Tuesday Tidbits

No, I don’t mean these although I wish they were still available:

 

See the source image

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This CNBC article reports on the recovery of much of the Bitcoin paid to the Colonial Pipeline hackers. With a court order, US government officials were able to identify a virtual currency wallet used by the hackers and retrieve the “funds.” This morning, the price of Bitcoin is declining sharply. Let’s see: the bad guys suffered and now Bitcoin is “suffering.” I think there’s a message in that…

The main reason that Bitcoin has become the favored payoff for modern digital criminals is that it is supposed to be untraceable after the transaction. Well, I guess it isn’t.

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This piece reports on how “wokeness” and “cancel culture” threaten real freedom of speech in the publishing industry. It’s not written by a person of conservative ideology, by the way. While the author maintains that freedom of speech doesn’t really apply to publishing companies, here is the last sentence of the post: “It would be sad if senior editors started capitulating to their offended or woke staff, for that would lead to the homogenization of literature (most publishing staff are liberals).” By literature, he means all books and not just fiction.

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Ultimate Garage 3.0 is getting out of control. My list is up to 17-18 cars. While that represents an infinitesimal fraction of all cars ever made, of course, it sure is a case of “garage inflation” when one considers the first Ultimate Garage I published had 7 cars.

Does that increase stem from learning more about cars, about being more immersed in the automotive world than ever before? Am I just getting more indecisive as I age? I guess I’m supposed to show a car photo here. Let’s see…

 

 

This is a picture of a 1967 Corvette restomod I took at the 2019 Barrett-Jackson auction in Scottsdale, Arizona. (I wonder where that is? Yes, that is sarcasm…) I had hoped to bid on the car, but the bidding took off and the car hammered for $192,500 all in.

The prices of C2 Corvette restomods at that auction, in addition to the cost and time of having one built, were major factors in my decision to buy a C7 Z06. Of course, I actually bid on two C7 Corvettes at that auction, but had the next-to-last bid both times and each of those bids was $71,500 all in, a long way from $192,500.

While I don’t think I will ever be in a position to acquire a C2 Corvette convertible restomod, at least not without parting with my Z06, I still very much would like to have one. If Ultimate Garage 3.0 is published, it will come as no shock that one of these will be included.

 

#TuesdayTidbits

#Bitcoin

#ProtectRealFreedomOfSpeech

#UltimateGarage3.0

#1967ChevroletCorvetteRestomod

#somanycarsjustonelife

#disaffectedmusings

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Sunday Says

OK, so there’s a cease-fire in the Middle East. Most world opinion is anti-Israel. No matter what I write, no matter the truth, that won’t change. Still, here is the truth as written in Why Evolution Is True:

 

“Remember that Israel withdrew from Gaza in 2005 as a voluntary good-will gesture in connection with the Oslo Accords. PM Sharon also evicted 7,000 Jews from Gaza at that time, leaving it “Judenrein” (“Jew free”). The Jews didn’t want to leave, and many had to be physically carried out of their homes by Israeli soldiers, homes that were destroyed by the soldiers as well. However, the agricultural and industrial infrastructure of Gaza, previously owned by Jews, was donated by Israel to Gaza and the Palestinians, who promptly destroyed this infrastructure simply because it was Jewish. Have people forgotten this?

Let’s be clear here: Israel is not depriving Gaza of food, medicine, or other amenities and necessities of life. The blockade, which is enforced by Israel and Egypt (Egypt is stricter!) is meant only to prohibit the importation into Gaza of weapons or of material that can be made into weapons. The EU, the UN, and many GMOs pour millions and millions of dollars into Gaza (more is coming soon), and if there is a reason for a grim life for ordinary Gazans, let us remember that much of that is due not to the blockade of weapons, but to the appropriation of donated money to build rockets, tunnels, and to line the pockets of corrupt Hamas officials. Those who continually indict Israel for turning Gaza into an “open-air prison” often seem to forget that this is largely due to the leadership of Gaza by Hamas.”

 

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

– Aldous Huxley

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So, how many cars would be too many for Ultimate Garage 3.0? I could easily see myself listing 20-25 cars, but think that would be overkill. If I publish 3.0 I will try to limit myself to 14-15 cars.

Theoretically, I could just list four or five as the crème de la crème–there are cars that fit that description for me–but it’s less fun for me to do and probably less fun for you to read. Once again, any thoughts you have on this topic or the presentation of your own Ultimate Garage are very welcome.

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With my renewed interest in C6 Corvettes, I can’t help but think about the one I owned:

 

 

This picture was taken outside of our second home in Texas. This wasn’t a second home as in a place we only lived part of the year. Chronologically we lived in this house after our first Texas house. This is the only brand new house in which we’ve ever lived, we went to the site every day during construction, and will probably be the only brand new house that we will own.

Back to the car…at first I was not a fan of C6 styling because I liked the hidden headlights that were part of the Corvette for four generations (C2 through C5). The more I saw the car, though, the more I appreciated what I thought were material improvements in styling compared to the C5 like the reduced overhang at the rear.

In a previous post I listed my order of Corvette generations by styling only. I think the C6 would now rank third for me behind the C2 and C7. Does anyone care to share their ranking?

 

#SundaySays

#TheTruthIsOftenIgnored

#IStandWithIsrael

#UltimateGarage3.0

#C6Corvette

#My2007Corvette

#somanycarsjustonelife

#disaffectedmusings

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Sluggish Saturday

I couldn’t drag myself out of bed early enough this morning to attend a nearby car gathering. Am I already taking the car culture here for granted? I hope not…

I don’t know if it’s allergies or something else, but my quality of sleep has not been good for most of the time we have been in Arizona. To be honest, though, it wasn’t that good before we moved, either. I think the last time I had consistently good sleep was in the summers between school years and that was a LONG time ago.

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Two years ago today I unveiled the first automobile in my 11-car Ultimate Garage 2.0. (It was a 1956 Packard Caribbean convertible, by the way, in case you don’t click on the link, or even if you do.) It simply doesn’t seem possible to me that it’s been two years. The ever increasing swiftness of the passage of time is the most powerful indicator of advancing age, in my opinion.

I am thinking about and trying to formulate Ultimate Garage 3.0. If I do publish the list, though, I will not do it one car at a time. It is a virtual certainty that 3.0 would have more cars than 2.0 and I just wouldn’t want want to drag it out. If I finish and publish 3.0, I will do it in two or three posts. Also, I will not have posts prior to the reveal writing about the cars that just missed the cut.

I have decided to have fewer restrictions than before. Who knows? I might even include a car that was only available with a manual transmission. However, I will not include cars of which only 10 or 50 were made. That might be the only restriction.

Of course, I would be very happy if any of you decided to submit your Ultimate Garage. You can have as few or as many vehicles as you like with as few or as many restrictions as you like. Be assured, though, that my Ultimate Garage 3.0 will remain highly idiosyncratic and personal.

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Lot F276 at the Mecum Auction in Indianapolis, a beautiful 1963 Studebaker Gran Turismo Hawk restomod, was bid to $50,000, but did not sell yesterday. Dirty Dingus McGee speculated the build cost $100,000 and the reserve would be around $60,000. For the nth plus nth time, Mecum does not allow its online photos to be captured (why?) so I cannot show the actual car. Although I haven’t quite finished watching yesterday’s broadcast, I don’t think the car was shown, anyway.

Once again, I will use my recently purchased 1:18 model as a stand-in for a photo:

 

 

Yes, I have written many times that my “ideal” Gran Turismo Hawk would be in British Racing Green, maybe with a Cream top, would have wire wheels and probably be a restomod. If you’re going to dream, then dream big.

 

#SluggishSaturday

#INeedBetterSleep

#UltimateGarage3.0

#StudebakerGranTurismoHawk

#somanycarsjustonelife

#disaffectedmusings

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A Very Mixed Bag

At noon local time on Tuesday, the minimum age for registering for a COVID-19 vaccine was lowered to 55 in this state. A limited number of vaccine appointments were made available, first on the state’s Department of Health Services website.

All of those appointments were gone by 2 PM. Amazingly, I was able to snag one for myself, for next Friday at 6:15 AM. State Farm Stadium, one of the public vaccination sites, is open 24/7 when they have vaccine supply.

Very unfortunately, I was unable to get an appointment for my wonderful wife. Later, I tried the website of the national pharmacy chain where we had secured appointments for her parents, but with no luck. All vaccine appointments are currently booked. So much for vaccine hesitancy, huh?

I have continued my efforts to get her an appointment, but it seems as though no more new appointments will be available for awhile. I am very conflicted about being able to get a vaccine while my wonderful wife cannot.

I know supply is still somewhat constrained, but this is an unfortunate turn of events, a very mixed bag, if you will. I was hoping to get both of us signed up with the national pharmacy chain and then I would have cancelled my state appointment. The best laid plans of mice and men…

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Those who sympathize with the cause of the “Palestinians” should read this article, which appears in the bastion of liberal news, The New York Times. The piece is titled, “As Palestinians Clamor for Vaccine, Their Leaders Divert Doses to Favored Few.” From the article:

 

“…in secret, the [Palestinian] authority has diverted some of the thousands of vaccines it has received to some senior members of the ruling party in the West Bank who have no formal role in government, according to two senior Palestinian officials and a senior official from the party, Fatah, who all spoke on condition of anonymity.”

“Vaccines have also been secretly given to top figures at major news outlets run by the authority, according to one of the senior Palestinian officials and two employees at those outlets. Family members of certain government officials and Fatah leaders were also given the vaccines, the senior official and a former government official said.”

 

In my opinion, the “Palestinians” have no moral ground on which to make any claims for themselves about any issue. Their governments (yes, they have two governments: one in the West Bank and one in Gaza) are beyond corrupt. The “citizenry” is obsessed with the annihilation of a sovereign state that has existed for more than 70 years and is the only democracy in the Middle East.

Maybe those inclined will see this article as more reason to sympathize with “Palestinian” citizens. Well, they elected Hamas as the ruling “party” in Gaza. Hamas is a terrorist organization that has only one policy initiative: to annihilate Israel. (Yes, I know the Times article is about Fatah.)

I stand by my statement. The “Palestinians” have no moral ground to make any demands for themselves.

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Taking deep breaths to calm down…

May is about eight weeks away. In late May of 2019 I began to unveil my Ultimate Garage 2.0. As I have mentioned before, I am considering an Ultimate Garage 3.0 to be revealed in May and/or June of this year.

Version 2.0 had 11 cars. My first Ultimate Garage, released on my first blog hosted by the Evil Empire, had seven. I am aiming for 10 cars for 3.0, but it will not be easy to limit my choices to ten.

Some have offered the opinion–and not in the form of a blog comment–that I should only include cars I’ve actually driven. I understand that view, but feel it’s too limiting. An Ultimate Garage is an exercise in fantasy, which by definition is not grounded in reality.

A car on the bubble for 3.0 is this one, a car that just missed the cut the first two times:

 

See the source image

 

From FastLaneCars a picture of a Studebaker Gran Turismo Hawk, a 1962 model to be exact. The timeless design of this car is an homage to the original Loewy coupes, designed by Robert Bourke and Holden Koto.

In profile or rear three-quarter view, I still think the car looks stunning. While if somehow I had the means and the space to acquire one it would probably be restomodded, for an Ultimate Garage exercise I would include a stock car. Here is sort of a three-quarter view I took at the Mecum auction in Arizona almost exactly one year ago. First, an aside: a very mixed bag also means getting started on being vaccinated against the damn virus, but not being completely vaccinated in time to attend either the Mecum or Barrett-Jackson auctions that will take place here later this month. Yes, that’s a shallow and selfish perspective; I’m only human and I LOVE attending car auctions.

 

 

Part of me almost feels obligated to include the Gran Turismo Hawk for 3.0, like I can’t leave the car out again. Those of you, like C/2, who were gracious enough to send me your own Ultimate Garage almost two years ago, can do so again. Of course, you can send me your Ultimate Garage even if you weren’t reading this blog two years ago. It’s amazing how writing about Ultimate Garage 3.0 and the GT Hawk succeeded in calming me down.

 

#AVeryMixedBag

#IStandWithIsrael!

#UltimateGarage3.0

#StudebakerGranTurismoHawk

#somanycarsjustonelife

#disaffectedmusings

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Slapdash Saturday

Who says Arizona has no bodies of water?!

 

 

This is a picture of Lake Pleasant (appropriately named, I think) where my wonderful wife, her parents and I spent part of New Years Day. I mean, c’mon, a lake surrounded by mountains on a cloudless, dry New Years Day with high temperatures in the low 60s. How can it get any better?

The dew point is about 20° here right now; in parts of south Florida the dew point is still in the 60s! No thanks, I’ll stay here. Yes, it will be very hot in the summer, but I don’t think a dry 105°-110° is any worse than a humid 90°.

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This piece from Classic Cars is one in a series of looks at 2020. This article chronicles the rapid growth of online automobile auctions in response to the damn virus. I enjoyed this sentence: “But in the middle of March, everything came to a stop faster than an F1 car heading into a hairpin turn.” I’m not even a big fan of auto racing.

I think the rapid move to online auctions speaks to the advantage of an economy where the private sector makes most of the decisions in terms of allocating resources. Can you imagine government being able to pivot so quickly? I maintain that’s not possible.

 

“Socialism is a philosophy of failure, the creed of ignorance, and the gospel of envy; its inherent virtue is the equal sharing of misery.”

– Winston Churchill

 

I know Dirty Dingus McGee has bought cars via an online auction; has anyone else? I have made some half-hearted bids on Bring a Trailer, but knew that little to no chance existed that I would wind up owning the cars. BaT listings show scores of photos and the seller is almost always available to answer questions.

I think online auctions will be the dominant form in the future as the low overhead and low commissions will be a competitive advantage. Even if you have not done so already, would any of you consider buying a car in an online auction?

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Some more blog stats…

The number of views that were referred by search engines in 2020 was seven times higher than the number for 2019 and 85 times higher than the number for 2018. I have no idea how “sticky” that referral pipeline is. Of course, I wish that the total number of views for 2020 had been seven times higher than 2019 or 85 times higher than 2018.

From my perspective, I think it’s unfortunate that 86 percent of those referrals from search engines in 2020 were from the Evil Empire, aka Google. I didn’t think that their share of the search market was that high, but maybe this blog is not a representative sample. I haven’t used any Google product for three years. The fact that I still have to delete Google cookies from my computer every week is just more evidence of their criminality.

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I am just beginning to formulate ideas for Ultimate Garage 3.0. It seems like I wrote about version 2.0 just a few months ago, but May of 2021 will be two years.

I am struggling to make these choices organic. I do not want to simply repeat the same 11 cars that I listed in 2.0, but don’t want to change just for the sake of change. In addition, my feelings about various cars are difficult to compare to each other.

I think at least five cars will stay the same; you can guess as to their identity. Why not limit 3.0 to just the “core” cars? What fun would that be?! 🙂

I don’t think I will write posts on the cars that just missed the cut as I have done in the past. However, I will begin to show cars that are under consideration, but not locks, such as this one:

 

See the source image

 

From Classic Nation a picture of a 1956 Continental (don’t call it a Lincoln) Mark II. In conversations with friends who are car people, some of them have “complained” about lack of representation of Ford and Mopar vehicles in Ultimate Garage 2.0. I am NOT a proponent of quotas in any aspect of life and that applies to this exercise. I think decisions about inclusion/exclusion should be made solely on the basis of merit, whenever possible, and it’s possible far more often than the SJWs will admit.

However, I also don’t want to exclude cars just because they were made by companies of whom I am not the biggest fan. For me, FoMoCo will always have the shadow of its disgusting founder hanging over it. Will that affect my decision to ultimately include or exclude the Mark II? I’m only human, but I will try to be as objective as possible about something that is subjective in nature, as paradoxical as that sounds.

 

#SlapdashSaturday

#DesertViews

#OnlineCarAuctions

#GoogleIsEvil

#UltimateGarage3.0

#1956-57ContinentalMarkII

#somanycarsjustonelife

#disaffectedmusings

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