Frugal Friday: 25 Miles From Home And Turbocharged

First…this CNBC article is titled, “Apple CEO links Facebook’s business model to real-world violence.” Here is one of Tim Cook’s comments: “If a business is built on misleading users, on data exploitation, on choices that are no choices at all, it does not deserve our praise. It deserves scorn.” Amen!

Here is another one of his remarks: “At a moment of rampant disinformation and conspiracy theories juiced by algorithms, we can no longer turn a blind eye to a theory of technology that says all engagement is good and the longer the better.” Cook never actually mentioned Fack Fucebook by name (I try to avoid mentioning those criminals by name, as well), but his reference could not have been clearer.

Delete Facebook! Fack Fucebook!


OK, I have decided to continue Frugal Friday on occasion, but only when I can really think of something interesting to me. By extension, I hope any Frugal Friday cars I choose are interesting to you, also.

In 2010, only about 5% of the new cars and light trucks sold in the US were turbocharged. By 2017, that percentage had increased to almost 28%. Intransigent proponents of all-electric vehicles dream about that kind of speed of adaptation.

While I would never impose my will and beliefs on others, I do think that all internal combustion engines should be turbocharged. Such engines can have smaller displacement, meaning better fuel economy, without sacrificing power. Turbocharged engines are also more thermally efficient than naturally aspirated motors and produce less emissions.

Long way ’round, today’s Frugal Friday cars are an interesting pair of turbocharged cars with fewer than 45,000 miles found on AutoTrader within 25 miles of my home zip code. In all, the search returned 645 cars and sedans were excluded.

Remember that I will not show pictures of the actual cars as AutoTrader aggressively breaks links to pictures on their website. Without further ado:


See the source image


From Auto Evolution a picture of a Saab 9-3 turbo convertible. The AutoTrader car, a 2004 model, is Black over Gray, has about 41,000 miles and an asking price of $11,500. The two-liter turbo four produces 210 HP/221 LB-FT of torque. The AutoTrader car has a 5-speed automatic transmission.

My wonderful wife’s father owned a Saab convertible and he really liked it, except the time he parked it with the top down and birds pooped on the interior. Oh, I do not like the term “in-law.”

From Drag Times, a picture of a car like one currently offered on AutoTrader:


See the source image


This is a 2008 Saturn Sky Red Line. As regular readers of Disaffected Musings know, I am a big fan of these cars AND think General Motors should have given Buick an improved and upgraded version of this car as a halo car after it and its close cousin, the Pontiac Solstice, were discontinued due to the GM bankruptcy and the end of Pontiac and Saturn.

The AutoTrader car is in Midnight Blue over Black, has 43,000 miles and the asking price is $14,999. The two-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine produced 260 HP/260 LB-FT of torque. When this engine was introduced in the Red Line and Solstice GXP it had the highest specific output (HP per unit of displacement) of any engine in General Motors history. The car for sale has a 5-speed manual transmission.

Two interesting (IMO) cars that are turbocharged and convertibles, no less, for under $15,000 each. Sounds good to me…if only we had room for another car. 🙂









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A Note To Myself

Until I was in my mid-40s I had total recall. From our teens through our mid-20s Dr. Zal, who also has a very good memory, and I used to play a game with a baseball encyclopedia. The game was “Name The Hitter/Pitcher.” If I had the book, I would say something like, “Name the pitcher: 1923 National League, 38 Starts, 26 Complete Games, 295 Innings, 17 Wins, 19 Losses, 3.57 ERA.” Dr. Zal would inevitably give the correct answer, Wilbur Cooper. If he had the book, then I had to name a hitter with similar hints.

The game could be a source of tremendous fun, especially when we would try to stump each other by naming players with just 1 or 2 innings pitched or at-bats. However, we were almost always able to name the player if he was of any significance. Yes, our game was made easier by the fact that for much of its history major league baseball had just 16 teams and smaller rosters with almost no specialization.

Fast forward to today…I cannot tell you how many times I decide I want to look something up on the Internet, but by the time I pick up my phone and tap the screen, I have forgotten what I wanted to look up. During a recent conversation something similar happened to my good friend Bob, to whom I probably speak more often than to the rest of my friends combined. I said, “Welcome to life over 50.”

I have begun making notes to myself to remember to do this or that, very often in conjunction with writing this blog. If I have an idea for a post theme or intro, if I don’t note it somewhere it is just 50-50 that I will remember it the next day.

This adjustment is extremely difficult for me. My wonderful wife often says, “Welcome to life as one of us,” meaning as someone with an imperfect memory. Of course, despite those awful ads for over-the-counter products that are touted as improving memory, my memory will continue to decline. Oh, in his book Do You Believe In Magic?, Dr. Paul Offit writes that of the 5,000-6,000 over-the-counter supplements offered for sale in the US, hard scientific evidence exists to back up the claims for only five or six of them. That means for 99.9% of these substances, no evidence exists that they work any better than a placebo. Why are so many of them sold? The FDA de-regulated supplements in 1994 and there is a lot of money to be made selling stuff that doesn’t work.

In the Internet age, doctors are often forced to play along to keep their patients happy and in their practice. Some recent studies suggest that almost half of all doctors recommend over-the-counter substances, the rationale being that most of these compounds–if taken in the recommended dose–are not harmful, even though they are not helpful, either. <End Tangent>

While I am in “better” shape, physically, than I was in my 20s (ten years of running will do that), my mental acuity pales in comparison. Such is life…


If 365 Days of Motoring is correct, then on this day in 2009 the German government launched a campaign to have one million electric cars on the road by 2020. If this website is correct, in 2019 the number of electric cars (not hybrids) registered in Germany was…fewer than 85,000. Gasoline and diesel powered cars still comprise about 98% of the automobiles registered in Germany. Like other countries, it is sales of hybrids that are increasing in Germany, not sales of pure electric cars.

As I have written before, the Internal Combustion Engine will power most of our cars for many years to come. Some may not be happy with that fact, but while people are entitled to their opinions, they are not entitled to their own facts.


Here is a favorite car of mine, one that is most definitely not an electric or a hybrid:


See the source image


From a picture of a Saturn Sky Red Line, which means the car is powered by a turbocharged engine. Innovations like turbocharging and modern electronic fuel injection have made gasoline powered cars more efficient and have less emissions.

Dreaming of a house in the desert with either a 4-car garage (occasionally one of those appears in our price range) or with a 3-car garage AND an RV gate with a large side yard allows me to mentally wander off into a world in which one of these could be in my (our) possession. What is life without dreams?







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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.


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.


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

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

From 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. 🙂