Monday Musings 47

I am aware that I write some things more than once. I have written almost 800 posts in 28 months and cannot remember everything I’ve ever written. However, most of the time that I repeat myself is for effect.

I have written many times that if you’re reading the blog then you should read the comments. I have no way of knowing how many of you are doing so. Below is an exchange of comments between me and photobyjohnbo. By the way, if you like great photography you should check out his blog.

 

photobyjohnbo:

Looks like you hit a chord with people and your comments on technical vs college education. As a lifetime member of the Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE) and a former technical trades editor, you are certainly preaching to this member of the choir.

My favorite question to young people mentioning college is, “Do you know what the NDSU (North Dakota State University) grad says to the NDSCS (North Dakota State College of Science) Grad?”
No.?.?
“Will that be fries with your order, sir?”
NDSCS is one of the state’s major technical colleges. Most people are familiar with the NDSU Bison.

 

My reply:

LOL!

Obviously I have nothing against a college education. I have two degrees and the second one, my graduate degree in Economics, opened a lot of doors for me until it didn’t. However, I fervently maintain that too many people attend college and not enough people learn a skilled trade. I also steadfastly maintain that the misguided government policies that excessively subsidize consumption of “higher education” are the single biggest reason college costs have exploded. As the economist in me knows, an exogenous upward shift in the demand curve of a good or service–in this case due to subsidization–combined with a relatively fixed supply (in large part due to universities seeing themselves as a luxury good) means the only variable that can adjust is price and it can only go straight up.

What’s the solution? I have my own ideas, but in this country of excessive political polarization it is doubtful anything will get done. In fact, it is likely that the only change will result in the situation getting worse as people almost always choose what they think is the path of least resistance and voting themselves a “free” college education fits that definition. Of course, NOTHING is free even if it seems to be free to you.

 

In this country, politicians are far less concerned about quality governance than about getting elected/re-elected. Promising “free” stuff is a great way to make the latter happen, not such a good way for the former. Does anyone else have anything to offer?

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My OCD is really locking in on this car, a Maserati GranTurismo (this one is a 2008 model). I think the Buick-like portholes are playing a large role in that new obsession, perhaps more in my subconscious than conscious mind. The first family car I remember and the first car I ever drove was a 1956 Buick Century.

As our latest setback has pushed the relocation timetable into limbo, the search for a Corvette companion/grocery car has abated. I also realize that we can achieve our goal of a grocery car with style and performance less expensively than buying one of these. All I can say is, Carpe Diem!

 

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Monday Musings 46

I was going to title this post “The Johnny Astro Syndrome.” Dr. Zal and my wonderful wife will understand the reference, but I will have to explain it to the rest of you.

When I was very young I once bought a toy called Johnny Astro. I did not grow up with money so I could not buy toys whenever I wanted. My next-door neighbor, son of the awful neighbor I wrote about here and no prize himself, bought the same toy the same day from the same store. His Johnny Astro worked, mine didn’t.

In my teens I began to refer to all of the “crap gone wrong” in my life as the Johnny Astro Syndrome. Maybe I am just hyper-sensitive to the things that go wrong in life, but it seemed to me as though I could almost never have an experience where everything went smoothly from A to Z. It seemed to me as if other people did enjoy those experiences.

An example: I bought Grover Washington Jr.’s album “Mister Magic.” However, when I opened the package it was actually an album by a group called the Dowlings. No one I knew had ever had that happen to them.

Another example: when we moved into a brand new house in Texas I had DirecTV installed as I had been a subscriber for about four years. I had to have NFL Sunday Ticket. For the first two weeks everything was fine, but then the receiver in the media room would just re-boot itself at random times. Calls to customer service proved futile as the representatives did not believe me when I said I was not re-booting the receiver. Finally after a few weeks, after raising my voice and demanding a supervisor, a tech was sent and fixed the problem, which he said was caused by an improper install. These are just two of what I would swear are hundreds of examples of crap gone wrong.

OK, so why am I writing about this today? I mentioned that I purchased Action! PC Football and was going to open the envelope containing the flash drive with the game. What I haven’t told you is that I paid more money for a flash drive version because the last two years I purchased the game via download it took multiple installs to get the game to work.

Guess what? The flash drive was blank. When I placed it in a USB port my computer displayed a message asking me if I wanted to format the disk, a sign that it was blank. In any event, if I had formatted the flash drive any data on it would have been erased.

I am also writing about this today because this is supposed to be the day I take my 2016 Corvette Z06 to a “speed shop.” This shop is going to perform some intake and exhaust modifications designed to squeeze some more horsepower and torque out of the engine without voiding the powertrain warranty. Can you understand why my primary feeling right now is one of anxiety and not of excitement?

Keeping my fingers crossed, metaphorically and not literally, that my car will be alright.

 

 

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Monday Musings 45

From Carbonhans Blog an article about how GM and Ford have laid out plans to restart their US factories. Steps to protect workers will be a major part of these plans.

 

“Both companies detailed how they would thoroughly clean facilities and allot extra time between work shifts to do so. The automakers said they will also screen employees with questionnaires before they leave for work and temperature checks as they enter a plant or other facilities.”

“Employees who have recently been exposed to someone with the coronavirus or exhibit a high temperature or other Covid-19-related symptoms will be sent to local clinics for testing before they are allowed to return to work.”

“While in factories, employees will work at least six feet apart from one another whenever possible, the companies said. Employee workstations will be separated by clear plastic panels. Workers will also wear surgical-style face masks and clear plastic face shields whenever they’re required to work close to one another.”

 

One question I have is what proportion of these practices will remain in place even after the crisis ends? It actually might be a good idea if most, even all, of the procedures become standard.

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Some humor for this Monday courtesy of this post from Archon’s Den:

 

OMG, I’m rich! Silver in the hair, gold in the teeth, crystals in the kidneys, sugar in the blood, lead in the butt, iron in the arteries, and an inexhaustible supply of natural gas.

I can’t remember how to write 1, 1000, 51, 6, and 500 in Roman numerals.
I’M LIVID

A man went into the library, and asked for a book on Probability.
The librarian replied, “Possibly it’s on that shelf over there.”

I went on a job interview the other day.
The interviewer said, “It says on your resume that you are a man of mystery.”
I replied, “That’s correct.”
He asked, “Would you care to elaborate?”
I said, “No.”

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Many of you are probably tired of reading about the search for a Corvette companion/grocery car after the move to the desert. Well, given the timetable for the move may have been sped up a bit, the search has become a little more real and a little less theoretical.

From Bring A Trailer a picture of the car that has at least moved into a tie with the 2006-07 Chevrolet Monte Carlo SS as the leading contender:

 

See the source image

 

This is a 1995 Jaguar XJS convertible. Other than the somewhat unsightly “roof remnant” with the top down, the car has a great look.

My wonderful wife likes these cars and she doesn’t care which engine; the inline-6 or V-12 are both fine for her. Part of me wants the V-12, but most of me would be fine with the six.

The XJS (or XJ-S) is one of the least respected successful cars in history. Over 115,000 were sold in its 20-plus year production run. However, because it followed the legendary E-Type this was the car that could not win. (Yes, I have written that before. Doesn’t mean it’s any less true.)

These cars are not expensive to acquire. The one shown above was sold for $13,000 ($13,650 all in on Bring A Trailer) in March, 2018. Maintenance? Well, we have some experience as my wonderful wife owned a 2001 Jaguar XK-8 convertible. Once the warranty expired the car seemed to want to fall apart. Our experience, by the way, might “argue” in favor of the less complicated six-cylinder engine.

We are a little wiser, hopefully, and a little more secure financially, hopefully. We could put an amount equal to 50% of the purchase price in an account to cover maintenance that, hopefully, would last more than a few months.

In general, the search has moved to more modern cars. We want a car for which disc brakes and fuel injection were standard, a car that had at least two airbags. I have dreams, but I live in the real world.

 

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Monday Musings, Very Gloomy Day Edition

It is dark for the time of day and raining heavily here. The wind is starting to increase. This area is under a High Wind Warning for most of the day.

Living among many tall trees this is the type of weather that worries me most. In the nearly ten years we’ve lived in this neighborhood, two homes have suffered major damage from falling trees. (This development only has about three dozen homes in total.)

Yes, tall trees are lovely in nice weather and when the leaves are changing. However, they can be very dangerous on a day like this. Repeat after me: NOTHING in life is all good or all bad.

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A picture of me after yesterday’s run, a modest effort of 2.75 miles in 30 minutes. (I excluded my head and face deliberately. I’m not that bad a photographer.) It was about this time of year ten years ago that I had the “Aha” moment about running.

At that time my Primary Care Physician was part of a concierge medicine group. For an annual retainer I had 24/7 access to him and other perks including an “Executive” physical that lasted almost all day. It was April, 2010 when I went in for my annual physical that, of course, included blood work.

The doctor gloomily informed me that my lipids and sugars were not well-controlled despite my taking FIVE prescription medicines a day in order to manage them. He asked me if I exercised and I said I walked on a treadmill, which was not a bald-faced lie, but was not the whole truth, either. Although I did exercise regularly for many years beginning in the 1990s, after my near-fatal infection in 2004, my shoulder surgeries in 2005-6 and the onset of Meniere’s Disease in 2008 I was only walking occasionally.

My doctor, who was a runner, suggested I take up running. When I said I just couldn’t run, he said many people believe that only to find that they can and many of them even begin to enjoy it.

Genuinely concerned by my lab results I began to run on the treadmill that had been used for my walks. At first, I could not even jog for more than 3 or 4 minutes. However, over time my stamina increased and so did the time/speed/distance of my runs. My personal best for time is now 66 minutes.

Ten years in, I am 20 pounds lighter, my lipids and sugars are well-controlled AND I am only taking two prescription meds a day, not five. No diet, no combination of pills, especially over-the-counter, can replace regular, moderate exercise. When it comes to exercise I think most Americans are just lazy. I don’t care if that sounds judgmental.

If a person is 150 pounds overweight, they didn’t get that way overnight. Instead of putting in some time and effort, most Americans seem to want a magic pill, a magic diet, or a magic surgery to lose weight. Magic isn’t real, it’s an illusion.

How much time? How about as little as one percent of your week, about 100 minutes. Please take care of yourselves.

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Speaking of Wheeler Dealers, as in the show referenced on my sweaty T-shirt, one of my two or three favorite episodes featured one of my all-time favorite cars in what has become one of my favorite car colors. From rarecarsforsaleblog.com, a picture of a Honda S2000 in Imola Orange.

 

See the source image

 

Of course, this is far from the first time this car has appeared in Disaffected Musings. The S2000 might be the only car that could get me to reacquaint myself with a traditional manual transmission. All 110,000 of these were equipped with a manual. The lack of an automatic was the main reason the car was excluded from my Ultimate Garage 2.0. I just love these cars, though.

Stay safe and be well.

 

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Last Monday Musings Of 2019

Very, very random post today…

 

From James Madison via 56PackardMan:

“There are more instances of the abridgement of freedom by gradual and silent encroachments of those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations.”

Let me add my 2¢, and not that in any way, shape or form I imagine I am in Madison’s league, but economic freedom is another freedom that must be protected. People have the right to keep most of the fruits of their (legal) labor and their (legal) efforts. Government does not and should not have “dibs” on the wealth of private citizens. It is the ultimate in hypocrisy for people to criticize the “greed” of individual citizens, but encourage greed by government.

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I am not anywhere near as big a fan of the NFL as I used to be. However, it was a most enjoyable weekend of NFL football, made more so by the presence of my best friend, Dr. Zal (not his real name), and his younger daughter, Tog (also not her real name).

My favorite team, the Ravens, completed an amazing season with 12 consecutive wins and secured the #1 seed in their conference for the first time in their 20+ year history, despite two Super Bowl Championships. My other favorite team, the Packers, has a bye and the #2 seed although I really think they’re no better than the fourth best team in their conference.

By the same token, both of my least favorite teams—the Cowboys and the Steelers—failed to earn a spot in the playoffs. Also, while I am not a huge Patriots “hater” I did enjoy their squandering a bye by losing at home to the previously 4-11 Dolphins. In the Belichick/Brady era, the Patriots have never made the Super Bowl in a season in which they did not earn a bye.

One thing that appeals to me about pro sports is that games are won and lost and the outcomes of seasons are determined by objective outcomes, acknowledging the role that officiating plays. Still, a team wins the game by scoring more points than its opponent and not by the basis of a poll or focus group.

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The last Studebaker made on the regular assembly lines in South Bend was a 1964 Daytona hardtop in Red, number 64V-20202. This car is at the Studebaker National Museum in South Bend. I could not find a picture of the car on the SNM website or elsewhere on the Internet, so this picture will have to do:

 

See the source image

 

This pic is from topclassiccarsforsale.com or its successor site, giantclassiccars.com. Neither site is secure (you know, begins with https instead of http) so I will not embed the links here.

My wonderful wife and I, hopefully not getting too ahead of ourselves or damaging our “karma,” are thinking about future trips after she retires. One trip would entail visiting three automobile museums in the same week: the Studebaker museum, the Auburn/Cord/Duesenberg museum and the Gilmore Museum. We could base ourselves in South Bend (as long as the Notre Dame football team isn’t playing a home game, talk about a team of whom I am most assuredly not a fan) and visit all three museums.

Fewer than 36 hours until 2020…

 

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Monday Musings

Ten days until Thanksgiving…

This is the 40th post with the exact title “Monday Musings.” Do any of you get tired of a specific post title or concept? Please let me know.

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I have to report that I don’t miss Twitter. It’s amazing how quickly I went from checking my feed 5-10 times a day to almost not remembering that I was ever on the platform. “Social media” is not for me and, once again, is a phrase that I believe is an oxymoron. Yes, some might say this blog is part of “social media.”

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On this day in 1966, still a few weeks shy of his 31st birthday, Sandy Koufax announced his retirement. When I first became a baseball fan around the age of 8 or 9 Koufax quickly became one of my heroes although he had already retired.

With the modern age of baseball analysis, of which I am a founding “father,” it has become fashionable to discount Koufax’s accomplishments, at least somewhat, because of the fact that Dodger Stadium was an extreme pitchers park during his heyday. Dodger Stadium opened in 1962. In the five seasons that Koufax pitched with that venue as his home park, he had a 57-15 record with a 1.37 ERA in home games. On the road his record was basically the same, 54-19, but his ERA was more than a full run per game worse at 2.57. Koufax led the NL in ERA all five seasons he pitched in Dodger Stadium. That’s an impressive accomplishment almost regardless of home venue.

BIll James, the father of modern baseball analysis, once wrote (I wish I could find the exact reference in my library) that Koufax was better than his otherworldly W-L records because he seemed to pitch better when he received little run support and had an incredible record in such games…the Internet isn’t all bad. I found this data here although I’m not sure of the time period:

 

When the Dodgers scored 5 runs or greater Koufax was: 23-0

When the Dodgers scored 4 runs Koufax was: 12-1

When the Dodgers scored 3 runs Koufax was: 9-3

When the Dodgers scored 2 runs Koufax was: 9-4

When the Dodgers scored 1 run Koufax was: 8-8

This is incredible, when the Dodgers scored one, two, or three runs in a game Sandy Koufax’ record was 26-15. He was given only one run to work with in more starts than any other total.

 

Koufax retired early because he had developed severe arthritis in his pitching elbow. He actually pitched his last two seasons with the condition. In order to continue pitching Koufax used Empirin with codeine for the pain, which he took virtually every night and often during the game. He received numerous injections of cortisone. He also took Butazolidin for inflammation, applied capsaicin-based Capsolin ointment before each game, and soaked his arm in a tub of ice afterwards. (By the way, Butazolidin is used to treat inflammation in thoroughbred horses and its use must be publicly noted. It is no longer allowed for use in humans except very rarely as a treatment for ankylosing spondylitis because no other treatment is available.) When Koufax was asked at his retirement press conference why he was retiring, this was his answer:

 

“I don’t know if cortisone is good for you or not, but to take a shot every other ballgame is more than I wanted to do. To walk around with a constant upset stomach because of the pills and to be high half the time during a ballgame because you’re taking painkillers, I don’t wanna have to do that.”

 

Of course, Koufax’s regimen to keep pitching ties right in with the decision to play Tua Tagovailoa in a game that his team would have won without him less than a month after he had ankle surgery. Teams put enormous pressure on their players to play, almost regardless of circumstance, and players are tremendous competitors who want to play. Fans and other laypeople have no understanding of the intensely competitive nature of successful athletes.

In closing I present a picture of Sandy Koufax from MLBShop:

See the source image

 

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Monday Musings

First, I am aware that at least one website uses the name Monday Musings. Of course, it is not my intention to infringe on that site in any way. This blog is not named Monday Musings, but given the blog name and my affinity for alliteration, calling Monday posts Monday Musings seems fitting.

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Bill James wrote on at least one occasion that many, if not most, people become parodies of themselves as they age. (Hey, if you know someone famous, drop their name into your blog as often as you like.) I believe that concept applies to both major American political parties. They have existed for so long unchallenged in their stranglehold on government that they have become (bad) parodies of governance.

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One of my favorite episodes of Wheeler Dealers was about a car like this:

See the source image

From fabwheelsdigest.com a picture of a Rover P5B. I am not normally a fan of four-door cars, but this one has a great look, in my opinion. The P5B (supposedly, the “B” stands for Buick as Rover continued using the small V-8 engine they licensed from them) was produced from 1967 to 1973 with a total production of about 20,000.

Americans accustomed to muscle cars think of large displacement V-8 engines, but V-8s of much smaller displacement have been used in automobiles. For example, the Fiat 8V of the 1950s was powered by a 2-liter V-8, which is similar to the displacement of most 4-cylinder engines today. From 1974 to 1986, Ferrari produced a 2-liter/121 cubic-inch V-8. (Have to keep Bill Stephens happy.)

 

Time and Effort

My time and my effort

$1.00