Friday Flow Or Not

I shared the link to yesterday’s post about The Dean of Baltimore sports, Vince Bagli, with some of my friends and former compatriots in the Baltimore sports community. All of them graciously thanked me for “remembering” them and were very grateful for having known Vince.

Mel Kiper and I had a long conversation yesterday, our chats are almost never short, and for much of the time we talked about Vince Bagli. If you are not of a certain age and/or were not a Baltimore sports fan while Vince was on the air, you just can’t appreciate the impact he had on us.

Of all of the seemingly inordinately large number of deaths of sports figures this year, Vince Bagli’s is the most difficult one to process for me.

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Maybe 101 Octane gas doesn’t add much horsepower by itself, after all. I asked Josh at HPA, the person/company that performed the intake/exhaust mods on my Z06, about using such gas since it’s available in Arizona. He wrote, “Putting it in may pick up a few hp but not much without being more aggressive with tuning.”

Since I don’t want to have the tuning altered (meaning changing the ECM programming, I assume) and void the powertrain warranty that’s valid until next July AND don’t want to HAVE to use the 101 Gas, which is not cheap, I will not use it on a regular basis. As I wrote to Josh, though, I may try one tank just to see if I notice any change.

 

 

A recent picture of the Z06 in front of what will (hopefully) be our former house in the not too distant future. If it were possible, we would simply move the house to a vacant lot in our new location. We are not moving because of dissatisfaction with our dwelling, the extensive repairs needed to close on the sale notwithstanding. My wonderful wife and I love this house in which we have lived for ten years. However, and for the nth plus nth time, the only constant in the world is change.

I really believe that saying, by the way. It’s not just a cliché to me. I know people who think they can avoid bad change by trying to avoid all change. Life doesn’t work that way.

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For some reason, and don’t take my mentioning of this as a complaint, a number of today’s Disaffected Musings readers are from the Netherlands. I hope one of those readers sees this and posts a comment as to how they found the blog.

I have never been there although while in Luxembourg we weren’t too far away. From Vianden in the north-central part of the country to Maastricht in the extreme south of The Netherlands is only about a 90-mile drive. Why Vianden? How about this?

 

See the source image

 

From timetravelturtle a picture of Vianden Castle in Vianden, Luxembourg. We visited the castle and the lovely town in which it sits during our trip to Europe in 2014 (!). I know I took many photos at this venue, but that was two iPhones ago and I wasn’t using iCloud storage in those days. I still have these two wonderful photos from Luxembourg, though:

 

 

Sorry, readers from The Netherlands. I mean no offense by steering the dialogue to Luxembourg. The top photo is from Place du Marche in Echternach, Luxembourg, which is the country’s oldest town. It grew around the abbey that was founded in 698. No, I didn’t forget the leading “1” in that year.

The bottom picture is from the Grund area of Luxembourg City, the country’s capitol. I loved that trip and if travel becomes feasible again before I grow too old to partake, I would like to return. Maybe this time we’ll travel to The Netherlands as well.

 

#FridayFlow

#VinceBagli

#2016ChevroletCorvetteZ06

#TheConstancyOfChange

#TheNetherlands

#ViandenCastleLuxembourg

#somanycarsjustonelife

#disaffectedmusings

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900

 

 

 

The Only Constant

In The World Is Change…

From 1996 through 1999 at this time of year I was at spring training with the Padres in Peoria, Arizona. Because I found spring training to be boring for the most part, especially before the games started, I would not stay in Arizona for the entire six weeks. I would go out there just before pitchers and catchers reported, making the drive with my long-time friend Fred who was the Assistant General Manager, stay for about ten days and then fly back to San Diego. Sometime in March I would fly back to Arizona and stay for another ten days.

When I was young I would have done anything to be with a major league team in spring training. However, during my last spring training visit in 1999 I was so miserable I knew I had to leave the Padres, which I did later that year.

One amusing phenomenon happened when I would return to the complex in Peoria in February. I would gaze in amazement at all of the new development: residential, retail, and road. I would inevitably say to someone, “Where the hell did all of this come from in a year?!”

When my wonderful wife, her parents and I went to Scottsdale, Arizona last year to attend the Barrett-Jackson auction, my wife’s parents were bewildered by the size and scope of the Phoenix metro area, their former place of residence. Given that they left Phoenix in the 1960s and given the population growth, it’s no wonder they didn’t really recognize much of the area with which they used to be familiar. Here is a table comparing the 1970 and 2010 populations of a few western suburbs of Phoenix, where many of the spring training baseball complexes have been built, and the city of Phoenix itself:

 

CITY 1970 2010
Peoria 4,792 154,065
Glendale 36,228 226,721
Goodyear 2,140 65,275
Surprise 2,427 117,517
     
Phoenix 581,572 1,445,632

 

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

– Aldous Huxley

Those population figures might be hard to believe, but they are true. The population of the entire Phoenix metropolitan area grew from just under one million in 1970 to more than four million in 2010. Hopefully sometime in 2021, the population will add a couple from the mid-Atlantic. The only constant in the world is change.

 

 

See the source image

 

From Visit Phoenix a map of “The Valley Of The Sun.”

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How sick are you of reading about the Cadillac Allante? Today’s post was almost about the three GM cars of the 1980s that were “mold-busters” but which were failures: the Buick Reatta, the Cadillac Allante and the Pontiac Fiero. Only the latter had any success, with sales of almost 137,000 in its debut year of 1984, before succumbing to a reputation “fail.”

General Motors developed its own reputation “fail” during this time. In today’s parlance, the company would be accused of using its customers as beta testers. In other words, GM would release a new model before it had been thoroughly tested and then use the real-world experience of owners to improve the car. GM spent about $100 million developing a new suspension that would be used in the Fiero (and other cars) in 1988, but that was the last year the car was offered. The Allante finally received a powerful engine in 1993 and would sell more units that year than any other in the model’s history, but the car was discontinued after that year. The dislike of General Motors by many car enthusiasts does not come out of thin air.

My opinion: I am not a big fan of Mary Barra, CEO of General Motors. She seems hell-bent on taking the company to a place that the American car-buying public isn’t. It seems inevitable that electric cars will be the dominant paradigm in the future, but highly unlikely that will occur by 2030, the year by which Barra wants GM to have an all-electric fleet. Currently, electric cars have a market share in the US of under two percent.

Anyway, from Wikipedia a picture of the model of car I tried to buy when I moved to California in the mid-1990s, a Buick Reatta:

 

See the source image

 

Boo me, sue me, but I think these cars look magnificent. They would not make the cut for my Ultimate Garage because they are short of horsepower and torque minimums, but they are among the best-looking cars ever, in my opinion.

I await the onslaught of dissent…

 

#TheConstancyOfChange

#BuickReatta

#somanycarsjustonelife

#disaffectedmusings

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Throwback Thursday, It’s Cold Edition

I used to be able to tolerate cold weather. In fact, I much preferred it to hot weather. I guess with less “efficient” circulation due to aging and the fact that I have run most of the fat off my body I don’t like the cold, anymore. (My hands are freezing as I type this.) I certainly don’t like the temperature I’m about to show you two weeks before Thanksgiving.

 

 

It was warmer at 6:30 this morning; it was 22 degrees. Yes, a feeble attempt at sarcasm.

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Inspired by photobyjohnbo here is a picture of our Japanese Maple tree almost in full fall color:

 

 

This tree has survived a traumatic injury and annual assault by rats in fur coats, also known as squirrels. We live in a nice neighborhood and we will miss it after we move, but move we will. The desert beckons.

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From stampnewsonline.net a picture of a stamp featuring a very famous person:

 

See the source image

 

This is a picture of the 1983 Babe Ruth stamp. I believe another stamp in honor of Ruth was issued later. Note the cost of first-class postage, 20¢.

To honor Ruth, who was born in Baltimore as was I, and the 1983 Orioles’ World Series championship I mailed myself an empty envelope with this stamp in late 1983. I wrote some notes on the envelope about Ruth and the Orioles. That was a long time ago and qualifies as a genuine throwback. Although I don’t follow baseball I understand the Orioles are going through a rough patch.

Of course, I worked for my home-town team for six years in a full-time capacity and before that as a consultant for about a year and a half. It’s amazing how poor human beings are at predicting the future. For five years before I was hired full-time all I wanted was to work for the Orioles for the rest of my life. It’s a good thing the rest of my life has lasted longer than six years.

Like my change in attitude towards cold weather I never could have predicted that I would be completely divorced from baseball and not miss it. Once again, the only constant in the world is change. Those who cannot or will not deal with change will be unhappy and/or left behind.

 

#disaffectedmusings

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Tuesday Tune

This post is not about tuning your car’s engine. My favorite song of all-time—the last cut on my favorite “album” of all-time, Enigmatic Ocean by Jean-Luc Ponty—has quite a strange title. It is the third part of a three-part suite called “The Struggle Of The Turtle To The Sea.” What kind of lyrics does a song with that title have? None…

That song transcends music, in my opinion. To me, it is an otherworldly manifestation of the creative spirit. My best estimate is that I have listened to it between 12,000 and 14,000 times in my life. I listen to it almost every day, sometimes more than once. I decided to write about it today while listening to it last night and realizing what kind of effect it still has on me after all these years and all of these plays. I guess this “album” cover is subject to copyright, but I’m going to show it, anyway.

 

 

The excellence of this recording stands in sharp contrast to the state of “music” today. I think the phrase “modern American music” is an oxymoron and the crap (a carefully chosen word) that passes for music in the present day is an abomination. By the way, if you put me in front of a keyboard I can find F-Sharp above Middle C, I know what an agogic accent is and I know what an arpeggio is. Almost no one in this country today knows any of this.

Ah, I hear “my” song in my head. I think I’ll play it on my computer while I’m writing. I’m not sure I’ll be able to write, though. The post can wait.

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12,000-14,000 plus two…

I found this Hemmings article to be quite interesting. The title is, “Why the new Corvette had to be mid-engine.” According to the piece the main motivation for Chevrolet/GM for moving the Corvette to a mid-engine layout is simply demographics. Here is an excerpt:

 

“First on the list is demographics. The front engine Corvette, on the market since 1953, and one of the first postwar American sports cars, has an increasingly older audience. The average age of the buyers was said to be 59, and male. What’s wrong with that?”

“Chevrolet wants to have at least one model with a youthful image, a progressive we-like-innovation type audience. But no matter what changes and updates they made to the front-engine Corvette, the audience remained stubbornly middle-aged, even beyond what you could call the age for a mid-life crisis.”

“…Chevrolet also expects to pirate sales away from Ferrari, Lamborghini and Porsche. Why? Ferrari’s average buyer is said to be 47, Lamborghini’s 48, and Porsche 911 buyers 52. If the new Corvette actually scores buyers in their ‘30s, it will be achieving Chevrolet’s dream because those buyers will be role models for future Corvette owners.”

 

From the same article a picture of the C8 Corvette:

 

2020 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray

 

As I have mentioned before my wonderful wife and I saw the C8 in person at the National Corvette Museum in late August. In my opinion, while it is obviously a mid-engine car it is also obviously a Corvette. We both thought the car looks amazing. To the Corvette “purists” who are wringing their hands and protesting the mid-engine design all I can write is, the only constant in the world is change.

 

#EnigmaticOcean

#JeanLucPonty

#BringBackGoodMusic

#MidEngineC8Corvette

#TheConstancyOfChange

#somanycarsjustonelife

#disaffectedmusings

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Birds

My wonderful wife and I live in a nice house in a neighborhood filled with trees and other plant life. Not surprisingly, we also have lots of animals around us: foxes, coywolves, rabbits, squirrels (I loathe them) and lots and lots of birds.

Our house is very tall and the front elevation has large windows. Twice in the last week birds have flown into those windows at such rates of speed that they died as a result. This has happened a few times in the nine years we’ve lived here, but twice in a week is not common. As I write this one of those birds is in a large concrete planter on the front steps. Later today I will move it to the front yard, not a pleasant task for me. Other than unsightly markings in the windows, does anyone have any ideas how to stop the birds from flying into the front of our house?

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I have had a Twitter account (under a pseudonym) for almost a year. Except for the two days of the Bill James tweetstorm, the platform has been virtually useless in driving traffic to this blog. Odds are I will close my Twitter account before much longer.

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Once again, the only constant in the world is change. This fact can have important manifestations or less important ones. In the first iteration of my Ultimate Garage (in 2017) on the blog hosted by the Evil Empire (aka Google) not only was the Avanti included, I even showed the original version and the “modern” version because I couldn’t really choose between them in terms of looks. In Ultimate Garage 2.0 the Avanti was nowhere to be found, not even among the cars that just missed the cut.

Why? Well, for reasons I cannot explain the Avanti design just seems a little dated to me now. I still like the way the car looks and I appreciate its significance, even if it did not turn Studebaker’s fortunes around. (Actually, some historians like Richard Langworth believe the Avanti was too late to save Studebaker.) However, the car just doesn’t have the same effect on me it had even two years ago and certainly not the impact it had on me when I first saw this “picture:”

 

 

This was in The Golden Guide To Sports Cars published by Golden Press of New York. The original publication date was 1966 and I purchased the book in elementary school as part of a program where students could purchase books, which would be delivered to the students at school. You see, I have had the car bug a LONG time. Oh, sorry for the extraneous material in the picture, but I am not well versed in photo editing.

To those of you reading I pose the question: about what car(s) has your opinion changed? Why do you think the change happened?

 

#Bird”Suicide”

#UselessTwitter

#TheConstancyOfChange

#ThePowerOfBooks

#somanycarsjustonelife

#disaffectedmusings

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Saturday Sampler, Final Four Edition

I don’t expect a lot of people to read Disaffected Musings today since this is the day of the national semi-finals of the NCAA basketball tournament. Except for a minute or two of the Maryland-Belmont first-round game I have not watched the tournament. Some people I used to know would have told me I’m lying about that. Why would I lie about my basketball viewing habits? Why can’t my interests change over time?

I firmly believe that you should stay away from people who erode your quality of life. People who accuse you of lying about a trivial matter and who can’t understand that life always changes fit into that category for me.

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Rachel De Barros BG3

 

From her website a picture of Rachel De Barros, now formerly of All Girls Garage on Motor Trend. I was virtually certain she was leaving the show because in a brief shot in a commercial for the Season 8 premiere (today at 11:30 AM Eastern) someone else was in the back seat of the car. I have been searching for the news on the Internet since then, but the news was only made “official” yesterday.

Best of luck, Rachel, and be well.

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This Jalopnik article asks and answers the question if it’s a bad sign that a used car has been sold at an auction. The answer is, basically, if it’s just once then that’s not a red flag, but multiple auction appearances are a red flag. The article claims, “In fact, the vast majority of used cars move through auctions at least once.” If that’s true, then that’s something I didn’t previously know.

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This article from Automobile Magazine is called, “Seriously, Just Put Your Damn Phone Away.” It is a funny, yet truthful and scary look at the danger of drivers distracted by their cell phones. I have opined that the drivers side of a car should be turned into a Faraday cage so that drivers phones simply won’t work. Of course that will never happen. It makes too much sense and threatens to reduce motor vehicle sales. Maybe when the number of road deaths due to distracted drivers reaches five figures annually then something will be done. On the other hand, the number of people who are killed every year in this country because someone is driving under the influence of alcohol is in five figures and the legal BAC “limit” is still .08%. IT SHOULD BE ANYTHING OVER ZERO! In Europe the BAC limit is .04% or .05%. Why this country coddles people is beyond me. Oh, stop telling yourself you can drive under the influence. You can’t, either.

One of my best friends used to make a yearly trip to Scandinavia for research. The nature of the trip meant that he was always in Scandinavia for New Years. Every year he and his party were warned not to drive under the influence or they would be arrested and jailed without exception. Taxicabs didn’t charge a fare on New Years Eve.

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At the Mecum auction currently taking place in Houston a car like this was offered and sold:

 

https://ccpublic.blob.core.windows.net/cc-temp/listing/98/9742/7982330-1965-pontiac-gto-std-c.jpg

 

From classiccars.com a picture of a 1965 Pontiac GTO. Regular readers know that my first car was a 1967 GTO, but may not know that I am also a big fan of the ’65. The car to which I am referring sold for $37,400 all in meaning the hammer price was $34,000.

Sorry to sound ignorant, but does the claim of a “WT-suffix” engine mean that the car has the Tri-Power three-carburetor setup? The Tri-Power was available through the 1966 model year. In 1967, the heads were changed for better flow, displacement increased from 389 cubic inches to 400 and the Tri-Power was no longer available.

Like the hashtag says: so many cars, just one life.

 

#PutYourF***inPhoneAway

#somanycarsjustonelife

#disaffectedmusings

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