Long Way ‘Round

On this day in 2011 I began working for a very large financial services firm. It was my first real post-baseball job; I hated it. (Just before I accepted this position I worked for four days at a local car dealership training to be a salesman.)

I worked at that place for 288 calendar days. If it hadn’t been for the fact that my wonderful wife also worked there and that we commuted and ate lunch together, I don’t know if I could have lasted for 28 days.

For me, the work was tedious. I did work for the company group that provided service for wealthy clients. That fact didn’t make the job easier. Much of the time I found myself ordering new debit cards for the spoiled children of the wealthy or contacting company admins that their bosses had overdrawn their checking accounts.

What made the job more difficult for me was that I did not have a good supervisor. He was the ultimate company man and did not tolerate anyone who didn’t blindly drink the company Kool-Aid, which described me to a tee.

A ray of light seemed to appear about four or five months into my tenure. The woman who was the Managing Director of the group called to speak to me. (She worked in another city.) Of course, I was a bit anxious about her call as she had never called just to speak to me.

She said that she had just finished reading Moneyball by Michael Lewis and had noticed I was mentioned in the book. She asked if I could apply analytics to issues at the company, the first of which was whether or not data could be used to better predict how a potential employee would fare in a position with the “Wealthy Clients” group. I said, of course, that it was an empirical question but that I would very much like to be involved with a project like that.

After participating in two or three conference calls about this project over a two-month period I emailed the Managing Director and said that I was ready to get data and to move the project forward. Her response was basically, “Nothing happens too quickly around here, especially if it’s a new idea.” She asked if I would have interest in becoming an “analyst” as long as I also continued my customer service role. I told her I would think about it (although I already knew the answer) and get back to her. Two days later I emailed her that I would not have interest in a “hybrid” role, that my interest was in data analysis.

Every now and then I would email her and remind her of my interest in the first project and of my desire to move out of customer service. She would always say, “Be patient.” Well, I like to “joke” that I am not a doctor; doctors have patients (a homonym for patience, get it). That “joke” works better verbally than in writing. OK, maybe it doesn’t work at all.

Long way ’round…near the end of my stay with this company, and feeling very frustrated by virtually everything about it and my job, I began blogging as an attempt at catharsis. That blog, to which I have referred on Disaffected Musings, was hosted by the Evil Empire, aka Google.

At first I posted sporadically. More frustrated than ever, especially by the lack of progress with the first data project and my effort to move out of customer service and into analytics, I resigned from the position with the financial services company shortly after I began blogging. Out of the frying pan and into the fire…I found myself in an even worse job, as a data analyst for a boutique law firm that specialized in securities litigation. I lasted at that job for only 116 calendar days. Once again, I had a bad supervisor, a woman who spied on her husband, her children, her employees and treated the latter as if they were first-graders. (She probably treated everyone like that.)

About four years after resigning from the second job I had a particularly difficult conversation with someone very close to me and decided to write about that in the blog; I was still posting although infrequently. The next day while flipping through History of the American Auto by the Auto Editors of Consumer GuideĀ® I saw this picture:



I cannot describe the feeling of joy and contentment that I felt and decided to show this photo in the blog with the post title, “Car Of The Day.” The figurative light bulb appeared and I realized that I would very much enjoy writing about cars. I began posting regularly and continued to do so, on the WordPress platform, after the Evil Empire arbitrarily and cruelly deleted my first blog and its 600+ posts.

While I am hardly a happy camper, the fact that I am no longer spending 40+ hours a week in a job I despise is a good thing. The fact that I cannot find a part-time or consulting role doing something I enjoy is not a good thing, but I strongly suspect that such a place is not in my future. That’s why this blog is important to me.






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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 historics.co.uk 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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