Monday Musings 72

I must admit that I often have the feeling, “What good does any of this do?” I often feel as if I am spending too much time preaching to the choir. I actually think it’s almost impossible to do anything else these days.

Due in large part to the scourge of “social media” too much of the world’s population is firmly entrenched in bubbles of thought, never considering that their “favorite” ideology is filled with dangerous inconsistencies and is woefully inadequate in dealing with real-world complexities.

In the current debate over infrastructure one truth that is being left out is simply how difficult it has become to actually get such projects completed in a timely manner. Consider that it took four years to build the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge in the 1930s whereas it took two decades to repair one-third of it after the 1989 Bay Area earthquake. Here are some words of wisdom, IMO, from George Will:

 

“Can today’s nation — divided by the politics of envy and race-mongering; with “leaders” too timid to ask 98.2 percent of Americans (those earning less than $400,000) to pay for the gusher of new government benefactions — perform great feats?

Last month was the 60th anniversary of President John F. Kennedy’s speech summoning the nation to send astronauts to the moon in the 1960s. Ben Domenech, publisher of the Federalist, says of the speech: “It seems like it comes not just from a different time but from a different country.” Kennedy’s challenge required accomplishing 2 million tasks, a million of which involved then-uninvented technologies. He did not stoke racial or class divisions; he spoke of a national identity receptive to great and uncertain exertions. He did not pander to particular constituencies, promising union jobs and racial “equity” throughout the space program. Instead, he asked the nation to take gigantic risks for the nation’s, and humanity’s, benefit.

Whereas “Kennedy called the nation to dare,” today, Domenech writes, America is where “schools can’t fail kids for giving the wrong answers, where teachers refuse to teach even with precautions and vaccinations, and where local authorities won’t put down riots.” A different country.” (My question: would Kennedy be considered a traitor by today’s Democratic party? He also played a major role in a large tax cut.)

 

The US is headed for dissolution, which is not surprising when such a large segment of the population does nothing except harp on differences. Whatever happened to “first earn, then receive?” Yes, I suspect I am preaching to the choir as people who think differently from me don’t read this blog. However, just as the rest of the world laughed at me in the 1980s–and was wrong–when I said baseball teams eventually would use data as the linchpin of their decision-making processes, I am more certain than ever that the US as we know it will not exist in 50 years. Unfortunately (maybe not), unlike in baseball where I lived to see my predictions come to fruition, I will not live 50 more years.

******************

Yesterday marked 31 weeks that we moved into this house. We decided to make a real dent in the mess in the room that is supposed to be, eventually, our guest bedroom.

Let me repeat my belief that the interstate moving business is a racket. Anyway…many of the items in this room were packed pictures. Opening one of them made my heart sink. The glass for a framed picture of Secretariat had broken and one of the shards had left a six-inch long scratch on the picture.

We have already “settled” on our damage claims, so we cannot be reimbursed for this. It’s not as if this piece is worth hundreds or thousands of dollars, but it has/had tremendous value to me.

While I am happy to be in Arizona, this move was even more stressful than my first cross-country move when I left the area in which I was born and raised. Not only does the financial bill seem to increase without end–you cannot imagine how much money we have had to spend on this house already–but it seems as though I am suffering from sort of a delayed stress syndrome.

******************

OK, I had another strange dream. Yes, I know that dreams often don’t mean anything, that they are–supposedly–the brain filtering and sorting information without the intent of that information being interpreted. However, I think dreams are often an expression of fears and wishes. Anyway…I had an appointment at the Mayo Clinic. My appointment was in room S151; yes, the room number was very prominent.

After a long and angst-inducing search, I finally found room S151 and its large sign that read “Room S151.” However, I heard people calling my name and after another stress-inducing interval I saw three people, each sitting in a separate chair with plexiglass partitions, on the other side of the wide hall. They were the ones calling my name. I then woke from this dream. All I can write is WTF?!

Sorry, no cars today.

 

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#FirstEarnThenReceive

#MovingStress

#MoreStrangeDreams

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Monday Musings 71

In Monday Musings 70 I wrote about how 1970 was a great year to be a young Baltimore sports fan. Well, 1971 was a most disappointing year to be a Baltimore baseball and football fan.

The Orioles earned their third consecutive World Series berth and through the first two games of that series had won 16 games in a row. Unfortunately, they lost four of their next five games. You know what four losses mean in the World Series.

The Baltimore Colts had a fine 1971 season earning a playoff spot led by one of the great defenses in NFL history. They easily won their first-round playoff game, but alas, that was the end of the good news.

In the 1971 AFC Championship Game, played on January 2, 1972, the Colts were shut out by the Miami Dolphins 21-0. The irony was thick for Colts fans as the Dolphins’ head coach, Don Shula, had been the head coach of the Colts from 1963 to 1969. The Dolphins were found guilty of tampering with Shula and the Colts were given the Dolphins’ first-round draft pick in 1971 as compensation.

I have often written, and firmly believe, that human beings almost never judge events by “objective” reality, but instead against expectations and the status quo. For sports fans in many cities, having their MLB franchise reach the World Series in the same season their NFL team plays in the conference championship game would be a great year. For Baltimore sports fans, with both teams having won it all in 1970, the following year was quite a letdown, especially when you’re not even a teenager.

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The most interesting American car for 1971, to me, might be this one:

 

See the source image

 

From Hot Rod a picture of a 1971 Dodge Hemi Challenger. The engine output ratings didn’t change in the six years the second-generation Hemi was offered in street cars: 425 HP/490 LB-FT of torque. Of course, many of those “in the know” think both of those numbers were understated on purpose by Chrysler Corporation.

This article makes the claim that the 426 Hemi really had about 470 HP. Other “experts” think that number was closer to 500. 1971 was the last year the second-generation Hemi was offered in cars from Chrysler Corporation. That was also the year almost all automobile aficionados mark as the last year of the original muscle car era.

I think we’re living in the real golden age of automobiles, but that will come to an end with the widespread adoption of alternatively powered vehicles, whenever that happens. I’m going to drive my Z06 as long as I can.

 

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#1971BaltimoreSports

#1971DodgeHemiChallenger

#somanycarsjustonelife

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Monday Musings 70

The number “70” for this morning’s Monday Musings post reminds me of 1970, a great year to be a young Baltimore sports fan. The Orioles won the 1970 World Series and the Baltimore Colts won the Super Bowl for the 1970 NFL season, played in January, 1971.

Fast forward to today…the Orioles have gone almost 40 years without winning the World Series and the Colts left Baltimore almost 40 years ago. After a dozen years in the NFL wilderness, Baltimore re-joined the NFL and the Ravens have been successful, for the most part, winning two Super Bowls and often making the playoffs.

The first Orioles game I ever attended with media credentials was Opening Day, 1984. The team began its ultimately unsuccessful defense of its World Series championship mere days after the Colts left town. For the occasion, the mood was less than festive as the Colts’ move hung in the air.

Baltimore was, and still is I guess, a football town first. The loss of the Colts was a big blow to the city even if many of us were glad that Bob The Red-Faced Owner was no longer around. Anyway…from better days, below is a photo (from The New York Daily News) of Jim O’Brien’s field goal that gave the Baltimore Colts the 1970 NFL Championship. By the way, the win made the team the first recipient of the Lombardi Trophy. The great coach died in September, 1970 and the NFL named the championship trophy in his honor and memory.

 

See the source image

 

Dr. Zal, Dr. Hoss and I met Jim O’Brien in San Diego in the mid-1990s before a Ravens-Chargers game. He was very gracious and it was quite a thrill as I think all three of us were transported back to that day when the Baltimore Colts won the Super Bowl.

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Abruptly switching gears…I think it’s arrogant of the US to try to dictate to other countries what their corporate tax rate should be. However, I have an even more radical idea: I don’t think corporate profits should be taxed at all. Instead, and I mean instead and not in addition to, I think corporate revenue should be taxed.

I envision a single-digit percentage flat rate with the first $1 million in US revenues being exempt so smaller businesses can get the break they deserve. I do think it’s less than ideal when a company with billions in revenue pays no tax, often because of accounting tricks that, while they may be legal, are certainly not in the spirit of the law.

I also think this legislation should include a provision that it would take a super-majority, say 60%, of the House and Senate to change the rate of this tax. High taxes are a drag on the economy, but so is uncertainty surrounding tax and regulatory regimes.

Nothing inherent in this proposal is revenue neutral, revenue “enhancing” or revenue “diminishing.” It all depends on the rate, which I fervently believe must be in single digits. I haven’t done any work on what rates would produce what revenue.

This proposal would greatly simplify the corporate tax code and, of course, would put a lot of attorneys and accountants out of work. I also think it’s inherently more fair than our current system.

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Going back to 1970…here is a chart/list of the most popular model for each US Big Three make for model year 1970. Not breaking my arm while patting myself on the back, but except for Chevrolet, my source for this data did not aggregate by model so I had to manually add model variants, often for two or three models since I couldn’t always tell by eye-balling what was the best-selling model for a particular make. Anyway:

 

Make Model Sales  
Buick LeSabre 200,622  
Cadillac DeVille 181,719  
Chevrolet Impala 512,376  
Chrysler Newport 79,013  
Dodge Dart 210,154 Includes Custom and Swinger
Ford Maverick 578,914  
Imperial Lebaron 10,229  
Lincoln Continental 37,695 Excludes Mark III
Mercury Marquis 85,515  
Oldsmobile Cutlass 244,739 Includes Cutlass Supreme
Plymouth Valiant 268,002 Includes Valiant Duster
Pontiac Catalina 223,380  

 

American Motors sales were not broken down by model. Where I included sub-models like the Dodge Dart Custom it was because they were on the same chassis with the same wheelbase. The Continental Mark III did not have the same wheelbase as the “regular” Continental.

I would never have guessed that the Ford Maverick was the most popular car in the US in 1970. It was basically impossible to find a picture of a “stock” Maverick; this is the best I could find:

 

See the source image

 

Perhaps channeling their inner Mustang, Ford introduced the Maverick on April 17, 1969–the same day the Mustang was introduced in 1964–as a 1970 model year car. The Maverick basically replaced the Falcon in the Ford lineup.

The introduction of the Ford Pinto in 1971 seems to have hurt Maverick sales, which declined by 53% in 1971 compared to 1970, although, of course, the 1970 model year was longer than usual given the Maverick’s introduction date. (Did you know that Ford sold more than one and a half million Pintos from 1972 to 1974?!)

Although it wouldn’t be on any of my “must have” lists, the Maverick is not an ugly car, in my opinion. I have to face the fact that, for me, selecting Ultimate Garage cars is basically a beauty contest. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

 

#MondayMusings

#BaltimoreSports

#CorporateTaxes

#1970USAutomobileIndustry

#1970FordMaverick

#somanycarsjustonelife

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Monday Musings 69

Like Galileo, many people today are being shunned for speaking the truth. I hope that doesn’t happen to me.

In this country, college educated whites under 40 and evangelical christians don’t have anything in common, do they? Actually, they do: both groups have a much higher proportion of anti-vaxxers than average.

The first group has fallen under the spell of “social media.” My writing this will not change anyone’s mind, but your cousin posting on Fack Fucebook that her husband’s cousin had a bad reaction to a vaccine, or that her friend heard that vaccines are an effort at mind control is not credible in any way, shape or form and certainly does not constitute meaningful data.

I know less about the second group but understand that many evangelicals have always been ambivalent at best and mistrustful at worst of large secular institutions. They interpret the “words” of Jesus of Nazareth that his followers are in the world but not “of the world” to mean they should engage with secular institutions with a certain measure of suspicion. Some skepticism about all institutions is healthy, in my opinion. Of course, they blindly follow their favored institution.

I have given up on the hope that most people will use their brains to seek real knowledge. I think we are headed to a new type of Dark Age, where people get off the information superhighway and use the technology of the day to reinforce their prejudices and misguided beliefs and to be “entertained” by mindless garbage.

In his review of one of my favorite movies, “Quiz Show,” the late Roger Ebert wrote this:

 

“The early quiz shows rewarded knowledge, and made celebrities out of people who knew a lot of things and could remember them. The post-fix quiz shows rewarded luck. On “The $64,000 Question” and “Twenty-One” you could see people getting rich because they were smart. Today people on TV make money by playing games a clever child can master. The message is that it’s not necessary to know anything, because you can be ignorant and still get lucky.

The 1950s have been packaged as a time of Eisenhower and Elvis, Chevy Bel-Airs and blue jeans, crew cuts and drive-ins. “Quiz Show” remembers it was also a decade when intellectuals were respected, when a man could be famous because he was a poet and a teacher, when TV audiences actually watched shows on which experts answered questions about Shakespeare and Dickens, science and history. All of that is gone now.”

 

I think those words are spot on. I will once again offer my opinion that much/most of the decay in the respect for knowledge stems from bad and/or indifferent parenting and the serious decline in the quality of public education. Political correctness is also a negative factor. I don’t think any of this is fixable at a macro level, anymore.

******************

Here are two recent photos taken from our house:

 

 

I tried to keep my phone as steady as possible for the first picture. We have these views almost every day here. Oh, these photos were taken inside through a window in the bonus room on the second floor on the north side of the house.

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Someone on our block has a first generation Firebird and first generation Mustang, each sporting Arizona historical license plates. The picture below is not of that specific Firebird, but of one I took earlier this month:

 

 

I think the first-generation Firebirds are at least as sharp looking as their F-body cousins, the first-generation Camaro. Both models took a bite out of the Mustang’s position in the niche they really created, the ponycar market.

Mustang production declined by about 135,000 units, or 22 percent, between model years 1966 and 1967. Of course, the latter was the first model year for the Firebird and Camaro. It is not true that Mustang sales declined by almost the same amount as Camaro sales or Camaro/Firebird sales. The two GM cars sold more than 303,000 units for model year 1967, of which 73 percent were Camaros. The entire ponycar market grew. Competition is not inherently evil.

A restomod first-generation Firebird (or Camaro) sounds like a great car to me, but one that I will almost certainly never own. Oh well, such is life…

 

#MondayMusings

#Galileo

#RogerEbert

#AtavisticAmerica

#DesertSunrise

#PontiacFirebird

#somanycarsjustonelife

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Monday Musings 68

Many thanks to Dominic Chu of CNBC. He tweeted about my blog; he also wrote these kind words to me in a message, “You’re a true wordsmith!”

The first week of May was, frankly, a disappointment in terms of blog views/visitors. In the last 2-3 days, the number of both has increased significantly. So much so that I received this notification from WordPress yesterday:

 

 

Yes, I am “liking” my own posts. I can, so I do. If you don’t “like” posts on a regular basis, please consider doing so.

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Today’s number after Monday Musings, 68, takes me back to my first radio job. Why? The frequency of the station was 680 AM.

I had the title of Associate Producer for a sports talk show where listeners could call in. I screened calls, booked guests, provided facts, etc.

The pay was supposed to be minimum wage, which at the time was $3.35/hour. I told the host of the show that I would not work anywhere for minimum wage. Our “solution” was that I clocked in for three hours a night even though the show only ran for two. Therefore, I was paid, de facto, $5.02/hour. Of course, I loved being at the radio station and was usually there more than three hours a night.

This job was how I wound up being among the first members of the “media” to report the presence of Mayflower moving vans at the Baltimore Colts complex on the night of March 28, 1984. The radio station for which I worked was the Colts’ flagship station and the studios were located not far from the Colts complex.

While at work that night we started receiving calls that moving vans had been spotted heading for the complex. Rumors that the team was going to move had become quite rampant. Colts’ season ticket holders had not yet received their renewal notices for 1984 tickets, which normally would have been sent at least a month before.

In addition, beginning earlier in March–I believe–Colts’ employees paychecks had begun to be drawn against an Indianapolis bank. I think only stubborn denial prevented all Colts fans from accepting the reality of the situation: the team was going to move to Indianapolis.

Anyway, back to that night…the host of the show, a well-known Baltimore sports personality who was actually subbing for the regular host, told me to drive out to the complex to investigate given all the calls we were receiving. Sure enough, I saw Mayflower vans at the complex. I spotted another car and rolled down my windows. The driver of the other car was a reporter for the local ABC affiliate (at the time) named Lisa Champoux. We said almost in unison, “It’s really happening.”

Bob The Red-Faced Owner, I will not dignify the *ssh*le’s existence by using his real name, had so alienated thousands of Colts fans with his antics that many of them, like me, had stopped following the team as closely as before. As a result, I was not that upset at the news that the team was moving. It was only years later that I realized what I, and many others, had lost.

I worked at that job for about a year. Not long after I began that position, I landed a spot hosting my own show once a week (on Sunday) on a small radio station–that was part of the Orioles’ radio network–outside of Baltimore and did both jobs concurrently for a few months. I used an alias while hosting the show for many reasons, not the least of which, unfortunately, was that the studios were located in a less than enlightened part of Maryland and I didn’t want to use my Jewish last name for fear of showing up to work one day and find a cross burning on the lawn in front of the studios.

As I have written, I loved working in radio. I guess I could try to make a podcast, but it’s just not the same to me.

Sorry, no cars today.

 

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#DominicChu

#FirstRadioJob

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Monday Musings 67

Some quotes from Socrates:

 

“There is only one good, knowledge, and one evil, ignorance.”

“I cannot teach anybody anything. I can only make them think.”

“Education is the kindling of a flame, not the filling of a vessel.”

“When the debate is over, slander becomes the tool of the loser.”

“It is better to change an opinion than to persist in a wrong one.”

 

Supposedly, Socrates himself wrote no texts. He is known chiefly through the accounts of classical writers composing after his lifetime, particularly his students Plato and Xenophon. Whether or not he actually said everything that is attributed to him, the wisdom of those words is timeless, in my opinion.

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This article is titled “10 Most Anticipated Exotic Cars Coming in 2021.” I’m actually surprised the author and staff could find ten exotic cars. Here are pictures and descriptions for three of them:

 

McLaren Elva

 

This is the McLaren Elva, of which only 249 examples will be manufactured. As like all modern McLarens except the P1, the Elva will be powered by a twin-turbo small displacement V-8 engine (4 liters) with very high specific output: 804 HP/590 LB-FT of torque.

 

Maserati MC20

 

This is not the first appearance of the Maserati MC20 in this blog. I am simply smitten with this car, what can I say? I can say that later this summer I may be able to share photos of a “real” MC20. No, I did not buy one, but the local luxury make complex supposedly will have eight examples shipped to them. Of course, all eight are already sold, or so I was told.

 

Hennessey Venom F5

 

This is the Hennessey Venom F5, a car that has been “on display” for more than three years, but that has not been sold until now. Only 24 of these beasts will be produced at a price of over $2 million. This car is also powered by a twin-turbo V8, like the Elva, but the output is a little higher, like 1,800 HP! The Venom F5 is supposed to have a top speed above 300 MPH. That’s a mile every 12 seconds.

I’ve probably driven faster than 100 MPH only once or twice in my life; I’ve never driven my Z06 more than 90 MPH and that was for seconds while passing someone on Loop 101. I cannot imagine driving at 300 MPH.

I would very much like to read the experiences and opinions of those of you who have raced cars, like Dirty Dingus McGee, especially as it might pertain to a 300 MPH automobile.

 

#MondayMusings

#Socrates

#ExoticCars

#McLarenElva

#MaseratiMC20

#HennesseyVenomF5

#somanycarsjustonelife

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Monday Musings 66

Sorry, anti-vaxxers, but the vaccines work. Yesterday, Israel–which has fully vaccinated 81% of its over-16 population–lifted its mask mandates. Vaccine hesitancy is nothing more than a manifestation of ignorance. I’ll show this tweet from @DocBastard again:

 

-You do not know The Truth.

-You have not discovered things Doctors Don’t Tell You.

-You have not done research.

-You are not better than everyone else.

-You are not holistic.

-You are not special.

-You are not “woke.”

 

What you are is wrong.

 

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I wanted to write about an amazing Studebaker Gran Turismo Hawk restomod being offered at the upcoming Mecum auction in Indianapolis. Of course, Mecum does not allow online pictures of current or recent lots to be captured, at least not in any way that I can figure out.

I searched for an analogue for the car, but could not find one that looked as good as the one in the Mecum photos and in Black over Red. Here is the link to the auction listing. Here is a picture of the best comp I could find although not in the proper colors:

 

 

Yep, that’s my model. Yep, right now I have GT Hawk on the brain. Can you say OCD?! In all seriousness, from the description the Mecum lot reads like the “perfect” car for me at this moment, but will probably hammer for way more than I would have considered spending, even if our three-car garage weren’t already full. As far as I can tell, the car is being sold with a reserve.

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OK, this is a picture of my car:

 

 

What do you think of these C7 ZR1 wheels as a replacement?

 

 

OK, now I’m just looking for things to do to my car. Still, I really like these wheels more than the current ones and they would fit my Z06. Besides, by the time I’m done with mods later this year my car’s engine will have more HP and torque than a stock ZR1. Any thoughts you have would be appreciated.

 

#MondayMusings

#IsraelVaccinations

#VaccineHesitancyIsIgnorance

#StudebakerGranTurismoHawkRestomod

#MecumIndy

#C7ZR1Wheels

#somanycarsjustonelife

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Monday Musings 65

On Friday, the US Department of Labor reported that non-farm payrolls rose by 916,000 in March, a much better performance than predicted by those entities that make such predictions. The unemployment rate fell to 6.0%. (Of course, revisions will no doubt “change” those numbers.)

Just for comparison, when was the last time France had an unemployment rate of even 7 percent? Just before the “Great Recession.” That country’s unemployment rate has only been below 8 percent in two of the last 30 years. Excessive regulation of its labor market is the primary factor for that poor performance.

The blind zealots who want governments to control everything are also deniers of facts.

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According to this Corvette Blogger piece, Chevrolet/GM delivered 6,611 Corvettes in the first quarter of 2021. Corvette deliveries have not been that high in a first quarter since 2015. In addition, all four GM US brands (Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, GMC) had double-digit year-over-year increases in retail sales. Oh, they’re not selling a lot of electric vehicles.

 

See the source image

 

From a Chevrolet dealer a picture of a 2021 Corvette in Elkhart Lake Blue Metallic. Of course, my first Corvette was in Blue, Electron Blue Metallic, to be precise:

 

 

C5 and C6 Corvettes are now among the best performance car bargains anywhere. This is not a Frugal Friday post, but one can find C5 Z06 Corvettes in the $25,000-$30,000 range and C6 Z06 Corvettes in the high 30s. The C6 Z06 was powered by an engine of legendary displacement, 427 cubic inches, even though it was based on small-block architecture. Output was 505 HP/470 LB-FT of torque. C’mon, a 500 HP car for less than 40 grand! What more could you want?!

Obviously from autogespot, a picture of a C6 Z06 Corvette:

 

See the source image

 

I will always have a soft spot for C5 Corvettes as one of those was my first Vette, but I have grown to like the looks of the C6 more. I would probably rate the C6 as the third best looking generation, behind the C2 and the C7. Anyone else care to offer their hierarchy of Corvette generation looks?

 

#MondayMusings

#SayNoToExcessiveRegulation

#C8CorvetteSales

#C5C6CorvetteBargains

#C6CorvetteZ06

#somanycarsjustonelife

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Monday Musings 64

Today’s earworm, “Come On Down To My Boat” by Every Mothers’ Son, is sponsored by OCD. The group was a one-hit wonder and the song peaked at #6 on the Billboard chart in 1967. Maybe I just have to stop listening to Sixties on Six on Sirius/XM.

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I will be undergoing a “minor” surgical/diagnostic procedure today at the Mayo Clinic. I believe this will be the third time I have had this particular procedure done. Please wish me luck.

You know the old joke about surgery, right? Major surgery is any surgery you’re having while minor surgery is surgery on anyone else.

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Should I count the days until we receive our second vaccine shot against the damn virus or until we have “full immunity” about two weeks later? In case you’re curious, [Everyone in unison] or even if you’re not, it’s 11 days until the second shot so about 25 days until we’re “free.”

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Today’s installment of “People Vote With Their Feet” is courtesy of this CNBC video about the mass exodus of people and businesses leaving California and moving to Texas. Like everything else, this is not all good or all bad for Texas. From the video summary:

 

“Oracle moved its headquarters to Austin, Texas late last year. Tesla is also building its new Gigafactory there, and Apple will house its second-largest campus in Texas’ capital city. This Big Tech influx has raised chatter about Texas potentially becoming a business hub that could rival Silicon Valley.”

“CBRE and Charles Schwab relocated their headquarters from California to the Dallas area in recent months, and Hewlett Packard Enterprise is headed to Houston. Texas has also attracted wealthy individuals like Joe Rogan, Elon Musk, Dropbox CEO Drew Houston and Palantir co-founder Joe Lonsdale.”

 

In a federal republic like the US, different states can have different laws and regulations. Who knows? One or two really bad earthquakes and perhaps California could become a ghost state. Once again, people want to reap most of the rewards of their labor and not have them confiscated by government. When they can, people vote with their feet so they can enjoy more of those rewards.

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How about this as a reward? From this Road and Track article a picture of the Aston Martin Valhalla:

 

Land vehicle, Automotive design, Vehicle, Supercar, Car, Sports car, Performance car, Concept car, Coupé, City car,

 

When first announced Aston targeted 2021 as the start of manufacture for this limited production (500 units) automobile. I don’t know if any have been produced or sold. A price bandied about but not confirmed by the company is $1.3 million. Unlike many people, I don’t begrudge wealth as long as it has been acquired or built legally. If you can really afford to buy a car for $1.3 million, then more power to you. Hopefully this link to a picture from Aston Martin’s website won’t break:

 

 

The website ad copy is sparse; detailed specs are not shown. Supposedly, the heart of the car will be a turbocharged V-6 developed totally in house by Aston Martin. I think some Aston fans were not happy the car doesn’t have a V-8 or V-12. Welcome to the 21st century…

If you can reward yourself with one of these, go right ahead. Being resentful and envious of people who are wealthier than you is not a sound basis for public policy. The politics of envy are a road to mediocrity.

 

#MondayMusings

#EveryMothersSon

#MayoClinic

#COVID19Vaccine

#PeopleVoteWithTheirFeet

#AstonMartinValhalla

#SayNoToThePoliticsOfEnvy

#somanycarsjustonelife

#disaffectedmusings

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PS, thanks to everyone who responded yesterday to my “lament” about the decline in comments by commenting.

 

March Monday Musings

Yes, it is March 1, 2021. Two of the many bonds in my investment portfolio pay me in March and September; one of those, a municipal bond from our former state of residence, pays me today. Most bonds, corporate or municipal, pay their interest twice a year, such as in March and September. Some bonds pay every month.

The interest from that muni bond is no longer exempt from state income tax. A small part of me wanted to sell it after we moved to Arizona, but I don’t think it’s wise to sell a AAA-rated bond with a 4% coupon with the US 10-year Treasury yield at less than 1.5% simply because the interest will now be subject to state income tax.

The other bond that pays me in March/September has an interesting story. Its coupon is in excess of 7%; I paid 103% of par for it initially. After some false news about the issuing company broke some years ago, the price of that bond plummeted to 58% of par. I doubled my position; it’s now trading at 130% of par. (The yield on most bonds has dropped in the last year–until quite recently–and that means that bond prices have increased. Of course, the causation really goes the other way.) Transactions like that explain how, for more than the last decade, our fixed income investment portfolio has more than doubled the average annual rate of return of the fixed income benchmark used by our brokerage company.

I have been investing in bonds for a long time as I have always been more risk averse than the average investor. My wonderful wife now has an extensive bond portfolio, but didn’t when we married. Not too long ago I bought one bond for her IRA (not a muni bond, obviously) whose price increased by 33 percent in the first 23 months she owned it. I sold half the position. Bulls make money, bears make money, but hogs get slaughtered.

Companies that pay dividends on their stock can decrease or simply stop paying the dividend at any time. A bond is a contract in which the issuer agrees to pay a fixed amount on a fixed schedule until the bond matures. Which is the safer source of income?

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From an email sent to me by my friend and former neighbor, MB:

 

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See the source image

 

From canadianautoreview (an unsecured site) comes a picture of the new Maserati MC20. Like all manufacturers should do, this car is available with an internal combustion engine (ICE) OR electric motors.

The 3-liter twin-turbo V-6 will produce 621 HP/538 LB-FT of torque and propel the car from 0-60 MPH in 2.9 seconds. This engine has 12 spark plugs and 12 combustion chambers. The “pre-chamber” system was originally developed for Formula 1 racing engines. By the way, the ICE engine for this car was developed by Maserati and not by Ferrari. From The Drive another picture of the same car:

 

See the source image

 

Every regular reader knows of my long-time affinity for Maserati. Starting at more than $200,000, it’s out of my price range, but I would love to have this car.

 

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