Halfway To What…

At noon today, 2021 will be half over. I don’t know about you, but even with progress against the damn virus and a strong first-half performance in the US equity markets, I don’t think this has been a great year, so far.

As I wrote here, I actually divide events into thirds, as per my OCD. We are now in the second third, or the middle, of meteorological summer. (Today is Day 32 of 92.) Although I have had a surprising ability to tolerate the Arizona summer, I will be happier when it passes. We did receive some rain, though, this morning and may receive more in the coming days as the monsoon season seems to actually be happening this year, unlike last year. Of course, my wonderful wife and I were not living here last summer.

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Friend and former neighbor MB sent me an article–sent to him by another friend and former neighbor, PP–about Robert Wimmer’s testimony in front of the US Senate in March. Wimmer is Toyota’s head of energy and environmental research. Here is one thing he said:

 

“If we are to make dramatic progress in electrification, it will require overcoming tremendous challenges, including refueling infrastructure, battery availability, consumer acceptance, and affordability.”

 

Wimmer also noted that while manufacturers have announced ambitious goals, just 2% of the world’s cars are electric at this point. For price, range, infrastructure, affordability, and other reasons, buyers continue to choose ICE [Internal Combustion Engine] over electric, and that’s even when electric engines are often subsidized with tax breaks to bring price tags down.

Neither Toyota, Wimmer’s company, nor Honda have committed to producing only electric vehicles by 2030 or 2035. [After this post was published, Honda announced its intentions to go all electric by 2040.] The German car companies haven’t done so, either. For example, BMW’s formal goal is to have 50% of its production be electric by 2030.

Of course, committing to producing only electric cars by 2030 or 2035 is not exactly the same thing as saying that all vehicles in use will be electric by then. I will also offer the politically incorrect opinion that the announced mad dash to EVs by Ford and GM is as much about trying to get their stock price to perform like Tesla stock as it is about anything else. Five years ago, Tesla’s stock was trading at about $40/share. Today, it’s almost $700/share.

I maintain that for the next 10-20 years, a large part of the market for vehicles will still want to buy ICE-powered cars and trucks. For me, I have learned to never say never. While I would not consider buying an EV in the near term, I–like all humans–am not really that good at predicting the future. I would, however, buy one of these before I would buy an EV:

 

See the source image

 

From autonxt.net a picture of a Toyota Supra. Remember that this part of today’s post began by referring to Robert Wimmer’s testimony and he works for Toyota.

Have a great holiday weekend…

 

#HalfwayToWhat

#OCD

#MadDashToEvs

#ToyotaSupra

#somanycarsjustonelife

#disaffectedmusings

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Fried Chicken

In one of his books Bill James wrote something like, “It’s hard to compare the pizza you’re eating now to the fried chicken you ate three weeks ago.” He was trying to illustrate the importance of temporal proximity to judgment.

In A List For Saturday I showed a list of my favorite songs with lyrics. Even though I wrote that it was probably an incomplete list, one omission was quite glaring: “Riders On The Storm” by The Doors, of course.

I have the 45, but don’t think I have a digital copy (at least not as I write this) so I just don’t hear it when I listen to music from my iPhone. What reminded me of how much I like the song was hearing it today on the way back from a breakfast run to Chick-Fil-A.

Maybe I just need to stop worrying about lists, about trying to make order out of chaos. (Yes, I should just ignore my OCD. Why haven’t I thought of that before? [sarcasm]) One of the reasons I haven’t published my Ultimate Garage 3.0 is I am agonizing over the Cadillac XLR and Saturn Sky.

In Ultimate Garage 2.0 I left both cars out because familiarity with them had left me a little sour. I had a friend who bought two XLRs new and both had to be repurchased by Cadillac under our state’s lemon law while my wonderful wife and I had test-driven a Sky and were put off by the interior.

I have not driven most of the cars that are likely to be a part of 3.0 if it is published. Is it fair to exclude the XLR and Sky because I am more familiar with them? This reminds me of the obstacle that caused my Masters Thesis to be completed much later than I had hoped.

I was trying to figure out a way to apply the significant cost of player development in baseball to a player’s Marginal Revenue Product (MRP) in the hopes of being the first to calculate a net MRP. I just couldn’t get my head around how to apply player development costs to each player, in large part because much, sometimes even most, of a team’s major league roster was originally in another team’s organization.

One of my former professors finally told me that I was worrying too much about nothing, that any reasonable solution would suffice. That pushed me to an idea that had been percolating for awhile and I used it in my thesis, “Pay and Performance in Major League Baseball, The Early Free Agency Era.”

So, what should I do about the XLR and the Sky? I’m all eyes; I can’t be all ears because I can’t hear you.

 

See the source image

See the source image

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I found each of these pieces to be interesting reads, Article 1 and Article 2. It might be difficult for those of you reading to realize they were written by a Democrat. I suspect he would be labeled a traitor by the lunatic component of the party, a group that–in my opinion–grows larger all the time. One of these pieces addresses my pet theory of increasing temporal arrogance.

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It’s only about a month until I take my Z06 in for the “bolt-on” application that will increase horsepower, torque and decibels. Of course, one of the cool things about the NPP exhaust option for C7 Corvettes (standard on the Z06) is that with a couple of touches on the screen I can quiet the exhaust. The cost is 5-10 HP.

 

 

Will that be the end of the performance upgrades? If you ask me now I would say yes. If you ask me in a year, I don’t know what I would say.

 

#FriedChicken

#RidersOnTheStorm

#OCD

#Woke=Evil

#My2016CorvetteZ06

#somanycarsjustonelife

#disaffectedmusings

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PS, this post about the disturbing trend of ideology being injected into science is also worth reading. I will note, though, that since science is an endeavor of human beings it can never be purely objective.

 

Friday “The Thirteenth”

I’m going to let you in on an OCD manifestation of mine. I hate the number 13. To me, today–8/21–is a bad day because 8 from 21 is 13. No, I do not interpret today as .381, which is 8 divided by 21.

It’s not a superstition, I think, but I could be wrong. In any event, virtually all of my OCD manifestations are internal, which means no one else sees them or even knows they exist. They do exist, though. The number of stars in the post “divider” below is always the same number and a reason exists for that number.

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From this article comes a debunking of claims made by proponents of “Medicare for All.” The first one listed is that such a “program” will save money because Medicare is efficient. From the piece:

 

“Medicare’s stated administrative expense is 1.1% which is an accounting mirage. Medicare receives free services from other federal agencies (NY Times, Austin Frakt) and calculates its efficiency based on total dollars spent, rather than per beneficiary…The Veterans Administration claimed it was more efficient than Medicare, while being a hornet’s nest of fraud and abuse. Federal claims of efficiency should always be suspect.”

 

“Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored.”

– Aldous Huxley

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From Corvette Blogger an article reporting that General Motors has issued a stop delivery order on new Corvettes until the “Frunk” recall is ready. It has been reported there and elsewhere that some drivers of 2020 Corvettes have had issues with the front trunk (Frunk) lid opening on its own while the car is in motion. More from Corvette Blogger:

 

“…because GM has notified the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) that a Recall was in play for the 2020 Corvette, they are also obligated by law to halt deliveries of any new vehicles until the remedy (i.e., software update) can be installed.”

“…We are hearing now that the Stop Delivery Order is for ‘certain 2020 Corvettes’ and, as an example, we heard that the Rapid Blue 2020 Corvette Convertible that was delivered to Criswell Chevrolet today can, in fact, be delivered to its new owners. So it appears that the Assembly Plant has been able to update the latest shipments before they are being sent to dealerships.”

 

Apparently, the solution is, indeed, a software update. Computers on wheels, but in this case a very good looking and very fast computer.

 

See the source image

 

From Corvette Mike a picture of a 2020 Z51 Corvette in Sebring Orange. You may recall that when I decided to buy a seventh-generation (C7) Z06 I originally wanted to buy one in orange. I bought a 2016 model; the Orange for that year was called Daytona Sunrise Orange and only 251 Z06 coupes were made with that color, which made one hard to find. Of the 11 colors available on 2016 Corvettes, Daytona Sunrise Orange was third from the bottom in usage on Z06 coupes and one of the colors “behind” it was Admiral Blue that was not available until late in the 2016 model run.

As a Corvette fan and owner I hope the “Frunk” issue is the only defect in the new Vette. As I have written before, I think if the C8 fails then the Corvette will be history.

 

#OCD

#SayNoToMedicareForAll

#Frunkified

#C8Corvette

#somanycarsjustonelife

#disaffectedmusings

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What To Say Saturday

The flash drive with my copy of the Action! PC Football 2020 NFL game arrived in the mail yesterday. Like every other piece of mail since the coronavirus situation exploded, the envelope was disinfected and will stay “quarantined” for at least two days before I open it. Yes, there are no documented cases of transmission via mail. Uh, tell that to my OCD brain.

Unfortunately for me, behaviors adopted ostensibly for the crisis will almost certainly continue for the rest of my life. I think millions of people, tens of millions, will develop a type of PTSD that could affect them for a long time, if not the rest of their lives.

I do not pretend to know what is the right path for governments and their citizens to adopt in terms of “normalization.” Some countries, like Sweden, didn’t really lockdown. The government issued voluntary guidelines for behavior while emphasizing keeping a distance from vulnerable segments of the population, like the elderly. The Swedish government’s goal was to reach herd immunity.

In South Korea, the country was also not ever placed under a mandatory stay-at-home order. However, the South Korean government instituted widespread testing and contact tracing. If someone in your neighborhood tested positive, the entire neighborhood received texts naming the person(s) and their address(es). I don’t think most US citizens would tolerate that type of government “intrusion” even if it saves lives. My understanding (blogger engages in frantic Internet search to find articles with data, but comes up empty) is that South Korea has had very low rates of infection and death without the total disruption to the economy that other countries, like the US, have experienced.

Even people with MDs and Ph.Ds in epidemiology don’t KNOW what the “optimal” path for policy is. Their guesses are better informed than most of the rest of us, but they don’t KNOW. However, doing nothing and pretending the situation doesn’t exist is almost certainly not the best course of action.

As I may have written before, my routine has been affected far less than most people. I don’t “work” and I don’t have a large group of people with whom I socialize on a regular basis. Basically, my wonderful wife and I can’t dine out, can’t attend car shows or visit antique stores. Still, perception is reality even if it isn’t. I perceive that my life has been radically altered and some of my behavior reinforces that perception.

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Executing a hard turn…how about this as a Corvette companion/grocery car?

 

Used 2008 Maserati GranTurismo Coupe Kenner, LA 70065 - 550668987 - 4

 

From this AutoTrader ad a picture of a 2008 Maserati GranTurismo. This BEAUTIFUL car is in Grigio Touring Metallic over Grigio Medio. That’s basically Gray over Gray.

This example has 16,600 miles and the seller, a dealer in Louisiana, is asking $25,880. According to the ad, the Kelley Blue Book® value range is $26,431 to $30,558. It is rare to see a dealer ask less than the low end of this range.

The Maserati GranTurismo qualifies as a grocery car because it has four seats and a trunk. The fact that it has 405 HP/339 LB-FT of torque and is a beautiful car are just bonuses, really. It’s a good thing I’m not Pinocchio because my nose would be growing…

My wonderful wife would prefer a convertible and I would prefer an S spec car, but those cost more money. For a little more than 40 percent of what we paid for each of our Corvettes, we could have a stylish, high-performance Italian car with a Ferrari engine. Neither of us has ever owned an Italian car.

Any thoughts on this car? This is not the Maserati 3200GT that was voted out, 3-2, but is obviously similar. I just want this coronavirus situation to go away so we can proceed with our lives and move to the desert.

 

#OCD

#PTSD

#2008MaseratiGranTurismo

#somanycarsjustonelife

#disaffectedmusings

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OCD For The Holidays

I wasn’t going to post today or tomorrow, almost no one reads blogs on these days, but can you say OCD? I can rationalize this post by saying I am trying to reach a certain number of views for the month or a “milestone” in number of visitors since the beginning of this blog. Both are nominally true, and it’s also true that more people read Disaffected Musings on days I post, but I am just compelled to write. Reminds me of a line from the movie Throw Momma From The Train…Billy Crystal plays a frustrated writer who teaches a writing class. His character often says, “A writer writes, always” to motivate his students although the line is also an indication of his dissatisfaction with life.

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Speaking of dissatisfaction, I have to admit that December 23rd is actually not a pleasant day for me. If you didn’t read yesterday’s post, December 23rd, 1987 was the day I was offered my first full-time job in baseball. While I achieved a lot in my 20+ years in baseball, such as becoming a “father” of Moneyball and earning two championship rings with my name on them, I have been out of the game for almost a decade. I did not really leave of my own accord.

People do not judge life events by an “objective reality,” but against expectations and the status quo.

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See the source image

 

I have been re-watching the Mecum Auction broadcast from Phoenix that I recorded in March. I saved the episode for many reasons, but one was the amazing group of cars offered for sale. This picture from curbsideclassic.com is a 1955 Chrysler Ghia ST Special. One of these, one of just four that were made, was offered at that auction. The Mecum car was in brown and white, not my favorite colors for a car although it still looked great. The car was bid to $450,000, but not sold.

In green the car does bear a resemblance to the Continental Mark II of 1956-57, which I also think is a handsome car. I REALLY have come to understand why people have car collections. I am also still figuring out how I can get into the car business, somehow. Hey, Dana Mecum! I know someone with a great combination of analytical and communication skills who wants to write and to crunch numbers for your company!

Thanks for reading.

 

#OCD

#ChryslerGhiaSTSpecial

#MecumAuctions

#somanycarsjustonelife

#disaffectedmusings

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Crypto Crash

The title of this post is not a prediction; it’s a statement. This CNBC article was very interesting to me. Here are the bullet points at the beginning of the article:

  • The entire crypto market has lost roughly 65 percent of its value as of Thursday but some coins have fared worse than others.
  • CNBC compiled a list of what a $1,000 at the peak of the crypto hype would have yielded in some of the most popular cryptocurrencies.
  • XRP has been the worst bet, down 92 percent since its high in January.

The “main” cryptocurrency, Bitcoin, is down 65 percent compared to its peak. If you had purchased $1,000 of Bitcoin at its peak, your “investment” would be worth $350 as of yesterday.

Could these “currencies” see a resurgence in value in the future? Of course, but that doesn’t mean they have intrinsic value and that doesn’t mean they won’t have another bust (or implosion) later.

I have a graduate degree in Economics, I held FINRA licenses for five years and I have had success in investing with the family portfolio. The interest in cryptocurrency is a mystery to me. It’s like a group of people have decided to unilaterally change the rules without any basis.

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A picture of a peaceful sunrise for, hopefully, a peaceful day. I took this during one of my many early morning excursions to get breakfast at my local Dunkin Donuts.

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I just can’t get this car out of my head:

Used 2007 Saturn Sky in Media, PA - 492829535 - 2

From autotrader.com a picture of a 2007 Saturn Sky Red Line, which means it has the turbocharged 2.0-liter (122 cubic inches, have to keep Bill Stephens happy; I wonder what the odds are that he will ever read this blog?) 4-cylinder engine that produced 260 HP. My brain is so messed up with all of the cars that I would like to own. I mean just yesterday I visited a “local” Corvette restomod shop for an hour and was graciously shown the entire place. This establishment has been in business for 30 years and they will do everything a customer wants from A to Z including finding a donor car. So why am I thinking about a Saturn Sky Red Line? I guess that’s the definition of OCD.

Anyway, the seller (a dealer) is asking about $11,500 for the Red Line. These cars were produced in such small quantities (only about 34,000 in total and that’s all Skys and not just the Red Line) that I believe value is difficult to ascertain. No, I am not going to buy a Saturn Sky, but it sure sounds good.

What cars do you think about? Once again, I am asking for comments and/or constructive criticism. I am too old to do all of the work. 🙂