Monday Musings

In what can only be described as an irrelevant idiosyncrasy, I am now calling my current favorite cereal, Corn Flakes, Corn Flah-kess instead of Corn Flayks. This is similar to my calling Staples Stop-less instead of Stay-pulls. Why do I do this? Do you really think I have any idea?

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I can’t resist the siren song of posting links to Why Evolution Is True. Once again, the blog author (Jerry Coyne) identifies himself as a liberal, but resists much (most?) of current liberal thinking, especially those views espoused by what I call the Lunatic Left.

 

Once again: are “races” social constructs without scientific or biological meaning?

From the post:

 

“…even the crudely designated races of “white, black, Hispanic, and East Asian” in the U.S. are, as today’s paper shows, biologically distinguishable to the point where if you look at the genes of an unknown person, you have a 99.86% chance of diagnosing their self-identified “race” as one of the four groups above. That is, if you ask a person how they self-identify as one of the four SIRE groups (SIRE: “self identified race/ethnicity”), and then do a fairly extensive genetic analysis of each person, you find that the groups fall into multivariate clusters.

More important, there’s little deviation between one’s SIRE and which genetic cluster they fall into. Over 99% of people in the sample from this paper can be accurately diagnosed as to self-identified race or ethnicity by looking at just 326 regions of the genome.

This in turn means that there are biological differences between different SIREs, so race cannot be simply a ‘social construct.'”

“In the U.S.—and in the world if you look at the Rosenberg study—one’s self-identified race, or race (again, I prefer “ethnicity”) identified by investigators—are not purely social constructs. Ethnicity or race generally say something about one’s ancestry, so that those members of the same self-identified race tend to group together in a multigenic analysis.”

 

Of course, the Lunatic Left wants us to believe that no biological differences exist between genders, either. Talk about denying science…

 

Freddie deBoer attacks “Blank Statism” posing questions for those who deny the importance of genetic variation in human behavioral variation

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I signed up for a Virtual Private Network (VPN) this morning. Why? Believe it or not, the primary reason was so I can watch new episodes of Transplant on the CTV website if NBC doesn’t continue to air new episodes. I believe I am currently using a web server in Toronto so the CTV website will let me view content.

I tried to sign up for a MotorTrend+ subscription as well, but was unable to actually get the website to let me do so. I sent an email to MotorTrend “support.” I have a feeling that will be as useful as having a dog explain Special Relativity. (Update: MotorTrend support sent a prompt reply and one of their solutions, using another browser, worked. No, I didn’t use the browser from Guck Foogle.) It just dawned on me that if the MotorTrend website thinks I am in Canada, I might be unable to subscribe.

Speaking of automobiles, it is a virtual certainty that this blog will have less automotive content in its final 6-12 months. As I have written before, I have little to no interest in EVs as I believe they are not the answer and should certainly not be the only propulsion choice for personal transportation. I also have virtually no interest in non-cars, SUVs and pickup trucks, which are now about 80% of the US market for new vehicles. I do NOT have to meekly join the crowd. The crowd thought I was crazy to pursue a career in major league baseball. Who was right? Well, I might be crazy.

 

 

I will continue with Threes And Sevens and the Hall of Very Good Cars, but will expend less effort trying to add automotive content to most posts. I know I will lose some readers, but as the blog has lost 30%-35% of its readers since February 1 what does that matter? This above all: to thine own self be true.

 

#MondayMusings

#somanyCARSjustonelife

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Monday Musings

Another weird dream…our downstairs bathroom has two switches on the wall, one for the light and one for the fan. I dreamt that a third switch was installed that operated a light outside the bathroom (in the living room, to be exact), but whose light projected into it. (Yes, a light is not alive; I didn’t know what pronoun to use other than “whose.”)

However, in the dream this light kept turning itself off, seemingly. I complained to my wonderful wife about this, but she said she didn’t know anything about it. At that point, though, I sensed the presence of another person in the living room, but around the corner and not in my field of vision. Before I could see who it was, I woke up.

The dream had a very unsettling tone. The entire area of the house seemed very dark, foreboding. I think that writing about my dreams in the blog helps me to remember them better.

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From respected physician and author Paul Offit:

 

“The evidence that we have so far is that protection against severe disease induced by two doses of an mRNA-containing vaccine — all of the data are obviously with Pfizer — is that you’re going to be protected against serious illness, meaning the kind of illness that causes you to go the doctor’s office, the hospital, or the ICU. And that’s what you would expect based on the other variants. The protection against serious illness is mediated by immunological memory cells, T-cells. Even though the virus’s spike-protein level drifts and mutates, the T-cells are conserved. So you’re seeing exactly what you would expect.

I think what’s different with Omicron is that you’re not as well protected against mild illness. So the question is: What does the booster buy you? It buys you better protection against mild illness. But then the question becomes: For how long? Unlike protection against serious illness, which is mediated by memory cells that are long-lived, protection against mild illness is mediated by neutralizing antibodies that are not as long lived.”

 

Dr. Offit remains skeptical that vaccine boosters against the damn virus are necessary for everyone, even with the new and very contagious variant. Dr. Offit is a real physician and is no kook. When a pathogen erupts that is previously unknown in large numbers in the human population, the path forward is not always clear and good and honest people with real knowledge can disagree. Oh, I recommend this book by Offit, which has nothing to do with the current situation.

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Supposedly, it was on this day in 1954 that Buick agreed to sponsor the production of 78 episodes of the Jackie Gleason Show. I am not sure if these 78 episodes included the “Classic 39” episodes of The Honeymooners. Apparently, Gleason was a big fan of Buick. Here are some pictures:

 

 

The bottom two photos show Gleason “helping” to assemble a Buick. As I have written ad infinitum, a 1956 Century was the first car I ever drove and the first family car I remember. I wish I had a picture of the car, but here is a reasonable facsimile:

 

See the source image

 

I used to have a greater desire to buy a ’56 Century, but if my wonderful wife and I won many millions in a lottery, one of these might find its way into my collection. So many cars just one life, indeed…

 

#MondayMusings

#DrPaulOffit

#JackieGleason

#Buick

#somanycarsjustonelife

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Monday Musings

Some of you may note today’s Monday Musings post is not numbered. While I have not researched to generate empirical evidence, I believe that numbering these posts costs me blog views. If I had numbered the post title, it would have been number 86.

 

There is no D-Day Museum in Gettysburg.

Abigail Shrier speaks truth to Princeton.

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Once again wading into the debate about whether or not to modify a “classic” car is this Hemmings article discussing the pros and cons of various possible upgrades. Here is part of the opening:

 

“…But while many appreciate a stock machine and what it has to offer, there are just as many owners who minimize outings in their classics. Why? The creature comforts aren’t there. You need to stick to back roads because it’s not pleasant on the freeway. You don’t want to wear it out. You don’t trust it more than a few miles from home.
Factory-stock vehicles have that authentic feel, but cars of the past were built to a different set of standards. The world that these cars live in has changed. Technology that once felt space-age has become commonplace, even in cars that are more than a decade old. Such advancements only highlight what’s lacking on a vintage vehicle, particularly to those who experienced some of today’s classics back when they were new.”

 

My views on this topic are well-known to regular readers. With the possible exception of an extremely rare and historically significant car, I think an automobile owner can do whatever they want to their car, including the installation of a modern and reliable drivetrain, modern suspension and brakes and modern creature comforts. I also do not believe in owning a de facto museum exhibit. A car should be driven, even if it’s just 1,000-2,000 miles a year.

Of course, the idea of modern upgrades led to the whole restomod movement. If I were to purchase the body of this car, why on earth would I want to leave it stock?

 

See the source image

 

Via Pinterest this is a picture of a favorite of mine, albeit an idiosyncratic favorite: a 1942 DeSoto. With the hidden headlights and fence-like grille, I think this car has one of the greatest “faces” of any automobile. Still, why would I want to drive a car with an 80-year old engine (that produced all of 115 HP/190 LB-FT of torque when new), brakes, suspension, etc.?

Obviously, a good restomod will not be cheap. I am somewhat reluctant to write this, but I think that some/many who buy an older car and then defend their decision not to modernize the car really can’t afford to have the work done and can’t do it themselves. Steve Strope criticizes modern “rat-rods” with an appearance to match the name. He says the original generation of these cars looked ragged because owners couldn’t afford to make them look nice, not because they were making a design statement. Hey, political correctness is just fascism in disguise. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

I am still not close to being in a position to acquire another car, but even if I were to buy a Studebaker Gran Turismo Hawk, I would do what I could to modernize the car and to make it more reliable.

 

 

As always, I welcome thoughtful comments, both from “The Big Five” commenters and from those of you who have never commented.

 

#MondayMusings

#InvisibleCarUpgrades

#1942DeSoto

#SteveStrope

#somanycarsjustonelife

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Monday Musings 84

Do you like my numbering of the Monday Musings posts? As the post number increases, the number of views seems to decline. Sometimes, I just can’t think of a more clever post title.

 

From Why Evolution Is True a post that should make almost everyone’s blood boil: the American Medical Association is going full “woke.” From Jesse Singal:

 

“The American Medical Association has just released “Advancing Health Equity: A Guide to Language, Narrative and Concepts,” a strange document that calls for doctors to insert progressive politics into even plain statements of fact.”

 

The only solution is dissolution.

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Pictures I took yesterday at the weekly car show in Fountain Hills did not turn out as well as I had hoped. I had to take many of them into the sun and did not get a good view of the lake. Nevertheless:

 

 

As for the actual cars, I didn’t take that many photos. I really long for an event where I see more cars like this one we saw on Saturday:

 

 

This Rambler American at Fountain Hills “spoke” to me:

 

 

These three cars appealed to me as well:

 

 

Sorry the Buick on the left got chopped. Again, the acute sun angle made photography difficult. Maybe JS or Mark can give me some suggestions.

 

I was sure I had more to write this morning, but I apparently do not. We’ll see about tomorrow.

 

#MondayMusings

#F*ckTheWokeMob!

#FountainHillsArizona

#somanycarsjustonelife

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Monday Musings 83

The bottom has fallen out of the box of blog views. Seemingly every day with a post is garnering fewer and fewer views.

Maybe this blog has just run its course after 45 months and more than 1,200 posts. Once again, those who are no longer reading cannot tell me why they stopped. Of course, with many fewer readers maybe I’ll just remove any vestige of muzzle.

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See the source image

 

Interstate 83 only exists in two states: Maryland and Pennsylvania. Like many such roads, I-83 has become a commuter pathway, or at least it did before the damn virus. Since I don’t live there anymore I don’t really know for sure.

When I lived in northwest Baltimore, where I was born and raised and lived until I was 25, I-83 was my usual route to downtown Baltimore, which is its southern terminus. (Of course since I don’t own a bulletproof vest, I would never go to downtown Baltimore anymore, anyway, even if I still lived in the mid-Atlantic.) In my junior and senior years of high school, I would use I-83 as part of my route home from school so I could use more of the horsepower in my 1967 Pontiac GTO. In Baltimore, I-83 is called the Jones Falls Expressway. Originally, the plan was to have this road connect to an extension of Interstate 95 in south Baltimore, but between community opposition and funding issues, the plan never materialized.

It is a virtual certainty I will never drive on this road again. The number on today’s Monday Musings title led me to think of I-83 and all of the time I spent driving on it.

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How many of you have ever watched a show called Flipping Bangers on Motor Trend? The premise is that two motorheads have given up their regular jobs to attempt to make a living buying and flipping cars at the bottom of the market, which are called bangers in the UK. Supposedly, they give themselves only five workshop days to spruce up the cars, although in one episode they acknowledged they needed the morning of a sixth day in order to finish.

I really like this show, especially when the featured car is something interesting to me, like this:

 

See the source image

 

This is a second-generation Toyota MR2, also known as a Mk II. In general, my interest in automobile restoration shows is dependent on the featured car(s). As much as I like looking at Cristy Lee, if All Girls Garage or Garage Squad featured something like a pickup truck, then odds are I wouldn’t watch the episode.

Flipping Bangers is entertaining to me because the two presenters, Gus Gregory and Will Trickett, seem to be quite knowledgeable about cars, seem to be pleasant fellows and the show contains quite a bit of humor, most of which seems genuine. In that way, the show reminds me of another one of my favorites, Salvage Hunters: Classic Cars, which is also shot in the UK with two British hosts.

I assume at least some of you watch automobile-related programming. What do you like?

 

#MondayMusings

#WhereAreTheReaders?

#Interstate83

#FlippingBangers

#ToyotaMR2MkII

#somanycarsjustonelife

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Monday Musings 82

I was originally going to call today’s post “30 Z06 Months.” Today is 2 1/2 years since I took delivery of my Z06.

Thirty months is one more than I owned my previous car, a 2009 BMW Z4. Even though I have driven the Z06 more in Arizona than I did in the mid-Atlantic, unbelievably to me I have still not driven it as many miles as the BMW. I drove the Z4 8,500 miles in 29 months; I have put 7,800 miles on the Z06. Pictures of the cars in question:

 

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I had a dream that was mainly disturbing until the end. Many of the details are lost to me now, but the gist of it was I was frantically preparing to take a trip. I realized I had to stop somewhere to pick up something important (my keys?) before I could depart and did not want to walk burdened by luggage through a huge crowd. Suddenly, I saw Dr. Zal and Dr. Hoss and they were there to help me with my endeavor. The sense of happiness and relief was overwhelming.

The two gentlemen in question are two very good friends whom I’ve known since elementary school. They have earned the moniker “Dr.” since they both have Ph.D. STEM degrees. I guess I’m the slacker since I only have an M.A. in Economics.

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My two “favorite” NFL teams played very similar games yesterday. Both blew double-digit point leads on the road only to rally and win on a field goal on the last play of the game. I could not watch the Ravens game as it was not broadcast in this market. I did not watch the Packers game as my wonderful wife and I needed to do things around the house.

The Ravens win may have been more dramatic as they had to convert on a fourth down and 19 from their own 16-yard line before even getting into a position to attempt a field goal. Oh, the kick that won the game for them was the longest field goal in NFL history, 66 yards, and bounced off the crossbar before settling on the “good” side of it. This is the second time that Ravens’ kicker extraordinaire Justin Tucker has kicked a 60+ yard field goal to win a game for the Ravens in Detroit. He joked after the game that he might have to buy a house there.

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A few days ago I did something unthinkable: I accidentally deleted all of the emails in my Inbox. While I only had about 35 emails in it–I like to file important ones in a few other folders and delete ones I don’t need–some of the deleted emails were important, like acknowledgments of estimated tax payments.

I don’t think anything like that could have happened to me even five years ago and certainly not 10 or 15. The incident is also a stark reminder that I will never be as comfortable or proficient on a small mobile device as I am on a desktop computer.

 

Once again, I welcome thoughtful comments from you, especially from those who regularly read this blog but have not commented before.

 

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#FoiblesOfAge

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Monday Musings 81

I was originally going to write about this article from Mac’s Motor City Garage about the Studebaker V-8 engine. If you’re interested, you can read the article.

My writing well is dry this morning, but in my OCD-fueled quest to reach a certain milestone in yearly views by the end of this month, I am compelled to write. I readily admit that is not a good reason.

How about this recent photo?

 

 

My wonderful wife really liked this cactus flower. It’s a myth that the desert is just brown. That observation is particularly false after a wet monsoon season, like the one we have experienced this year.

Even in a monsoon sky, our views of the landscape can be breathtaking, and I don’t mean that in a Seinfeld kind of way.

 

 

This is the view from the bonus room on the north side of our house on the second floor. It was this room (>300 square feet) and this view that really sold us.

The house needed a lot of work and, in many ways, falls short of what we would want in an “ideal” dwelling, even at our budget. We had just 3-4 days to find a house and had to simply buy the best one available. Oh, it was one year ago today that our offer on this house was accepted.

It’s been an eventful year and, unfortunately, not all of those events have been good ones. I have been reluctant to share details about everything going on here, but–sadly–suspect I will have to share some of the relevant circumstances before too much longer.

Here’s hoping you’ll have a better Monday than I’m having.

 

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#DesertHouse

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Monday Musings 80

I am still not in the best of moods, so read accordingly.

 

This post from Why Evolution Is True is about Andrew Sullivan’s (he is a somewhat “famous” author, blogger and political commentator) belief that people are pushing back, hard, against the plague of wokeness to the point where it may be on the wane. The post author is not so sure, but sees some rays of hope.

One of Sullivan’s eight examples is this:

 

“Both The Atlantic and The New Yorker have just published long essays that push back against woke authoritarianism and cruelty. Since both magazines have long capitulated to rank illiberalism, this is encouraging. And since critical theory is an entirely elite-imposed orthodoxy, it matters when the ranks of the elite crack a little.

Anne Applebaum links the woke phenomenon to previous moral panics and mob persecutions, which is where it belongs.”

 

I hope Sullivan is right and I know Applebaum is. Still, I think the only solution will be dissolution. I have often thought about in which US spinoff I would like to live. The sad thing is that none of them would probably appeal to me.

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Today’s Pick Of The Day in the Classic Cars Journal is…a 1991 Cadillac Allante. The title of the piece is, “Pick of the Day: The Italian Cadillac.”

I suspect most of you reading know that the Allante was a collaboration between Cadillac and legendary Italian coachbuilder Pininfarina. The bodies and interiors were built in Italy and then flown to Detroit in specially equipped Boeing 747s where the rest of the car was installed. That production chain contributed to the very high price of these cars ($54,700 MSRP when introduced in 1987; a 1987 Corvette convertible was $33,172), which itself contributed to the failure of the car in the marketplace. Yes, I must show a picture:

 

The Pick of the Day is a 1991 Cadillac Allante being offered for sale by its second owner. 

 

This configuration, with the auxiliary hardtop in place, is how I think these cars look their best. By the way, this is post #1,201 and the 25th in which the Allante is mentioned. Some of you might think it’s the 250th.

To better days…

 

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#WokenessIsEvil

#CadillacAllante

#somanycarsjustonelife

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Monday Musings 79

I have no doubt that the damn virus is real and has infected millions and killed many thousands in this country. I also have no doubt that some in government don’t really want the virus to be subdued as it has given them cover to impose more control over the population. (In this polarized country many would argue that one cannot hold both of those views simultaneously. I utterly reject the American bullshit binary political paradigm that says one must choose all from Column A or all from Column B.) The irony, of course, is that those who refuse to be vaccinated as a protest against government “intrusion” are playing into the hands of those public officials who don’t want to let go.

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If you look just to the left of the leftmost peak, you can see a dark blue little cloud above the puffy white ones. I don’t know why, but I watched that formation for a long time yesterday before finally getting off my ass and taking a picture. It almost looks like the shadow of a cloud so, combined with the shadows on Black Mountain (which is very green these days after a wet monsoon season), I called this picture Cloud Shadows.

Speaking of wet monsoon season, we are supposed to be affected by the remnants of tropical system Nora on Wednesday. While I feel bad for those suffering in the wake of Hurricane Ida, I wonder about the idea of having a large metropolitan area with a central city that has a mean elevation of eight feet below sea level in a hurricane prone zone.

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This is sort of a random car photo:

 

 

This is a 1970 Triumph GT6. The GT6 is one of three Triumph models that interest me, the others being the Stag (which has been shown and written about in Disaffected Musings) and the Spitfire (which I don’t think has been mentioned). I think the GT6 used the Spitfire platform, but with an inline-six cylinder engine instead of the four-cylinder used in the Spitfire. I think the bodies for all three of my favorite Triumphs were designed by the legendary Giovanni Michelotti.

Like I wrote in the first Ultimate Garage 3.0 post, it’s a car’s looks that grab me first and foremost. I admit this isn’t a great picture of the GT6, but I think it has a great look.

The GT6 was produced in three iterations from 1966 to 1973. Total production was about 41,000 units. The engine for the 1970 model produced 104 HP/120 LB-FT of torque, which means that even though the car was small (84-inch wheelbase, under 150 inches in length, 2,000 pound weight) it was not a beast, by any means.

The first iteration of the car was a disappointment in terms of handling. Even though those issues were largely addressed for the MkII/GT6+ (introduced in 1969), sales did not improve.

I don’t like this car enough to overlook the lack of an automatic transmission (unlike, say, the Honda S2000) so I won’t be trying to buy one. Still, I think the car is a great styling exercise.

As always, I welcome thoughts from you. Feel free to chime in.

 

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#CloudShadows

#TriumphGT6

#somanycarsjustonelife

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Monday Musings 78

While my wonderful wife and I are attending the Mecum auction this week, posting will be sporadic or non-existent. Writing a post using the WordPress app forces one to use the awful Block(head) Editor.

In any event, after posting for 15 consecutive days I could use a break. I am grateful, though, for the resurgence in the number of views and visitors so far in August.

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One year ago today I published this post, titled Why Can’t I Buy This Car?! The specific car mentioned is the Alpine A110, built by Renault. Here is a picture:

 

See the source image

 

Yes, Renault doesn’t sell cars in the US at the moment. However, it would be illegal for me to import one from Europe. As I wrote last year, I do not believe in unconstrained freedom, but why is this car illegal and some monstrous SUV legal? Sorry, but that’s just wrong.

Many blinded by political ideology think government regulation is necessary to rein in big businesses. In actuality, regulation hurts small businesses that lack the resources to comply.

Eighty-three (83) percent of US businesses have annual sales of less than $1 million. Eighty-one (81) percent have fewer than 10 employees. Even so, these businesses employ millions of people.

No, Renault is not a small business. The point is still valid and the regulations that make it illegal for me to import one of their cars actually benefit the big automobile companies that do sell cars here.

There are none so blind as those who will not see.

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Well, I guess my wonderful wife can’t buy the Ferrari California she drove awhile back.

 

 

The sign in the windshield indicates it has been sold. Inventory was sparse at the local luxury make complex. While I don’t know for sure, the worldwide computer chip shortage that has hampered production of so many items may be a factor.

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I’ll end today’s post with some desert/sky scenery. See you on the flip side, I hope.

 

 

 

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#AlpineA110

#SaveSmallBusinesses

#FerrariCalifornia

#DesertScenery

#somanycarsjustonelife

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