame me for wanting to wash my hands of the whole thing and get rid of the Z06? I keep thinking about this car.


See the source image


This CNBC article is about the 12 least affordable housing markets in the US. A company called RealtyHop compiled the list based on median household income in each market, median for-sale prices and local property taxes. To encourage you to read the entire article, I am only going to list the five least affordable markets.


1. Miami

2. Los Angeles

3. New York

4. Newark, New Jersey

5. Hialeah, Florida


Yes, the median home price is higher in Los Angeles and New York than in Miami, but so is median income. In all three of those markets, the share of income needed to cover housing expenses exceeds 80% according to RealtyHop. Talk about being house poor.

Phoenix was not one of the 12 least affordable housing markets despite the recent boom in prices, although the market here is softening as I suspect it is in most of the country. Of course, it wasn’t that long ago that the 30-year fixed mortgage rate averaged about 3%. Now, it is closer to 5.5%. By the way, even the latter figure is not high by historical standards, but people born after 1985-1990 have no clue. Talk about temporal arrogance.


This post from Pro Football Talk reports that the TV ratings for a recent NFL preseason game (Seahawks-Steelers) were better than the ratings for a baseball regular season game (Yankees-Red Sox or Mariners-Rangers). Oh, the football game was televised on NFL Network which is in many fewer homes (40 million fewer, to be exact) than Fox, the network that broadcast the baseball game.

Professional football is, by far, the most popular sport in the US and college football is second. While I am not mentally salivating, I am looking forward to the return of meaningful football games on TV.








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A Horse With No Name

On the way back from a breakfast run to McDonald’s yesterday, the song “A Horse With No Name” by America was played on the terrestrial radio station we listen to since we let the Sirius/XM subscription lapse in the Cadillac. I was transfixed and transported back to 1972, the year the song was released. I guess I had forgotten how much I liked the song.

Those with nothing better to do have gone out of their way to criticize the lyrics as being both simplistic and drug-induced. While the band members deny the latter accusation, the lyrics are a bit strange in part, I admit. Still, “A Horse With No Name” was one of the songs that brought me back to music. (Actually, some US radio stations would not play the song because “Horse” is/was a slang term for heroin.)

Even spending 89 or 99 cents for a 45 was not easy for me in those days. However, I waited so long to buy “A Horse With No Name” that it was no longer available in local record stores when I finally decided to buy it. America’s next 45/single, “I Need You,” had already been released. He who hesitates is lost? I wound up buying their first album since “A Horse With No Name” was on it. I’m pretty sure I had to ask my father for a couple of dollars to augment my meager assets so I could buy the album. It was one of the first five albums I ever purchased.

Even though I have the song on a CD somewhere, I spent the $1.29 to buy it from iTunes this morning. After I finished typing the last sentence, I started playing the song on my iPhone. I have to admit to getting a little choked up while listening to it.

“O, call back yesterday, bid time return.”

– Shakespeare


The first round of the NFL Draft was watched by 12.5 million people last Thursday. While that’s less than the nearly 16 million who watched the first round last year, this year’s first round had more viewers than the Oscars, more viewers than any game of last year’s NBA Finals, and more viewers than five of the six games of last year’s World Series. Oh, speaking of football, I have not yet decided if I am going to buy the most recent edition of the computer football game I have mentioned. Anyway, no one should doubt that the NFL is the emperor of American sports.


One other thing my wonderful wife and I did yesterday was to go shopping at an antique store for the first time in over a year. We wore masks the entire time in the store and, happily, can report that virtually everyone else was doing the same.

Yesterday’s experience was like many we’ve had. I like going to these places, but not as much as my wonderful wife. I usually become antsy and want to leave before she does. However, just before I went outside I found these:



If I hadn’t already mentally prepared myself to leave, I probably would have purchased many more of these than I did. As is often the case, I wound up spending more in the store than my wonderful wife, even though these were sold for 20% off the listed price. The DeSoto ad showing the front of a 1942 model along with military equipment really makes me want one of those cars. The ad for the 1911 Packard does indeed show the famous slogan, “Ask The Man Who Owns One.”

We will return to that store and I will almost certainly buy more automobile ads. Who knows? I may even buy some for cars that are not defunct.







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