Friable Friday

I remember watching Brian’s Song on television, but must confess that none of the details of that movie have stuck with me. Of course, I am mentioning this because James Caan, who played Brian Piccolo in the film, died on Wednesday at the age of 82. He and I shared the same birthday, which is probably why I am writing about him.

Caan is best known for portraying Sonny Corleone in The Godfather. If I’ve seen that movie I don’t remember it. As I have written from time to time, I have not been in a movie theater in at least 15 years and was never one to frequent theaters on a regular basis.

Caan, the son of Jewish immigrants from Germany, was a staunch supporter of Israel. Obviously, I share that view.

 

“And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.”

– John Donne

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Thanks to all of those who read yesterday’s edition of Hall of Very Good Cars and the blog, in general. The number of views for the post far exceeded that of the first version on its day of publication. Actually, that number far exceeded the combined number of views for the first installment on its day of publication AND the day after.

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I had two more weird dreams although what’s especially weird is that I could swear I was at least partly awake while they were happening. The first dream was that I discovered that the proprietor of the restaurant in which we were eating was putting pencil shavings in the coffee. Don’t ask me how I found out because I don’t really remember. Oh, don’t ask me why it was pencil shavings because I have no idea.

I screamed at her at the top of my lungs and created quite a scene. As customers began to leave she started to apologize, but I kept berating her until we decided to leave as well.

The second dream involved my trying to get work done on my car, but I am 99% certain the car in this dream was my first car, a 1967 Pontiac GTO. I don’t remember if the work was mechanical or aesthetic (or both), but the place where I took the car seemed rundown, like a shack among a collection of similar buildings all seemingly placed haphazardly in a large, unkept parking lot.

The owner of the shop kept encouraging me to really get on my car in that lot. I finally succumbed to temptation and did quite a burnout, which filled me with glee. Below are pictures of my first car, often shown in this blog.

 

By the way, my Z06 is still in the shop. They are waiting for delivery of the right exhaust manifold. This “saga” has now lasted for almost three months. It was on Friday, April 15th that the car didn’t start. At least I now have alternative transportation. I don’t want to jinx the car or to ruin my karma, but I am very happy with the Cascada so far.

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This article is titled, “The Leading Causes Of Death In [US] Men Should Be A Wakeup Call To Everyone.” From the piece:

 

“Men in the United States die an average of five years before women do. That’s coupled with the fact that the country is already an outlier when it comes to life expectancy. In other rich countries, such as Iceland, Norway, Japan, and Australia, men live on average eight years longer than they do in the U.S.”

“Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the U.S., killing nearly one in three men, often prematurely. A number of factors are at play, but the high death toll of heart disease is due in large part to poor diet, smoking, obesity, excessive alcohol, stress, lack of exercise, and underlying conditions such as diabetes and kidney problems.”

 

Note that many, if not most, of the factors that cause or exacerbate heart disease are behavioral in nature. For example, and I wish I could remember the source, but I have read that US adults walk only half as much as adults in other “rich” countries. These deleterious behaviors have nothing to do with delivery of health care.

Put down your phone or your tablet and go for a walk. I want you around to keep reading.  😉

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Here is a link to a non-political post on Why Evolution Is True. The post is about the Royal Observatory at Greenwich’s Astronomy Photographer of the Year Contest. Here are a couple of photos:

 

(Photo by Alessandro Ravagnin)

 

(Photo by Shane Turgeon)

 

I have seen the Northern Lights once. I was on an airplane with my wonderful wife and (i)ncomparable niece on our way to Iceland. Fifteen minutes after takeoff on this redeye flight, I think the only people awake were the pilot and me. (I can’t sleep on a plane.) I don’t remember exactly when I first saw them, but the Northern Lights were visible through the window for at least a half hour. They looked as though they were right outside the plane, but of course they usually occur at between 60 and 90 miles in altitude.

I woke up my wife and she watched for a few minutes before going back to sleep. I tried to wake up my niece, but she insisted we would see the Northern Lights in Iceland so she quickly returned to her slumber. We did not see them in Iceland. Nearly 20 years later, that is still a sore spot for her.

 

Thanks again to all of those who read the blog yesterday. Please keep reading and please tell your friends about Disaffected Musings.

 

#FriableFriday

#JamesCaan

#MoreWeirdDreams

#WakeupCall

#Aurora

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Friable Friday

No good deed goes unpunished…the windshield in my wonderful wife’s Corvette needed to be replaced, a quite common occurrence in Arizona. The appointment for the Safelite tech was yesterday.

I decided to observe most of the work (my wife had a physical therapy appointment) and even ended up helping a little bit. When the tech, who couldn’t have been older than 25 or 27, put on a sun hat I should have taken a clue. Of course, I am now sunburned on my scalp (thanks a lot, thinning hair), forehead and nose. The feeling of having your entire scalp throb is not exactly pleasant.

I don’t remember the exact number, but our next-door neighbor told my wonderful wife that they have had their windshield(s) replaced multiple times. Even though we have been living in Arizona just 17 months today, this is already our second experience with a broken windshield, the first having been with a rental car during our trip to the Mecum auction in March, 2020.

I am sure I didn’t have my windshield replaced more than twice during my decades in the mid-Atlantic. One of those times is actually amusing. I was in my mid-20s and was driving my car with my then girlfriend accompanying me. She hated wearing seatbelts and only wore one because I insisted. The entire time she was in the car she would hold the seatbelt away from her and would often put her feet up on the dashboard.

Well, during this drive I decided to pinch her butt. That must have surprised/frightened her because she shrieked and her foot hit the windshield with such force that it cracked. Obviously, once the insurance company realized the crack was on the inside they would not cover the cost of the replacement. No good deed goes unpunished?

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I had a weird dream this morning. (What else is new?!) I was at a large gathering although I didn’t seem to know anyone there. I vaguely recall that some of the attendees were supposed to be famous, but those details are lost to dreamland. The venue was a very large house with many floors; I remember climbing four flights of stairs at one point. If you’re from Baltimore like I am, imagine a large home in Roland Park/Guilford on steroids.

All of a sudden everyone is in a hurry to leave. As I try to depart I notice several very cute puppies. I then notice that all of them have peed on the floor and realize I better watch my step.

I am reminded of something Norm Van Brocklin said on the sidelines as recorded by NFL Films when he was a coach. Commenting about a player Van Brocklin remarked, “The gears haven’t meshed in that guy’s head for a long time.” That describes me to a tee.

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Perhaps you sense my reluctance to actually begin the “Threes And Sevens” series chronicling years in the US auto industry that ended with “3” or “7.” I still think it’s a good idea, but once I start I will be committed (maybe I should be) to finishing. That commitment is a bit daunting to me, at present, although I’m not sure why.

Speaking of cars, this one crossed the block yesterday at the Barrett-Jackson auction in Palm Beach, Florida.

 

1993 CADILLAC ALLANTE CONVERTIBLE - Rear 3/4 - 256666

 

In case you don’t know, or even if you do, this is a 1993 Cadillac Allante. You may recall a beautiful example of the same car offered at the Mecum auction here in Arizona last month. That car was bid to $26,000, but didn’t sell.

All or virtually all of the vehicles at Barrett-Jackson auctions are sold at no reserve. This red Allante sold for…$11,000 all in.

I don’t HAVE to buy another car now, but I sure have an itch to do so. How much itching can I take before I have to scratch?

 

#FriableFriday

#NoGoodDeedGoesUnpunished

#MoreWeirdDreams

#ThreesAndSevens

#CarItch

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Sunday Supplement

My heartfelt thanks to all of you who have offered good wishes to my wonderful wife, who also appreciates all the good wishes. She will be having major surgery on Friday the 10th.

While her doctor is saying all of the right things now, until you know you don’t know. I guess I’m channeling my inner Yogi Berra. I also think writing the blog is a good distraction from the bad distraction.

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My brain, or what’s left of it, is still offering strange dreams. Early this morning I dreamt I was in a checkout line in a grocery store. I was having much difficulty remembering what had been rung up and what had not. To add to the confusion, a cashier change occurred while I was in line getting checked out.

When I finally finished I realized that two eggs had somehow escaped from the carton and been broken in the cart. The only comment made by onlookers was, “Gee, I didn’t know you could buy six eggs instead of a dozen.”

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Congratulations to the college football teams of Alabama, Michigan, Georgia and Cincinnati for being named to the College Football Playoff (CFP). Don’t ask me why, but I really wanted Cincinnati to make the playoff. They are the first team from a non Power 5 conference to earn a berth in the CFP, which was instituted in 2014. Discussions are currently underway to devise a playoff system with more than four teams, but–not surprisingly–reaching an agreement has been difficult.

I am not surprised that Alabama was seeded Number One as I don’t think the committee wanted an Alabama-Georgia rematch in the semifinals. Georgia was seeded third and would have played Alabama right away if they had been seeded second. The two teams played yesterday in the SEC Championship with Alabama winning easily over previously undefeated Georgia. I have no idea who’s going to win and don’t really care; I am just hoping for three good games. Besides, any year when Notre Dame doesn’t get in is a good year for me. As I have written before, I have probably watched more college football this season than in the previous ten seasons combined.

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In the nearly four years that I have been writing this blog I have noticed that on Sundays during the NFL season, the number of views/visitors is lower than on every other day of the week. Even though these football fans don’t submit comments they must be reading the blog Monday through Saturday.

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Although my Small Car Saturday feature was a bust, I still have an interest in small cars. I am thinking about showing interesting cars with a wheelbase under 100 inches. Something like this would qualify:

 

 

This is a 1965 Corvette restomod, which was probably my favorite car at the Mecum auction in Arizona in March of 2020. If it still has the stock chassis (I don’t remember), then the wheelbase is 98 inches.

The first few times I was near a C2 Corvette I was surprised at just how small the car seems to be. A C7 Corvette has a wheelbase about 9 inches longer than a C2 although overall length is about 3 inches longer.

Anyway, in this post from earlier this year in which I showed “odd” cars I realized that all of them were on the small side. I guess I must like small cars and this is my blog. I’m not sure if I will make such posts a regular feature with its own title or whether I will just show them from time to time. Any thoughts would be appreciated.

 

#SundaySupplement

#MoreWeirdDreams

#CollegeFootballPlayoff

#SmallCars

#somanycarsjustonelife

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Bon Voyage, Wheeler Dealers

First…another weird/disturbing dream. For some reason I was walking outside in the dark, not my favorite activity. I had a specific destination in mind although the identity of that destination is now lost to dreamland.

As I was walking, lights seemed to be approaching, but the light source didn’t seem well-defined. I thought I discerned headlights, but headlights shrouded in fog, perhaps. Then, as the lights got closer I realized I didn’t have my phone with me, which meant I could not call my wonderful wife and she could not call me. I decided to turn around to get my phone and then I would restart the journey. That is when I woke up. Once again, WTF?!

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Last night, the last US-based episode of Wheeler Dealers aired on Motor Trend. After five (six?) seasons of being based in southern California, the show is returning to its roots and will be produced in the UK.

The episode was a retrospective with the “premise” being that Mike Brewer and Ant Anstead were dismantling the California workshop. It was nice to see Edd China in some of the clips. The fact that Anstead will no longer be the principal mechanic was not mentioned, although the last scene where Brewer drives away without Anstead and leaves him with a bike as transportation may have been intended as a send-off. In the Internet world, secrets about TV production are almost impossible to keep. (Apparently, Anstead is staying in the US and has three shows in the pipeline.)

I told my wonderful wife that even though the show will continue–filming has already started in the UK, in fact–the episode felt like a series finale to me. Although the show has aired since 2003, and since 2011 in the US, I did not start watching until 2016. It was my favorite TV show for about a year until the word that Edd China was leaving the series. His departure is still unexplained, as far as I am concerned. His disapproval of a change in how the garage scenes were to be filmed rings hollow to me; something is missing.

Anyway…I guess I’ll give the new version of the show a look, but something will be missing.

 

See the source image

See the source image

 

The top photo is Mike Brewer (L) and Edd China (R); the bottom is Ant Anstead and Brewer.

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I was originally going to call today’s post To The Letter. If I can trust a couple of sources, then it was on this day in 1955 that Chrysler began its Letter Series cars with the introduction of the C-300. From American Cars For Sale, a picture of a 1955 C-300:

 

See the source image

 

In 1956, the model name was the 300B; for 1957, it was called the 300C, etc. The letter “I” was skipped and the cars were produced through 1965.

These were limited-production automobiles. For example, 1,725 were produced in 1955. (That number is shown as 1,698 by some sources.) In the entire model run of 11 years only about 17,000 were built.

The Letter Series cars were high-performance luxury automobiles. The “300” in C-300 represented the fact that the car’s engine produced 300 HP, high output for 1955. The optional engine for the 1956 300B was the first American motor to produce at least 1 HP per cubic inch being rated at 355 HP from 354 cubic inches.

Since Chrysler wasn’t awash in cash, the Letter Series cars–at least at first–borrowed parts from other corporation products. The 1955 model had a front clip, including the grille, that was taken from the Imperial of the same year, but the rest of the car did not look like an Imperial. The midsection was from a New Yorker hardtop with a Windsor rear quarter.

Not counting the very limited production cars like the Chrysler Ghia ST Special, these are easily my favorite Mopar cars from this period. I am especially fond of the 300B. In fact, the 300B is a darkhorse candidate for Ultimate Garage 3.0.

 

#BonVoyageWheelerDealers

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Another Weird Dream…

The memory of this dream is fading even as I write…

I dreamt I was at a baseball confab like the annual Winter Meetings. Somehow, I knew I didn’t belong there and didn’t interact with anyone. The venue was a luxurious complex (the Baseball Winter Meetings are never held at Motel 6) with a huge and airy lobby. Outside, opulence seemed to be the idiom. I saw long limousines—all in a weird, almost electric light green (once again, so much for men not being able to dream in color)—and other luxury vehicles.

As the meetings came to an end I went to look for my suitcase/travel bags. I found a large bin with many bags and simply grabbed what I hoped were all of my bags and just my bags.

Next thing I knew I was in Baltimore (where I was born and raised), still schlepping my bags and trying to find a way to my mother’s house. (My mother died in 2004, but was alive in this dream, apparently.) At first, I thought I would have to walk and as dusk was approaching this was not a pleasant scenario. This part of the dream is consistent with MANY dreams I had when I was younger that saw me attempting to walk home, often through dangerous neighborhoods, as dusk fell. In this dream, though, I stumbled onto a taxi and after I entered the cab I woke up.

Oh, the coronavirus was part of this dream. Out of habit I extended my hand to shake hands with the cab driver. Reflexively, he reciprocated, but then frowned as we both seemed to understand that this was not the time to shake hands.

What can I say except that it is hell to live inside my brain.

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How many of you have watched Car Fix on Velocity/Motor Trend? This show airs right before episodes of All Girls Garage on Saturday and Sunday mornings.

For the first eight seasons Car Fix was hosted by Lou Santiago and Jared Zimmerman. The latter also had a credit as a “Technical Producer” for his show and All Girls Garage. Season Nine premiered this past Saturday, with two new hosts (Bryan Fuller and Jeremy Bumpus) and, except for Fuller saying “Welcome to the new Car Fix” in the intro, one wouldn’t know anything had changed if this were their first time watching the show. I took a few minutes and searched the Internet for any news about the change, but found nothing.

I am curious as to whether or not Cristy Lee’s departure from All Girls Garage is related to the departure of Santiago and Zimmerman. Maybe Brenton Productions, the company that produces both shows, needed to cut costs. From blogarama a picture of Santiago (R) and Zimmerman (L):

 

See the source image

 

I enjoyed the show with the original hosts; the Season Nine premiere seemed flat, but I could just have been disoriented by the sudden, unannounced change.

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George: “…For I am Costanza, Lord of the Idiots.”

Woman Watching Race: “You’re all winners!”

George: “Suddenly, a new contender has emerged.”

 

Using that to segue to the search for a Corvette companion…a new car has emerged as a strong contender. (It is up to you to decide if I am like George Costanza.) It is a defunct model although not from a defunct make. It is a 21st-century car, which means it will be much more practical to own. This model has a long and distinguished history and would easily fit the bill as a grocery car. From Car Gurus a picture of a 2007 Chevrolet Monte Carlo SS:

 

Picture of 2007 Chevrolet Monte Carlo SS FWD, exterior, gallery_worthy

 

We wouldn’t have to have a 2007 as a 2006 SS would do. Why an ’06 or ’07 SS? Because for just those two years in the last generation the SS was powered by a good old Chevy small-block V-8. More specifically, the 2006-07 Monte Carlo SS had a fuel-injected, 5.3 liter/325 cubic-inch (have to keep Bill Stephens happy) V-8 that produced 303 HP/323 LB-FT of torque. It also has 15 cubic feet of trunk space and two rear seats.

I have written about and showed this car before. I like the looks of almost every generation of Monte Carlo and this last generation is no exception. My wonderful wife really likes this car as well. Of course, 2007 was the last model year for the Monte Carlo and it seems highly unlikely it will ever return. Total Monte Carlo production for 2006-07 was just 43,456 units with only 14,829 of those being SS models. (Yes, as the child of Holocaust survivors I get a slight twinge hearing/reading the letters “SS.” Chevrolet is not a German car.)

We will not have an easy time finding a nice example, but we are not in a hurry. Those that are offered for sale usually have a listing price under $20,000.

I would very much like to read your thoughts about this car. Thanks.

 

#MoreWeirdDreams

#CarFixShakeup

#2007ChevroletMonteCarloSS

#somanycarsjustonelife

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More Weird Dreams

Please take a look at #111 on this list.

 

Last night I dreamt I was back in college. While I don’t know if this dream was set in the present day, I was much older than the rest of the students. Chaos was the operative idiom as people seemed to be everywhere and always in a frenzy.

I simply could not keep up. I was way behind in my reading for my classes AND I had lost my textbooks. Part of the dream was my frantic search for those books. To use a present-day expression for not the first time, what’s up with that?!

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The vast majority of sports announcers are AWFUL in understanding context. In particular, they become breathless when talking about the latest NFL passing record that falls.

When it comes to passing, NFL stats from today cannot be compared to those from, say, fifty years ago without a whole lot of massaging. For the last 40 years, the NFL has gone out of its way to make passing easier and that effort shows in the stats.

The NFL and AFL merged into one league beginning with the 1970 season. Here are the league passing statistics from 1970 and 2019:

 

1970   2019
51.1% Completion Pct 63.8%
6.73 Yards/Attempt 7.27
4.4% Touchdown Pct 4.6%
5.2% Interception Pct 2.3%
65.7 Passer Rating 91.3
181.1 Yards/Game 252.8

 

Someone with an expected completion percentage of 63.8% is 780 times more likely to complete 30 passes consecutively than someone with an expected completion percentage of 51.1%. Someone with an expected completion percentage of 70.0% is 12,598 times more likely to complete 30 passes consecutively than someone with an expected completion percentage of 51.1%.

Of course all of the records for yards, completion percentage, etc. are being set now. The season is longer now as well, 16 games compared to 14 games in 1970. Hey announcers, stop going ga-ga over passing records being set today. They are inevitable given the context. To paraphrase Shakespeare, there is nothing good or bad but context makes it so. Speaking of context, it is easier to have gaudy passing stats playing half of your games indoors:

 

Drew Brees, 2015-2019

Home Passer Rating    114.7

Road Passer Rating       96.5

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The idea of keeping facts in context applies to cars as well, of course. We are spoiled today in that we have automobiles with gobs of horsepower and torque that also get better gas mileage, produce fewer emissions and are intrinsically safer than cars from not that long ago. When I began working in baseball full-time in 1988, a road car like my C7 Corvette Z06 was unimaginable. Even the 1988 Corvette had only 245 HP. The car didn’t have a Tire Pressure Management System, for example, a system now mandatory on all cars. From corvsport.com a picture of a 1988 Corvette:

 

See the source image

 

I have to admit that those wheels look suspiciously like a set from a later generation Corvette, but what do I know? Going off on a tangent (what else is new?!)…I have written before how much the C4 Corvette is growing on me. I really think if someone wants to buy their first Corvette, a later C4 model (say, 1992-1996) is a very good place to start.

 

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#QBGradeInflation

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Serious Sunday

Last week my wonderful wife received news of a less than pleasant nature that can only be interpreted as a life-changing event. Fortunately, it is not health-related. Still, it is yet another example of the random and unfair nature of life. Don’t tell me it’s all part of “the plan” because I don’t buy it.

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I had another strange dream. (It’s OK to think “consider the source.”) I dreamt I was on the set of The Big Bang Theory and two cast members were continually trying to pull pranks on me, but I was always one step ahead. Finally, I just asked them to stop and they agreed to do so. The weird thing (yeah, the dream wasn’t weird at all before) is that I’m not sure if I was actually in an episode and the pranks were part of the plot or if I was an observer/guest on the set. You don’t want to be inside my head…

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Can any of you identify this car? (Picture from Silodrome):

 

See the source image

 

I have been enthralled with this car for a long time after seeing a picture of it in this book:

 

 

OK, you can eliminate half the alphabet. You know I am going to reveal the identity of the car, so why don’t you take a minute and try to guess. (Cue the Final Jeopardy music…)

The car in the picture is an A.C. ME3000 (or 3000ME, I have seen it listed both ways). A prototype of this car was shown as early as 1973, but the car did not enter production until 1979. As is the case with many limited production automobiles, funding was always an issue and the rights to the car eventually belonged to three different companies, at least two of which went bankrupt.

The “ME” stands for mid-engined and I could list the powertrain specs, etc. However, it’s the looks of the car that intrigue me. Depending on the displacement and layout of the engine, mid-engine cars do not have to give up the long hood/short deck look. I think the 3000ME is a great-looking car.

 

#LifeChangingEvent

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