Is It Mud Or Quicksand?

For the second time in a month I was informed that my primary email address has been compromised including the exposure of the account password. Not that authorities could ever find the culprit(s), but how about cutting off the hands of people who do such things? You think I’m kidding?

Anyway, these incidents are just more straws in the basket on the camel’s back. I’m not sure if I’m in mud or quicksand.


On this day in 1920 all-time baseball great Stan Musial was born in Donora, Pennsylvania.

On this day in 1969 all-time baseball great Ken Griffey, Jr. was born in Donora, Pennsylvania. (Happy 50th!)

OK, so it’s just a coincidence, but it’s still weird. In 1920, Donora had a population of about 14,000; in 1970 its population was about 9,000. It also makes me feel VERY old that Ken Griffey, Jr. has turned 50. I was working for the Orioles when Griffey debuted for the Mariners on Opening Day, 1989 as a teenager with just 17 games above Class A. Sometimes a much-heralded prospect lives up to the hype.

Griffey was the first player selected in baseball’s draft of amateur players in 1987. The second player selected was Mark Merchant. He was drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates; Donora is just 20 miles from Pittsburgh. Merchant never played in the major leagues. I have no idea if the Mariners ever considered selecting Merchant with the first pick.

With the 958th pick in the 1987 draft (in the 39th round) the Mariners selected Todd Haney, who played in more than 100 games in the majors over five seasons. I don’t know if it’s still true, but the baseball amateur draft had/has a long history of being a crapshoot.


More on beauty and its subjective nature…this article in Automobile Magazine purports to show the best-looking convertibles one can buy for the 2020 model year. Here is the list along with the prices of the cars, some pictures later:


Bentley Continental GT Convertible,  Price: $221,075

BMW M8 Convertible,  Price: $157,495

Chevrolet Corvette C8 Convertible,  Price: $67,495

Ferrari F8 Spider,  Price: $300,000 (est)

Ford Mustang GT Premium Convertible,  Price: $45,850

Jaguar F-Type SVR Convertible,  Price: $127,725

Lamborghini Huracán Evo Spyder,  Price: $287,400

Mazda Miata,  Price: $28,000

McLaren 720S Spider,  Price: $315,000

Mercedes-AMG GT R Roadster,  Price: $190,745

Porsche 718 Boxster S,  Price: $72,650

Rolls-Royce Dawn,  Price: $373,695


The average price of these cars is about $182,000; the median price is about $174,000. Almost all of these cars have gobs of horsepower and torque. The average HP/Torque output is 534 HP/471 LB-FT. As much as I love the Corvette, from CarBuzz a picture of the performance/dollar king of the group, the 2020 Ford Mustang GT Premium:


See the source image


The Mustang GT Premium engine is a 5-liter V-8 producing 460 HP/420 LB-FT of torque for about $46,000. The “worst” bang for the buck is not the Miata; it’s this car:


See the source image


From a picture of the 2020 Rolls-Royce Dawn. Of course, I doubt potential Rolls-Royce buyers care about the ratio of horsepower and torque per dollar. I’m sure very, very few car buyers, regardless of make, explicitly calculate horsepower and torque per dollar.








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Thanksgiving Eve

I don’t recall anyone actually using the term “Thanksgiving Eve” to describe the day before Thanksgiving. Sounds OK to me…

The slide in the equity markets has me worried. I believe Jim Cramer of CNBC is right when he says that the Fed’s seeming intransigence regarding rate hikes and the US/China trade situation are combining to slow earnings growth and to reduce confidence. Whether I am lucky or just experienced, I liquidated a decent amount of our equity holdings on Wednesday, October 3, the day before the slide started. Of course in hindsight I wish I had sold a little more.


Happy 49th Birthday to Ken Griffey, Jr…can he really be 49?! Did you know that Griffey and all-time great Stan Musial were both born on November 21 in Donora, Pennsylvania?

When I worked for the San Diego Padres we shared a spring training facility with the Seattle Mariners, Griffey’s team for most of his career. I remember one day when none of the star players wanted to travel to Tucson for the “A” game, most of the players stayed behind in Peoria to play a scheduled “B” game on a side field at the facility. Kids just pestered Griffey for his autograph all day (this was before we all had cameras in our pockets) and he graciously signed every one.


Do any of you care about the Carlos Ghosn (pronounced Goan) story? He is the Chairman of the Nissan/Renault/Mitsubishi alliance who was recently arrested for “financial misconduct” including under-reporting his income to tax authorities. Repeat after me: all human beings are flawed. Repeat after me: power corrupts.

For what it’s worth I think almost all Nissan vehicles are boring. Of course, my tastes are much different than those of the vast majority of the vehicle-buying public.


Was this the real first muscle car?

From a picture of a 1962 Chevrolet Chevy II Nova. Yes, most car “experts” believe that the Pontiac GTO, introduced in 1964, was the first muscle car. Given my first car was a 1967 GTO I have no innate desire to defrock the car. However, I believe in facts above all else.

According to standard catalog of American Cars 1946-1975 by John Gunnell (once again, standard catalog is in lower case) from their introduction in 1962 (as a response to the very popular Ford Falcon compact car), the Chevy II was available—although apparently dealer-installed at first as opposed to factory-installed—with either a 283 cubic-inch or 327 cubic-inch V-8 with outputs up to 360 HP. In Encyclopedia of American Cars by the Auto Editors of Consumer Guide® no 360 HP V-8 is shown as being available for any Chevrolet except the Corvette. However, that book shows a 327 V-8 AND a 409 V-8 as optional engines for all Chevrolet models.

Anyway, imagine a 327 cubic-inch V-8 with 300 HP/360 LB-FT of torque in a 2,600 pound car like the 1962 Chevy II. That sounds like a muscle car to me. Perhaps the technicality of only being available as a dealer-installed option “disqualifies” the car, but still…

What do you think? By the way, I have now posted 50 of the last 51 days. It is 50-50 that I post tomorrow (Thanksgiving). Happy Thanksgiving to all!