Sullen Sunday

Originally, I had intended to write a post titled “The Rose Bowl Blinked, Good For The Rose Bowl” about that “institution” finally accepting reality and backing off its ridiculous demands for guaranteeing its usual time and date in any future contract for an expanded college football playoff. That’s old news by now and recent events here have made that less significant.

On Friday night (Saturday morning, really, as it was 3 AM) I had to be taken to the ER. Long story short, I have been diagnosed with pancreatitis. With a family history of pancreatic cancer, any condition involving my pancreas is scary as hell. (By the way, kudos to the hospital for the relatively swift manner in which it took care of my case. In addition, the ER doctor and all of the nurses could not have been more pleasant. Yes, the doctor said to me, “You’re one of us, aren’t you?” Let me pat myself on the back, I need it right now.)

Since neither of the two most common causes apply to me (gall stones, alcohol consumption), I am forced into a bland diet of egg whites, clear broth, milk without its usual fat content, etc. The really frustrating part is that most of the foods on the verboten list are items I don’t consume, anyway. However, having to avoid pizza and the occasional donut is very depressing.

I feel much worse than the results of blood work and CT scans would suggest. Many of my symptoms don’t really fit pancreatitis, either, especially in terms of the physical location of those symptoms. My primary care physician and I have to have a long discussion about possible causes, which might include the huge daily dose of Metformin ER I take to manage my blood sugar. I have a hard time thinking it’s a case of idiopathic pancreatitis, meaning of no discernible cause. On an episode of House, MD, the lead character–Dr. Gregory House–once remarked, “Idiopathic, from the Latin meaning we’re idiots because we can’t figure out what’s causing it.”

Wish me luck because I am going to need it; the good kind, I’ve had enough of the other type.


Speaking of medical shows, my pronouncement in Well, It Worked is no longer relevant. After being able to watch the first eight episodes of season three of Transplant by using my VPN to log in to a Canadian server, CTV is now requiring logging in to its website with relevant credentials to watch any additional episodes. Since I live in the US, I don’t–and can’t–have such credentials. (It appears that people in Canada also have to log in, which makes sense since the CTV website “thinks” I am in Canada.)

I can only hope that some time after season three ends that CTV will relax its log in requirements. If Transplant returns for season four, will the same thing happen and I can only watch the first x episodes? I will never watch another prime-time show on NBC. They will not air this highly awarded show anymore, but continue to air shit like American Ninja Warrior. Also, shame on the parochialism of American TV viewers who don’t want to watch a show not set in the US.


Wish I had some fresh automotive content. I did not watch too much of the Mecum auction from Kansas City. I guess I can still watch it via the MotorTrend app and my subscription, but that failed last week as well. It was only after many emails to/from their support group that the app worked again.

A car like this was offered and sold at the auction that took place December 1-3.


2007 Pontiac Solstice GXP Roadster in Sly Gray photo #4 - 120362 | Jax Sports Cars - Cars for ...


Obviously from Jax Sports Cars, this is a picture of a 2007 Pontiac Solstice GXP in Sly, which is Gray for the rest of us. Once again, Mecum does not allow online photos of current and recent lots to be captured.

Because the car is more than ten years old, it was sold as mileage exempt. The odometer read 36,667 miles, but–of course–could have meant 136,667. It sold all in for $12,650.

I don’t think I would buy any car with 100,000+ miles, at least not knowingly. Well, maybe I might buy an old Studebaker or Packard that had such mileage, but such a car would have to have been freshened or acquired at a price that would enable me to restomod it. What do you know? I had some “fresh” automotive content, after all.







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I Forgot What To Say Monday

Yesterday I had a long beginning to this post worked out in my head. Of course, I forgot to write it down anywhere so today it is forgotten.

Until I was about 45 I had total recall. (Maybe it was 48; I don’t remember.  😉) It is VERY difficult not to have that facility anymore. My wonderful wife often says to me, “Welcome to the real world.” Well, like many things in the real world, I don’t like not having an almost infallible memory, anymore.

One manifestation of that memory was that if I had seen someone’s birthday somewhere, in a media guide or had researched it for a scouting report I was writing, I never forgot it. The first time I met Bruce Bochy, then the manager of the San Diego Padres, I said, “April 16, 1955.” His reply? “Who the hell is this guy?”

Once while on a team flight one of the players asked me what was Trevor Hoffman’s birthday; Hoffman was walking right behind him. When I answered “October 13, 1967” Hoffman asked, “Where was I born?” When I answered, “Bellflower, California” he just smiled.

I am not bragging about any of this. It was not something I had achieved with hard work and dedication; it was just something I could do. I can’t do it, anymore, and that makes me unhappy like you can’t imagine.


My wonderful wife and I are scheduled to take a short trip beginning tomorrow. I am extremely reluctant to go. The destination is a place that has seen way more than its share of violent crime in recent months.

While (if?) we are gone, I probably will not be posting. I have gotten my wife to agree that if we win the Powerball tonight, even if we win “only” $2 million (yes, I always buy the PowerPlay option), we will skip the trip. As I understand it, a person winning a very large lottery jackpot has to wait at least two weeks to collect as the money to fund that prize has to come from other parts of the country. I would want to lay low until we collected and that would include not going on this trip.

Tonight’s drawing has the largest annuity value of any lottery in US history, almost $2 billion. I don’t know if the estimated cash value, about $929 million, is also the largest. My best guess is that if a sole winning ticket is sold to an Arizona resident, that ticket would net about $530 million after taxes. That is beyond a life-changing amount of money.



Wish us luck. Yes, the OCD/math nerd writes the estimated after-tax amount on the ticket.


I had such a good experience selling the Cascada to Carvana that I thought I’d see if they had any Pontiac Solstice GXPs for sale. My initial search returned only two, both with manual transmissions. Maybe that’s why they both seemed expensive to me given the mileage on each car.

One Solstice GXP is available locally, at least the last time I looked on AutoTrader, but it has an awful hood scoop that I am 99.9% sure isn’t stock. In my research (fill your library before you fill your garage, I didn’t see a hood scoop listed anywhere as a factory option) I have discovered that the Solstice/Sky had trouble with a leaking rear differential prior to the 2008 model year. Not counting the whopping five GXPs produced in calendar year 2009 with a 2010 VIN, that leaves 4,490 GXPs with an automatic transmission. By the way, for 2008-09 automatic transmissions were installed in 55% of GXPs.

The phrase “beggars can’t be choosers” comes to mind. By the way, it’s too bad about the hood scoop because the local GXP has fewer than 15,000 miles, is in a great color (Envious, meaning Green) and has an asking price of under $18,000, about $8,000 less than I paid for the Cascada. Maybe I should ask if the scoop can be easily removed and see if they’ll take a little less…just kidding, hon. I don’t think I am buying a car anytime in the near future. We have bigger fish to fry. Still, it’s nice to dream:


Some Envious Green Pics?? - Pontiac Solstice Forum







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Tuesday Toes

I was originally going to call this post “Tuesday Toes” because I was going to apologize, sort of, for writing something that would step on many people’s toes. Welcome to life over 60; I have forgotten what I was supposed to write. Anyway, I like the title.


This article by Jake Novak is about a year old, but still relevant, IMO. He makes a strong case against Universal Basic Income (UBI). Here are some excerpts:


“As the fog starts to clear from the first months of the COVID-19 crisis, at least one of America’s leading policy debates no longer needs to be debated at all. That’s because it should be clear to everyone now that the Universal Basic Income (UBI) idea is still a very bad, no good, terrible idea.

For millions of Americans still shut in at home and shut out of work, this is painfully obvious. The coronavirus lockdown has proven once and for all that cash payments can’t hold a candle to a purpose-driven life…

Of course, this also leads us back to the paramount need for more job opportunities to fill an economic and emotional void even in the worst of times. If cash handouts of X amount don’t to spur the economy and create enough jobs in times of crisis, than handouts in the amount of X + X won’t either. Something else is required.

Jobs have a funny way of bringing both cash into a person’s pocket and a feeling of self-worth into a person’s soul. FDR understood this well, and that was why his administration’s jobs programs didn’t worry too much about whether the jobs it was handing out were really essential at the time. That doesn’t mean Roosevelt’s macroeconomic response to the Great Depression was sound, because it generally wasn’t. But even scholars like Amity Shlaes, who have expertly critiqued the New Deal, can’t deny the priceless emotional boost FDR gave the country by putting people to some kind of work and giving them that daily purpose…”


Giving people incentive not to work will create a country where millions, and I mean literally millions, of people will decide not to work. Very few people always do the “right” thing and very few always do the “wrong” thing; most people respond to incentives and to disincentives. By the way, I agree and have written that for many/most people a job is not just about the income, but about having a purpose and some structure.


I suspect views of Where Is Cristy Lee? will increase once Season 8 of Garage Squad begins airing on Motor Trend. Why? Apparently, after just two seasons on the show, the lovely Ms. Lee has left Garage Squad. She will be replaced by “Bogi” Lateiner. That choice makes me think that All Girls Garage will cease to be produced. Anyway, the “obligatory” picture of Cristy Lee:



Someone whom my wonderful wife’s mother has known since her real estate days decided to visit her and her husband (my wife’s father) this past weekend. Again, I do not like the term “in-law.”

He is a good-hearted person with a yen for traveling, which partially explains his desire to visit someone that, frankly, he didn’t know all that well. Why am I mentioning this? Take a look at his car:



This is a 2007 Pontiac Solstice in GXP spec, meaning it has the turbocharged 2-liter/122 cubic-inch inline 4-cylinder engine that produces 260 HP/260 LB-FT of torque. I don’t know if this is still true, but at the time of its release the Solstice GXP/Sky Red Line engine had the highest specific output, power per unit of displacement, of any motor in General Motors history. A dealer upgrade was also available to increase power to 290 HP/290 LB-FT, but I don’t think too many buyers opted for that boost, pun intended.

As every regular reader knows, I am a big fan of the Solstice/Sky. While I prefer the looks of the Sky I am quite fond of the Solstice, as well.








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