Munday Mosings

What do you call a cow that has just given birth?

Decalfinated…

My wonderful wife and I watch The Incredible Dr. Pol and Heartland Docs on Nat Geo Wild. The joke that begins today’s post was shown on the latter, posted on the marquis outside of the vets’ office.

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I think the Internet gremlins have punished the 365 Days Of Motoring website for not being secure as the site is no longer accessible. Although I wasn’t using the site as often as I had been as a source for blog material, it’s a little disappointing that it is not available.

Sometimes, I have toyed with the idea of writing an idiosyncratic history of the automobile industry, at least of the US. The fact that automotive reference books are not updated anymore tells me that’s not a good idea. Of course, the publishing industry has undergone a sea change away from big publishing houses and toward individuals and e-publishing.

Speaking of automotive reference books:

 

 

I wanted to acknowledge the book that is the core of Threes And Sevens. While information in that post series comes from multiple sources, this is the source that provides the most.

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I am supposed to pick up the Buick Cascada tomorrow. Of course, a snag has occurred. To be safe, I thought I would wire the money today. Wires are usually received on the same day. Well, this is probably the first time that our brokerage company of almost 15 years has let me down.

When I went to initiate the wire instructions, the little message on the screen indicated the wire could not be sent today, but that tomorrow was the first available day. I hope the dealership receives the funds before our scheduled pickup, but who knows at this point? (PS, apparently today is a federal holiday. I had no idea.) Once again, a picture of the car:

 

 

I have still not perused automobile listings on the Internet since agreeing to buy the Cascada. However, I am still looking at real estate listings for houses with at least a 4-car garage.

The number of homes with exactly a 4-car garage in our desired areas and with a few other criteria is usually about 30. However, many of those are actually in an unincorporated part of Maricopa County and the homes do not have public sewer or city water. The reason they appear in a search is that they are in a zip code where we would consider living. We would never consider living in a house without public sewer/water, though.

The de facto number of desirable and affordable listings is usually only two or three. Believe it or not, I have found homes with a 5-car or 6-car garage that are affordable and in a desirable location. Recently, I even found an affordable house with a 7-car garage. This exercise is not about an imminent move. I am simply trying to reassure us that when the time comes and we make the move to a single-level home we will be able to expand our garage space as well as our lot size. Those “deficiencies” stick in my craw.

To those of you who say I am ungrateful about having a nice house in a nice neighborhood and conclude that I must be a “glass half-empty” type of person, I remind you that I don’t even see the glass. Life is short and I think we should do whatever is possible to make ourselves happy as long as it’s legal and doesn’t intentionally hurt others. Oh, we shouldn’t bankrupt ourselves in the process, either.

 

As always, I welcome thoughtful comments.

 

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#TheAmericanAuto

#TryToBeHappy

#somanyCARSjustonelife

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Munday Mosings

Who said this?

 

“Those who claim that the availability of firearms is not a factor in murders in this country are not facing reality.”

 

That remark was uttered by none other than long-time FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover. Yep, J. Edgar Hoover. Who wrote the following?

 

“I also wish that during the years I was in public office, I had had this firsthand experience about the difficulties business people face every day. That knowledge would have made me a better U.S. senator and a more understanding presidential contender.

Today we are much closer to a general acknowledgment that government must encourage business to expand and grow…We intuitively know that to create job opportunities we need entrepreneurs who will risk their capital against an expected payoff. Too often, however, public policy does not consider whether we are choking off those opportunities.”

 

The actual passage is much longer. Would you believe the author was the one-time darling of liberal America, George McGovern?

To clarify, I used J. Edgar Hoover as someone who was supposed to represent the “Right” part of the American political spectrum advocating a position that today’s “Right-Wingers” refuse to consider. I used George McGovern as someone who was supposed to represent the “Left” part of the spectrum also advocating a position that today’s “Left” will not acknowledge.

Blind adherence to any ideology is the road to ruin. It will be the road to the dissolution of the US.

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Here are links to a couple of posts from Why Evolution Is True.

 

Fracas at Washington Post leads to firing of reporter

Here is a brief passage from this post:

 

“Even I [the blog author], a free-speech defender who would argue that Sonmez has the right to say what she wants on public media, cannot argue that the paper must keep her on whatever she says, including accusing it of being racist. This is one of the consequences of public speech: you are not free of disapprobation by your employer.”

 

Freedom of speech does NOT mean freedom from consequences. Freedom of speech does not mean that everyone, or anyone for that matter, has to listen nor does it remove the responsibility to be informed. Too many people forget the axiom that it is often better to be silent and thought the fool than to open one’s mouth and to remove all doubt.

 

American hospitals refuse to adhere to new price transparency law

 

Medical care is the only good or service that one purchases without having real a priori knowledge of how much it will cost. Any law is only as good as its enforcement.

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This piece from Classic Cars is about a new exhibit featuring Postwar Turnpike Cruisers at the Audrain Museum in Newport, Rhode Island. My wonderful wife and I spent a week in Newport one year to celebrate our wedding anniversary. Of course, with my luck the museum was closed while we were there so it could change over to a new set of exhibits.

While I don’t think a Plymouth Superbird or Oldsmobile 4-4-2 really counts as a turnpike cruiser, some of the cars in the exhibit are the very definition of such an automobile. From Audrain via Classic Cars are pictures of some of the cars in the exhibit:

 

1957 Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz

 

From top to bottom: a 1948 Hudson Commodore (that was the first model year for Hudson’s Step-Down design), a 1957 Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz and a 1965 Chrysler Imperial that was a gift from Spencer Tracy to Katharine Hepburn.

I think some of those Hudson models from 1948 through the last ones that were really Hudsons and not badge-engineered Nashes are quite stylish. It is a 1-in-300,000,000 shot I will ever be in a position to do so, but if I were I would probably buy one of these Hudsons and have it resto-modded.

 

As always, I ask that you tell your friends about the blog, feel free to submit thoughtful comments and to click on any ad in which you have genuine interest. Thanks.

 

#MundayMosings

#TurnpikeCruisers

#HudsonStepDown

#somanyCARSjustonelife

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Munday Mosings

For the fifth post with this title…my wonderful wife asked our server, “Is the beef for the taco salad spicy?” He replied, “No, it’s not spicy at all.” He either lied or was misinformed; the beef in my taco salad that was yesterday’s lunch was spicy.

I realize that eating at a “Mexican” restaurant carries the risk–for me–of spicy food, of the vile weed cilantro being used in many dishes. Still, when the server replies that an item is not spicy that should be good enough.

My GI tract has been unhappy since lunch yesterday. Perhaps I should have sent the item back after the first bite, but figured the sour cream would at least partly mitigate the spiciness. In terms of mouth feel it did, but the sour cream didn’t fool my stomach.

I recognize, of course, that here in Arizona the Latin American influence in food is significant. I also know that, in general, American restaurants have been making their food spicier for a long time.

My first experience with this was while I was working for the Baltimore Orioles. Not far from Memorial Stadium was a grocery store, with which I shared a name, that also made sandwiches and other “prepared” food items. Every Thursday was taco salad day.

I went almost every Thursday, either with friends or by myself. One Thursday the sauce that one could pour over the salad was much spicier than it had been previously. Of course, I didn’t know that until I had returned to the stadium. I ate very little of the salad that day.

Figuring that experience was an aberration, I dutifully returned the following Thursday for taco salad day. Much to my chagrin, the sauce was very spicy once again. I asked someone at the store about the taco salad sauce and they said they had recently changed the recipe. I never ate the taco salad again.

If you like spicy food, then by all means eat it. DON’T assume that everyone else likes it or should like it. Using Pareto as a guide, I would estimate that about 20% of Americans don’t like and/or can’t tolerate spicy food. Tyranny of the majority is still tyranny. OK, maybe tyranny is too strong a word in this context, but those of us in the 20% should still be able to dine out.

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Speaking of the Baltimore Orioles, for whom I worked from 1988 to 1994:

 

 

These are the first two pages of the annual statement for the pension plan that pays me every month and has since August, 2015. I also receive this statement from the San Diego Padres. Yes, I find it odd that for 2019 and 2020 the funding target attainment percentage was 100% while last year’s was 107%.

I could not live on my pension alone, but it’s a nice income supplement. As to why I started receiving it almost as soon as I was eligible, I spent months calculating the Net Present Value (NPV) of the pension stream at age 55–the first age I could begin collecting–and assuming I live to 80 using all sorts of fixed and variable discount rate models. The NPV hardly varied regardless of when I would start receiving the pension. As I have recounted, I decided to begin collecting on the day that most closely matched my last day as a full-time baseball operations employee and that I wanted to make MLB make nearly as many payments to me as possible until they put me in the ground or in an urn.

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I am reluctant to make generalizations, but I strongly suspect that many wives would ask, “Why do you need another car?” or “Why don’t we have just one car?” if their husband indicated he wanted to buy a car and a less than practical one, at that. My wonderful wife, however, is encouraging me to buy one and even suggested one I had sort of dismissed.

 

See the source image

 

From Mecum Auctions a picture of a 2007 Cadillac XLR offered at their Houston event in 2019. I must admit that I was in awe of the looks of this car from the first time I saw one at the annual Dallas Auto Show.

I was put off by the price, which is why I bought my second Corvette in February, 2007 instead of an XLR. While they’re not really cheap used, I can almost certainly buy one in the $25,000 range.

With my Z06 still in the shop, having only one car at our disposal has been an inconvenience. As for a grocery car/taxi being more practical, the number of days in a year when we might want to “carry” passengers is in single digits and, believe it or not, the Z06 is more than adequate as a grocery car especially considering we buy a lot of our groceries on Amazon.

My wife is wonderful, indeed.

 

#MundayMosings

#IHATESpicyFood

#MLBPension

#MyWonderfulWife

#CadillacXLR

#somanyCARSjustonelife

#disaffectedmusings

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Munday Mosings

Wish me luck…my Z06 is at the Chevrolet dealer. Of course, getting the car on the flatbed did NOT go off without a hitch. Another kick in the shins…too tired and disgusted to get into details. Thanks to Tim for his yeoman efforts to make it work.

 

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The Mayo Clinic has, so far at least, lived up to its reputation. Although I was not able to get there until Friday afternoon, all testing results were sent to me before Noon on Saturday.

My inflammatory process is “purely” inflammatory as opposed to being secondary to something else like an infection. That, like everything else, is both good and bad. It means a progression to sepsis is almost certainly off the table, but treatment will be more difficult. Stress is not good for the body and can contribute to systemic inflammation. Hard to turn off the stress spigot right now, though.

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A couple of links to posts on Why Evolution Is True:

 

Yes, Virginia, the New York Times is woke.

Haidt on the seemingly irreparable brokenness of American life

 

From the second post:

 

Haidt avers that “the warped ‘accountability’ of social media has also brought injustice—and political dysfunction in three ways.” I’ll give quotes:

1.) First, the dart guns of social media give more power to trolls and provocateurs while silencing good citizens. Research by the political scientists Alexander Bor and Michael Bang Petersen found that a small subset of people on social-media platforms are highly concerned with gaining status and are willing to use aggression to do so. . .

2.) Second, the dart guns of social media give more power and voice to the political extremes while reducing the power and voice of the moderate majority.

3.) Finally, by giving everyone a dart gun, social media deputizes everyone to administer justice with no due process. Platforms like Twitter devolve into the Wild West, with no accountability for vigilantes. A successful attack attracts a barrage of likes and follow-on strikes. Enhanced-virality platforms thereby facilitate massive collective punishment for small or imagined offenses, with real-world consequences, including innocent people losing their jobs and being shamed into suicide. When our public square is governed by mob dynamics unrestrained by due process, we don’t get justice and inclusion; we get a society that ignores context, proportionality, mercy, and truth.

All of this rings true, of course, but Haidt also cites a number of studies supporting his arguments. He sees “stupidity” on both the Right and Left that has been promoted by social media…

 

For the nth time, I am aware of the “inconsistency” of someone writing a blog and having a Twitter account being critical of so-called social media. I stick to my criticism, though. For the nth plus one time, in my opinion the only solution is dissolution. Oh, Zark Muckerberg should be jailed for treason.

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With the virtual certainty that repairs to the Z06 will be in four figures, at least, the probability of further tuning, either now or in the future, asymptotically approaches zero. I don’t really believe in “signs” or “karma,” but with so many negative events recently occurring involving all three cars that we have/had, I will just bow to fate and retreat.

However, I am still interested in acquiring something like a Saturn Sky Red Line in the next 12-18 months. With my feelings toward Cadillac still sour due to the treatment we received from the local dealer, as great as my “academic” interest is in the Allante and XLR, I just don’t think I could buy one in the near future.

One Sky Red Line in Forest Green (my preferred color) was available locally, but just sold over the weekend. I also wouldn’t mind Bluestone Metallic, only available on 2007 and 2008 model year cars and not even available for all of ’07. That color was also only ever used on the Sky among all GM cars ever built.

 

See the source image

 

Once again, the Sky ALWAYS grabs my attention when I see one. The heart wants what it wants.

 

#MundayMosings

#WokeIsACult

#SocialMediaIsDangerous

#TheOnlySolutionIsDissolution

#SaturnSkyRedLine

#somanyCARSjustonelife

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Munday Mosings

I have never been a fan of Tom Brady. Although I am well aware of the hyper-competitive nature of professional athletes–I did work in major league baseball for 20+ years–Brady’s competitiveness seems beyond pathological.

What he does with his life is his business, of course, but “un-retiring” weeks after making a retirement announcement seems very “off” to me.  Could it be given the news regarding Aaron Rodgers, Russell Wilson and DeShaun Watson that Brady just had to get back into the spotlight?

One of my favorite movies is Quiz Show, which is about the TV game show scandals of the 1950s. Herb Stempel (played by John Turturro) was a very successful contestant on the show Twenty-One. I don’t remember the context of this remark, but Richard Goodwin (a US Congressional lawyer investigating the game shows and played by Rob Morrow) says about Stempel, “He’ll have to be dragged from the spotlight with his teeth marks on it.” Maybe that describes Brady as well.

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My wonderful wife and I attended two car gatherings yesterday. The first proved not to be our cup of tea although, at first, we were pleased that it was a much younger crowd than attends most such events here. We were most definitely outsiders. Almost all of the cars were German or Japanese and most of them were heavily modified. The good thing about the Japanese leaning was that a lot of these cars were there:

 

 

When I write “a lot” I mean like three or four. These are, of course, Nissan GT-Rs. Even in this car-crazy part of the world, these automobiles are not seen often. Here is another photo from this event.

 

 

Yes, that is my Z06 parked next to a new Toyota Supra. I texted this photo to my (i)ncomparable niece who is currently visiting her father in Israel. She is a huge fan of the Supra.

Since we were not far from there at this gathering, we headed east to Fountain Hills where a local restaurant “hosts” a show every Sunday except during the hottest part of the year. This event is much more typical of those held in the area both in terms of age of participants and types of cars seen. Unlike the first event at which Corvettes were rare, this was a typical sight in Fountain Hills.

 

 

The bottom photo was my attempt to show seven C1 Corvettes lined up in a row. I think all eight Corvette generations were represented here. Yes, I will include the obligatory scenery shot from yesterday although I have taken many such views from all over the Phoenix area in our 16+ months here.

 

 

Of course, that shot could have been taken in California as was this shot sans lake:

 

 

As always, I welcome thoughtful comments.

 

#MundayMosings

#ArizonaCarCulture

#somanycarsjustonelife

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Munday Mosings

Two nights ago I dreamt that my wonderful wife, her parents and I were dining out. At one point, my wife’s mother said, “This is the last time you will see me.” Then she put her head on the table and began to cry. I reached across the table to hold her hand.

My wonderful wife’s mother died in late October. Any psychologists out there who want to interpret that dream?

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I don’t know why this story is sticking in my head. When I worked for the Padres I did a lot of traveling. I accompanied the team on some road trips each season; I attended the Winter Meetings and the General Manager Meetings. I used to visit the Arizona Fall League each year for a week or ten days (I would write that’s prophetically ironic, but our spring training was held in Arizona as well–I guess that’s more traveling) and I even attended a symposium for salary arbitration practitioners with our team counsel and another person, baseball’s soon-to-be wonder boy, Uifp Fqtufjo. That’s an easily decoded cypher for his real name.

Returning to San Diego after one trip and driving into the apartment complex in which I was living, the shuttle driver remarked that it must be nice to be going home. I said, “This isn’t home. This is my most familiar hotel.”

Even after I met my wonderful wife and moved in with her (almost exactly 23 years ago), California never felt like home. To be honest, one reason I accepted the position with the Padres is that I thought the team was going to be moved to Washington, DC and I would be able to go “home.” The best-laid plans of mice and men…

While meeting my wonderful wife was, obviously, the best result from moving to the Left Coast, I accomplished a lot. In the three full seasons I worked for the Padres near the top of the Baseball Operations pyramid, they won two division titles and one National League championship.

 

 

One change I am going to attempt is to be less negative about my situation and about life in general. While my inability to establish a fulfilling and satisfying career after baseball will always bother me, I am trying to remember more positive things.

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Speaking of “careers,” I wrote here about how I was offered a job at an auto museum after speaking with a docent for two minutes. Well, the same thing happened again on Saturday. My wonderful wife and I finally visited a local automobile museum after talking about it for months. This museum is in the process of moving to a larger location.

After chatting with the guide/docent on duty for just a few minutes, he insisted I give him my name and number so we could chat more about my working there after the move is complete. I know this sounds arrogant and selfish, but something just rubs me the wrong way about giving away my time. However, in the spirit of being more positive I am considering volunteering at the museum, probably just one day a week.

Here are some pictures from the depleted inventory of display cars:

 

 

Supposedly, Jay Leno keeps asking to buy this very rare 1930 Duesenberg Model J Boattail Speedster. The next car made me happy as it was an Alvis, the make I featured as the “A” car in Cars A To Z.

 

 

Lest you think the remaining inventory consisted solely of pre-war cars:

 

 

If I do volunteer, would it be inappropriate for me to point out that putting the word “convertible” on the sign in front of this car is redundant since all Corvettes before 1963 were convertibles? One of my idiosyncratic favorites was even on display:

 

 

Of course, I prefer the coupe, but seeing a Buick Reatta at an automobile museum made me smile.

Any thoughts any of you have about any of this would be appreciated.

 

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#WhenHomeIsNotHome

#ToVolunteerOrNotToVolunteer

#somanycarsjustonelife

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Munday Mosings

On a gray, rainy day that matches my mood…

When we were young Dr. Zal and I liked to play word games, like saying words backwards. (Stloc Eromitlab Eht) We would then have friendly arguments how consonant blends that did not actually occur in English should be pronounced.

We also liked spoonerisms, especially in a two-word phrase or name where the first letter of each word was the same. [Spoonerism: Noun, a verbal error in which a speaker accidentally transposes the initial sounds or letters of two or more words, often to humorous effect, as in the sentence you have hissed the mystery lectures, accidentally spoken instead of the intended sentence you have missed the history lectures.]

Today’s post title is an example of our “solution” to such phrases or names. We would move to the next letter and if they were different we would transpose those. I still engage in spoonerisms, but usually just in my mind and not aloud. I don’t adhere to any hard and fast rule how to do them, though. For example, the TV show title “American Pickers” (one of the only shows I watch on a regular basis) is “Spoonerized” as Pamerican Ickers and not Pmerican Aickers. I keep telling you it’s hell to be inside my head.

Do young people today do anything except use “social media” and play video games? Who would Albert Einstein become if he had been born and raised today? As mentioned previously, I do not subscribe to “The Cult Of The New” where all new things are automatically seen as being improvements on older things. Anecdotal evidence of the deleterious effect of smartphones, social media and video games exists in droves. For example, companies report that a large proportion of recent college graduates are unable to have a face-to-face conversation with another person.

My wonderful wife and I do not have children. While I’m sure we have missed out on many great moments, we have also been spared the constant challenge of setting appropriate limits and dealing with the influx of the new, de-personalizing technology. By the way, I would “spoonerize” constant challenge as chonstant callenge.

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This article from Hagerty is titled “6 late-model sports cars to buy, sell, or hold.” (Of course, the strict grammarian in me would say “6” should be “Six.”) Two cars are listed in each category. Obviously, the assumption is that Hagerty can predict the trend in future values of specific models.

One of the two cars “to buy” is what I consider to be the only ugly car Ferrari has ever made, the FF. Obviously, I don’t care if Hagerty thinks their value is about to increase; I would never buy a car that I think is ugly, even if it’s a Ferrari. One reader wrote this:

 

“How can the FF ever be a “buy”? Give it a 1,000 hp and levitation – it doesn’t matter, it will always be the Pontiac Aztek of Ferrari.”

 

Amen! No, I did not submit that comment.

Both of the cars listed “to sell” are Ferraris, the 2007-2011 Ferrari 599 GTB and the 2010-2015 Ferrari 458 Italia. From the Hagerty piece a picture of the latter:

 

2011 Ferrari 458 Italia

 

The exterior design is a dead giveaway that the car is mid-engined. I was surprised to see that Hemmings has eight of these cars currently listed for sale with asking prices ranging from $139,000 to $366,900. That is quite a range. I don’t know anywhere near enough about Ferrari to know if such a range is justified by differences in mileage, condition, options, etc. Given that the price of a new 488, the successor to the 458, can be in the $300,000 range, $139,000 doesn’t sound too bad.

Here is some of Hagerty’s write-up on the 458 Italia:

 

“…We’ve noted a slide in the insured values of the mid-engine sports car, and despite a slight growth in insurance quoting activity, it’s not enough to set aside the fact that the 458 will be a depreciating asset. Now may be the time to sell and pick up something that’s more stable.”

 

What do you think? Even if most people can’t afford a Ferrari, new or used, I think car people can understand relative value.

By the way, Dirty Dingus McGee actually ranked the three choices in the “Z06 Companion Contest.” I think that’s a great idea so, if you can, please rank the 1963 Avanti, the 1965 Riviera and the 1987 Grand National. Thanks.

 

#MundayMosings

#Spoonerism

#Ferrari458Italia

#somanycarsjustonelife

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