Mishmosh Monday

For the first Disaffected Musings post with this title…thanks to those of you who read the blog yesterday. Usually, the first day I post after a multiple day break does not see a large number of views and visitors. Add in the fact that yesterday was a holiday and an NFL Sunday and I would have expected little activity. I was pleasantly surprised. Once again, please feel free to tell friends about this blog and to pass along the URL, to click on any or all of the Related Posts, to submit thoughtful comments and to click on any ad in which you have genuine interest. Thanks again.



Yesterday’s weather that created the opportunity for a photo like this probably also triggered the worst Meniere’s Disease “flare” I have had in years. Beginning with a very loud ringing, my right ear felt like it was underwater and I was basically deaf in that ear for a couple of hours. I also became a bit queasy.

I took 50 mg of Meclizine and, after about an hour, I felt much better. I think the underlying stress caused by our efforts to buy the “Goose Bumps” house was also a factor in the flare-up. We now have only about four weeks to negotiate an accepted offer for our current house. That’s rather difficult as we have no offers at all and have had very little traffic. Trying to be as objective as I can, I think the probability that we are successful is only about 20 percent.


I’ve been meaning to share this piece for awhile. Charlie Munger, Vice-Chairman of Warren Buffett’s company Berkshire Hathaway, states his belief that the world is not driven by greed, but by envy. (By the way, Munger turned 99 yesterday.)

Munger remarked, “I have conquered envy in my own life. I don’t envy anybody. I don’t give a damn what someone else has. But other people are driven crazy by it.” I have often written about my strong belief that being resentful and envious of people who are wealthier than you is not a sound basis for public policy. The FACT that 80 percent of American millionaires are first-generation millionaires who did NOT inherit their wealth is never reported in the mainstream media. As Huxley wrote, “Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored.”


If you’re reading this blog then you will probably enjoy this article from Hagerty authored by none other than Jay Leno. Here is how the piece begins: “The thing I like about my taste in cars is that I have no idea what it is. Really, if I had to define it, I would say I like to buy a good story more than I like to buy a particular vehicle.” He then writes about two particular car purchases and how the story “made” him buy those cars. Of course, it doesn’t hurt to have Leno’s net worth, but it’s hard to say he didn’t earn it. Here is the photo at the top of the story.



This Why Evolution Is True post is titled, “More debunked or questioned psychological studies.” The reference that really caught my eye was this, ““Expertise attained after 10,000 hours practice” (Gladwell). Disowned by the supposed proponents.”

Malcolm Gladwell wrote a book (Outliers) in which he purports to give evidence that superior achievement is basically just the result of lots of practice. Here is an excerpt from a piece by Dr. K Anders Ericsson, “In one of my first publications on expert performance I reviewed the compelling evidence for the absence of training effects on height and body size. [emphasis mine] I concluded that in many sports elite athletes are either systematically taller or shorter than the general population and these differences in height were virtually completely determined by genetic factors.”

I know people, and I’m sure you do too, who could have 10,000, 20,000 hours of training in say, Einstein’s Theory of Relativity, and not be able to explain it any better than before they started. Once again, it’s nature AND nurture. Some people have a pathological need to engage in excessive distillation of reality. That need doesn’t mean those people are correct. The world is more complex than many people want to acknowledge.









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Separation Anxiety

See the source image


What do I and the lovely Katie Leclerc (“Switched At Birth”) have in common? Of what relevance is it to today’s post?

My wonderful wife and her father are leaving today on a cruise to Alaska. I am not looking forward to her being away for a week-plus. So, why am I not joining them?

Like Katie Leclerc, I have Meniere’s Disease. For me that means I cannot travel by ship. (I also cannot ride on a roller coaster or ferris wheel, but neither of them would appeal to me even without the Meniere’s.)

I was diagnosed with the condition in early 2009, if I remember correctly. It seems apparent, in retrospect, that my marvelous mom suffered from it as well.

Meniere’s Disease is a disorder of the inner ear that can cause dizziness/vertigo, hearing loss, ringing in the ear (tinnitus) and aural fullness, a feeling of pressure in the ear. I have experienced all of those symptoms.

I once had a vertigo attack severe enough so that I had to be taken to the hospital in an ambulance. After returning from a trip that included flying I was deaf in my right ear for three days. Thankfully, the extreme symptoms seem to have faded. Still, I can’t be too careful and have to avoid activities that might trigger an acute flare.

Like living with diabetes, Meniere’s is simply a part of my life. I always have an ample supply of meclizine in the house and when my ear is bothering me and I feel a little dizzy I often chew two tablets (50 mg, in total).

Meniere’s is not well understood by medical professionals. At present, no cure exists although symptomatic relief is available, as I wrote. For example, I used to have a prescription for diazepam (Valium) because that would short-circuit vertigo attacks. Maybe I need to find an ENT here to supervise my care.

OK, that’s probably TMI for many of you. Of course, I will often find a reason to show a picture of a beautiful woman. 🙂


This CNBC article is about someone who was able to retire early. Part of the title reads, “Early retiree credits his $1 million net worth to these 7 ‘unpopular opinions.'”

Two of these opinions resonate with me although one of them actually doesn’t apply to my life. The first is “Most Millionaires Are Self-Made.” Surveys (like one cited in the piece) show that most Americans think millionaires inherited their money. That is absolutely FALSE. In actuality, about 80% of American millionaires (that Pareto guy was very smart) are first-generation millionaires, meaning they did not inherit their fortune.

This large disconnect from reality is very dangerous for just about everybody, not just wealthy people. Government policies designed to “redistribute” wealth will hamper economic growth, which would negatively affect almost everyone.

The second “resonating” opinion is “Your passion won’t pay the bills.” Of course, it might as it did for me while I spent 20+ years working in major league baseball. Still, and from the CNBC article,


“Rich celebrities will often tell you that they achieved success by following their passions. But that doesn’t work for everyone.

It’s easier for most of us to earn a living through our strengths than through our passions. Our passions tend to be more creative, and it’s usually harder to earn a high salary in a creative field.

My hobby was photography, but I chose a career in software development because it was what I was good at. The salary difference between those two career paths is drastically different.

Now, as an early retiree, I’m actually able to enjoy and spend more time on my passions.”


I think the lesson is always have a Plan B. I have a graduate degree in Economics and worked in that field before I broke into baseball. If my hometown baseball team had called my bluff I almost certainly could have found a job as an economist in the public or private sector. It’s easy to say in retrospect that I would not have been as happy, but if I had never worked in baseball I would have never had a frame of reference to know. Life is a Monte Carlo simulation. I am certain that if it were possible for a person to live their life 50 times, it would not turn out the same way in all of them and that it would have many different outcomes.



This remains as close as I can get to the Z06. In all honesty, sometimes I forget that I still own it. Except for a two-week period, I have not been able to drive the car since mid-April and it has been away from our garage during that time.

I must admit that over the last four months, the Z06 has–in many ways—morphed from an object of affection into a demon ogre. Much of me never wants to see the car in our garage again. Is that a case of cutting off my nose to spite my face? I don’t think so, but I’m only human.








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12 Teams

First…Tuesday evening I had a disturbing medical “event.” I got up from my chair in the bonus room to look through the window to get a better view of the amazing and indescribable colors of an Arizona sunset. While standing at the window, I think I may have moved my head just 20 degrees or so to get a different view and, all of a sudden, I felt as if I took even one step I would fall down.

My wonderful wife helped me back to my chair. I did not feel even close to normal, whatever that is, until Thursday. (Of course, today I am dealing with another physical issue. I know it is said that it beats the alternative, but growing older can be most unpleasant.)

I have Meniere’s Disease, a poorly-understood condition of the inner ear that affects balance and hearing. While the acute stage of the “illness”–with full-blown “Code Red” vertigo attacks, intense ringing in the ear (enough so that the musical note C doesn’t sound like a C in that ear) and an intense feeling of fullness in the ear–has, thankfully, passed, the condition never goes away. Add that to the normal changes that occur with aging and I guess that can be an explanation for what happened Tuesday. It was a most frightening experience in the moment, however.

Second…the days of almost daily posting may be over. Readership has dropped dramatically in June, even accounting for no posts on 5 of the first 17 days of the month. I realize that posting less will cost me even more readers, but I think it’s time to begin to transition to the day when WordPress removes the Classic Editor option altogether and I stop posting, period.


OK, the post title “12 Teams” refers to the revelation that the NCAA, less than ten years after adopting it, is seriously considering expanding the College Football Playoff (CFP) for Division I schools (sorry, I’m never going to call them FBS) from 4 to 12 teams.

This is the same organization that dragged its heels for years before instituting a playoff, foisting the ill-conceived BCS “system” on college football fans for 16 seasons from 1998 through 2013, inclusive. In my book on the greatest NFL teams of all time, the one The Wall Street Journal called without a doubt the best book of its kind ever written, I wrote that BCS stood for Bullshit Concoction System. I have also heard the humorous line that NCAA stands for Never Concede Authority Anytime. Just wait until the 12-team playoff brings billions in additional revenue to college football and players will have to get paid, finally.

I am serious when I write that I am convinced part of the motivation for expanding the playoffs is to make sure Notre Dame is in virtually every year, whether they deserve it or not. By the way, when was the last time “The Fighting Irish” actually won the “National Championship?” To me, Notre Dame is/are the Dallas Cowboys of NCAA football, incessantly hyped for no reason. By the way, the answer to the question is 1988, I believe. Oh, the Dallas Cowpokes have not won a Super Bowl since the 1995 NFL season and have also not even appeared in a conference championship game since then. America’s Team, my ass!

Even now, many college athletic directors are still worried about bowl games. I think the bowls are an anachronism and that will be even more true with a 12-team playoff. Only in this country, motivated by greed on one hand and political correctness on the other, can a 6-6 team be rewarded with a bowl game. One year, my “favorite” college team, Nebraska, was invited to play in a bowl despite a 5-7 record. They won their bowl, so they were a bowl-winning team with a losing record of 6-7.

I like the idea of playoff expansion and it seems as though it will really happen before too much longer. (Now if they would only get rid of their AWFUL overtime system.) Of course, I have neglected to mention that the numbing sameness of Alabama, Clemson and Ohio State having appeared in the four-team CFP virtually every season since its inception is very bad for interest in the sport, even if mini-dynasties have almost always been a part of college football. I am not exaggerating, by the way. Alabama has been in the playoff six of seven years and so has Clemson. Ohio State has been in four of seven years.

Notre Dame has been in the CFP twice although last year’s appearance was a result of “Golden Dome Blindness.” How have they done? After the 2018 season they lost to Clemson 30-3; after last season they lost to Alabama 31-14, a game in which Alabama averaged eight yards per play compared to 4.7 for Notre Dame. By the way, in this century the Golden Domers have played in six major bowls or BCS/CFP games. What is their record? 0-6 and the average score of these games was 37-15 with no margin smaller than 14 points.

If any of you are still reading and are college football fans I would like to read your views on playoff expansion.


One good thing about an irregular posting schedule is that the post length can vary, also…


This Road and Track article titled, “Why Does Every New Car Look Like Every Other New Car?” really spoke to me. I highly recommend it; here is the Readers Digest version:


Global Consolidation

Fuel Economy


People’s Thirst For Giant, Stupid Grilles

You, meaning the consumer who insists on the features that lead to the sameness


Here is a picture of a car, that of course is no longer being produced, that didn’t look like anything else on the road.


See the source image


From newcars.com a picture of an Alfa Romeo 4C, produced from 2013 to 2020. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but at least your eye would notice this car. From the aforementioned article,


“Maybe it’s a Bimmer,” I said to the dog. “It kinda looks like one.”

It wasn’t. It was a Hyundai Santa Fe, which kinda resembles the Acura RDX, which kinda resembles the Volvo XC60, which kinda resembles the BMW X3.


Maybe one benefit of the eventual move to EVs is that styling can become more varied, maybe not…Have a good weekend.








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Tuesday Tales Out Of Turn

With the “benefit” of hindsight it is apparent that my marvelous mom suffered from Meniere’s Disease as I do. That illness can create horrible vertigo attacks. While I have not had a code-red vertigo attack since I stopped working full-time (no coincidence) I do, on occasion, have dizziness. This morning I had such dizziness and my wonderful wife brought me Meclizine. After 15-20 minutes, the dizziness subsided.

Those who scoff at modern medicine (and there are many people who do so) fail to realize one fact. A person born in the US in 1900 had a life expectancy of 40 years. Today, even with Americans using too many drugs, too many guns, not exercising and not eating properly, US life expectancy is basically twice that number. The only two developments that explain the change are modern sanitation and modern medicine. My wonderful wife’s mother is alive today (and kickin’) because of modern medicine.

Oh, forgot to mention that there were almost no people aged 100+ in the US in 1900. Today, about 75,000 people are 100+ years old.


On the left is my 1998 National League Championship ring and on the right is my 2008 American League Championship ring. Shortly after the Rays lost in the World Series a friend of mine said, “Well, you’ll have to wait until 2018 for your World Series Championship ring.” That’s what I would call excessive extrapolation from an insignificant sample.

Two years after the Rays played in the World Series I was basically out of baseball. When they called to let me know they would not be renewing my contract (the call was on Friday, October 15, 2010) they offered to make recommendations to other teams. My response? “The fact that you’re not renewing my services will speak much more loudly than any recommendation.”

NO ONE will ever be able to convince me that I deserved to lose my seat at the table. NO ONE who knows me well thinks I’m obsolete. A World Series ring? If baseball’s “Golden Boy”—for whom I was a mentor and influence—were a mensch and not a taker he might have ordered such a ring for me as a token of appreciation. In one of my favorite movies, Midnight Run, Charles Grodin’s character says, “There’s good and bad everywhere.” To which Robert DeNiro’s character replies, “There’s bad everywhere. Good I don’t know about.”


I believe I have written that if you read this blog you should read the comments. In the comments for C8, Wait! Steve Dallas offered the expert opinion that the 12-volt electrical systems used in cars today—and, I might add, that have basically been used since the 1950s—are no longer adequate for powering all of the devices used in automobiles. Some have described modern cars as nothing more than computers with wheels.

Well, this article from CorvetteBlogger.com asks if the C8 is going to have a 48-volt system. More from that article:


“Since the 1950s most vehicles have operated with a 12V electrical system and battery which provided plenty of starting power for most vehicles. Today’s vehicles are more power-hungry and ‘more juice’ is needed to start and run the new electronic systems as manufacturers have replaced previous mechanical-driven components with more efficient electrical-powered components including power steering racks, electric brake vacuum pumps and electric water pumps to name a few. Then you have all the new infotainment options as well as creature comforts like heated or cooled seats, lane departure warnings, and even adaptive cruise control systems that need to be powered as well, and you can see how a 12-volt system could be in danger of being maxed out.

The alternative to the 12V system that most automakers are going with are 48V systems which provide more than enough electrical power through the system. Not only does a 48V system have the juice to handle the new electronics, but they can also offer the ability for more performance and fuel economy savings. In fact, 48V systems are described as ‘mild hybrids’ because the alternator is replaced with an electric generator to provide the additional electrical power. As more of the mechanical components can be converted to electric systems, that means less parasitic power loss to engines which improves fuel economy, reduces emissions and increases power.

One article we read touts Audi as using a 48V system in conjunction with an electrically powered supercharger which boosts power at low engine speeds without the lag of an exhaust-driven turbo is known for, while a lithium-ion battery in the trunk recaptures energy from regenerative braking. When the ZR1 first came out, we learned the massive supercharger draws about 100 horsepower from the engine. Think about the power that could be gained if more mechanical systems could be off-loaded to an electrical power system.”


While it is now too late in the life cycle of the internal combustion engine for this to happen, I have often wondered why valves weren’t actuated electronically instead of through cumbersome and power-robbing chains and gears. Lift and duration could be changed with the touch of a button and one wouldn’t have to slog through the ordeal of changing the timing gear and chain and then hope that everything is back to top dead center.

I hope the issues that are delaying the C8 Corvette are resolved swiftly and completely. In the meantime, a gratuitous picture of a Corvette of my favorite vintage:



From supercars.net a picture of a 1967 Corvette that is obviously a convertible and, just as obviously, is not “wearing” the auxiliary hardtop.





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