Monday Musings, 2019 Veterans Day Edition

First, I offer thoughts of gratitude to all of those who have served and are serving in the US armed forces. I also want to note the sacrifice of the nearly 1.4 million who lost their lives in the service of this country.

Please remember that those who are serving today have chosen to do so.


Second, this would/should have been Kevin Towers’ 58th birthday. It is difficult to believe that he has been dead for almost two years. Towers was the General Manager for most of my tenure with the San Diego Padres. He always treated me as a friend and valued colleague. A picture I have shown before:



This picture was taken in the visitors clubhouse in Dodger Stadium after the Padres clinched the 1996 NL West Division title. Kevin is the one kneeling; I am one of the other three people.


Speaking of untimely demises, this past weekend I learned that someone with whom I attended graduate school and with whom I remained friends until about ten years ago passed away in the summer of 2018 before his 59th birthday. We didn’t have a falling out, we just drifted apart, which happens probably more often than is good for us.

I think one reason I have lost so much interest in sports is that as I hear the clock ticking I have come to believe that it is the actions of my wonderful wife and me that matter, not those of people I don’t know who happen to be wearing a certain uniform.


On this day in 1989 Jaguar became a subsidiary of Ford Motor Company. Ford’s ownership of Jaguar—and Aston Martin and Land Rover—was not long as they sold Aston Martin in 2007 and Jaguar and Land Rover in 2008.

Ford expanded Jaguar’s product line, introducing the S-Type in 1999 and the X-Type in 2001. James May, of Top Gear and The Grand Tour fame, criticized the S-Type, saying he thought the car was designed to appeal more to the American and German markets than the UK, and that the car, “…sums up everything that is wrong with Jaguar.”

In what can only be described as ironic, Jaguar and Land Rover, two ultimate British icons, are now owned by Tata Motors of India.

For me this photo represents the most interesting Jaguar to me during the Ford period:


See the source image


From a picture of a Jaguar XKR coupe, a 2003 model as it turns out. The “R” in the model name means the engine is supercharged, which pushed the output of the 4.2 liter V-8 to 390 HP/399 LB-FT of torque. The transmission was a 6-speed automatic. By the way, if you’re willing to roll the dice on a model with some mileage (>50,000), these cars can be purchased for less than $15,000.

For me, every two-door Jaguar looks good. Strictly in terms of exterior design I don’t think any two makes have a better history than Jaguar and Aston Martin.








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I want to express my gratitude to all of those who have served in the US armed forces. Of course today is Veteran’s Day in the US. I believe it’s still called Armistice Day or Remembrance Day in parts of Europe. On this day in 1918, 100 years ago exactly, the Great War—later known as World War I, of course—ended.


If he had lived today would have been Kevin Towers’ 57th birthday. I worked with Kevin as a member of the San Diego Padres’ Baseball Operations staff. As I wrote in one of my first posts onĀ Disaffected Musings the day after he died in late January of this year, although I was “foisted” upon him at first he always treated me as a friend and with respect. In that earlier post I showed this picture:

That picture was taken in the visitors clubhouse in Los Angeles after the Padres clinched the 1996 NL Western Division title. Kevin is the one kneeling in front and I am one of the other three people. So long ago and yet still fresh in memory.

When baseball’s “golden boy” was named to his first General Manager position he gave an interview to that city’s famous newspaper. In that interview he named Kevin as one of the two people who had most influenced the way he thought about baseball. The other person was yours truly.


Many thanks to regular readers Charley Walters and Steve Dallas for sending emails to me with words of praise for this blog. As the late, great Saul Bellow once wrote, “We have a word for everything except for what we really think and feel.” Despite the inadequacy of words (kind of an odd thing for a blogger to write, I guess) I want to express my gratitude for their emails and for all regular readers of this blog. Disaffected Musings is very important to me and I am very proud of this blog. Even with the recent surge in readers I still wish many more people were reading.


Days like today make many of us of “middle age” wax nostalgic about the past. I have written about and posted pictures of this car before, but one more time won’t hurt.

See the source image

From a picture of a 1956 Buick Century with a great view of the front of the car. The first car I ever drove was a 1956 Buick Century that my father purchased in 1961, I believe. About 21,000 of this model were produced in 1956. The weight was about 4,200 pounds. The car seemed heavier; so much so, in fact, that our nickname for the car was “The Tank.” The MSRP of the car when new was about $3,300.

The Century was powered by Buick’s Fireball V-8 of 322 cubic inch displacement that produced 255 HP/341 LB-FT of torque. The transmission was Buick’s famous (or infamous depending on your perspective) Dynaflow automatic. It was called the Dyna-Slush by detractors, but was praised for its smoothness by its supporters.

As I have written before, from time to time I scratch my itch to look for a ’56 Century for sale online. I look through the ads, of which there are usually not many, and have to take a deep breath before the urge to buy one passes. One day, though, the breath might no longer work.





Goodbye, KT

Kevin Towers, former General Manager of the San Diego Padres and the Arizona Diamondbacks, died yesterday at the age of 56 after a year-long battle with cancer. (Cancer sucks.) I worked with Kevin for four-plus years and, even though I was “foisted” upon him at first, he always treated me as a friend and valued colleague. Although I had known since last March that he was ill, the news of his passing is still quite sad.

The person kneeling front and center is Kevin Towers. One of the other three people in the photo is me. This picture was taken in the visitors clubhouse at Dodger Stadium after the Padres had clinched the 1996 NL West title.

98 Ring


This is a picture of my 1998 National League Championship ring. Kevin was the General Manager of that team.

Thanks and farewell, KT.