Tuesday Tilt

I’m not a pinball player; to me, tilt means “warning, collapse imminent.” That is not an attempt to make light of the condo collapse in Florida. However, I would like someone to explain to me why so many people live there. (Sorry, Bob.) It’s always humid (in Miami, the average daily dewpoint is 70° or higher from April to October, that’s oppressively humid), there’s lots of lightning and the state is vulnerable to hurricanes. Florida is the sinkhole capital of the world. Miami receives an annual average of 62 inches of rain. People think Seattle is rainy, but it averages 38 inches of precipitation a year. Just sayin’…

The word “tilt” is relevant today because of a dream I had. I dreamt I was going grocery shopping at Wegmans, which is not possible, of course, because they have no stores in Arizona. “Tilt” comes into play because my transportation was one of those three-wheeled motorcycles. No, I neither have nor want one, at least I don’t think so. Anyway…I felt quite free driving this vehicle in part because I could tilt it some. I don’t really know if a three-wheeler can be tilted in a manner similar to a traditional motorcycle, but remember this was just a dream. However, I also felt somewhat afraid that I would tilt it too far and roll the bike over.

When I arrived at Wegmans I realized I wasn’t sure which set of stairs to take up to the store itself. The parking area was below street level. Also, the lack of practicality in where the groceries would fit on the three-wheeler was, apparently, not an issue. I almost walked up the first flight of stairs, but somehow knew that wasn’t the right one. I walked up the next flight and, sure enough, wound up in the store. That’s where the dream ended.

What does that dream mean? I refuse to believe it is just a random filtering of information never intended to be interpreted. Any amateur or professional psychologists out there are welcome to offer an interpretation.


Speaking of psychology, this piece is titled, “Failure of replication in psychology.” One part of this was very interesting to me; it’s about science, in general, and not psychology, in particular.


“A list of “replication failures” does serve to remind us that science is fallible, an ongoing enterprise that is subject to revision. Nothing is “proven” in science; the concept of “proof” is for mathematics, where there’s no “replication crisis.” Science is a Bayesian enterprise, in which accumulating evidence combines to give us more or less confidence in a hypothesis.”


The author then writes,


“But remember, too, that many scientific “facts” are very unlikely to be overturned, and, using any reasonable layperson’s notion of “proof”, have been proved.  A molecule of normal water has two hydrogen atoms and one oxygen atom, the normal form of DNA is a double helix, the speed of light in a vacuum is 299792458 meters per second (roughly 186,000 miles per second) and so on.”


I think some skepticism toward all human endeavors is good. Of course, when to drop the skepticism in light of overwhelming evidence is not always an easy call. What is overwhelming evidence? The average person has no idea about confidence intervals and Nate Silver argues that entire paradigm is flawed, anyway.

To quote André Gide again, “Trust those who seek truth but doubt those who say they have found it.”


A picture from yesterday:



Yes, I am still quite smitten by the desert scenery. You have to remember I grew up in Baltimore, a place with little topography, but with the occasional tall tree that blocked views into the distance.

In the context of Arizona, the mountain closest to us is basically just a tall hill. It is, however, higher in elevation than any place in the entire state of Maryland.


The longest-running car event in the country has resumed and it’s held in Scottsdale, Arizona. I believe the “official” title is the Pavilions Rock-n-Roll Car Show. It was on hiatus for over a year because of the damn virus, but has returned to its weekly schedule.

As I have written, virtually all of the people we meet at these events are friendly. We met a young man named Steven who arrived in his beautiful Honda S2000 and we spoke for 10-15 minutes. I also saw this car, one of my favorites although I think it will fall just short of inclusion in Ultimate Garage 3.0.



This is, of course, a 1987 Buick Grand National. Oh, the lack of cars around the Buick was, unfortunately, representative of attendance at the event. I think the word has not really gotten out that the Pavilions show is back.

Do any of you have a car, or cars, about which you have a similar feeling? By that I mean a car you really like and are always glad to see, but one that does not quite rise to the level of “Ultimate.”











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WTF Wednesday

Today’s first topic was suggested/inspired by a direct Twitter comment to me by Dominic Chu of CNBC.

The FDA decision to pause use of the Johnson and Johnson COVID-19 vaccine is a WTF moment, in my opinion. I was going to express my objections, but I’ll let someone far more qualified do so, Nate Silver:


“6 cases out of 7 million people. What a disaster. This is going to get people killed. And it’s going to create more vaccine hesitancy. These people don’t understand cost-benefit analysis. They keep making mistakes by orders of magnitude.”


Not to pick nits, but since apparently only women developed the blood clots it is closer to 6 cases out of about 3.5 million people, or about 1 in 600,000. That is a mere 1/200th of the frequency with which women taking oral contraceptives develop blood clots, granting the blood clots may not be exactly of the same type. Oral contraceptives are still being sold.

As to whether or not this decision will create more vaccine hesitancy, I believe the vast majority of adults have already decided whether or not they are going to be vaccinated, but on the margin Nate is right. I will also opine that those who choose not to receive a vaccine are clearly on the wrong side of the facts and will clearly be on the wrong side of history. I will, once again, quote Louis Armstrong and Isaac Asimov:


“There are some people that if they don’t know, you can’t tell them.”


“There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there always has been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that ‘my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.’”


Oh, the extreme libertarians are wrong a lot and so are those who have blind faith in government.


While running errands yesterday I saw a “carcass” of one of these being transported on a flatbed truck:


See the source image


From Barrett-Jackson a picture of a 1955 Studebaker Speedster. That was the only year the Speedster was offered and it was introduced as a top of the line model with “upgraded” chrome and brightwork. I consider it a bridge between the original Loewy coupes and the Hawk line that began in 1956.

I have to admit I almost drove off the road trying to ascertain the car’s identity and again when I realized what it was. Of course, since I was driving I could not get a picture. The car was in rough shape, though.

Obviously, I hope the car was being transported to someone who will begin restoring it. Only 2,215 Speedsters were produced.


Let this fact sink in:


More than half (54%) of the 1.7 million unemployed workers age 55 and over are long-term unemployed, according to AARP, an advocacy group for older Americans. (Economists consider long-term unemployment to be a period exceeding six months.)


Of course, I fit in that category as a 55 and older long-term unemployed. Age discrimination is very real, but very difficult to prove. I will once again write that it is absurd that someone with my skills and experience was unable to find a fulfilling and interesting work situation after my baseball career ended. Now, I am in the “discouraged worker” category, I guess.











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