Saturday, March 18

Amelia Concours d'Elegance, AKA And Another Porsche

To be fair, I didn't actually attend The Amelia, also called the Amelia Concours d'Elegance. So I'm not sure which vehicles are represented at the event. Someday, I'll check it out. I just wanted to take my 86 Bertone X 1/9 for a leisurely drive around Amelia Island while the concours was happening so that I could see some of the locals doing the same. Cruising, I guess. I figured I'd see all kinds of vehicles like mine: MGs, Triumphs, TVRs, Lotuses, Alfas, Ferraris. MR2s and Fieros wanting to be X 1/9s. Miatas wanting to be 124s. At least one Viper. Grand Nationals, Chevelles, Camaros and Mustangs. Of course, plenty of Corvettes. Some Teslas and Maseratis, too. However, I mostly saw Porsches.

I like Porsches, so I wasn't as disappointed as I was surprised. After I saw my first half-dozen German sports cars, I stopped looking too closely at them, just offering my event catch phrase, "And another Porsche."

I did see my fair share of Corvettes, so some of the coolest grandpas from several retirement communities were checking out the concours. I saw one MG, one Alpha Romeo Spyder, one legit American muscle car, maybe three Ferraris, etc. It was fun to see these cars, so I'm glad I ventured out. Perhaps Saturday is the big day to bring your own ride that might need an emergency tow, whereas Sunday is the day to bring the family in a Blah-serati SUV. But of the folks that did show up with sports cars, a majority of them drove Porsches. I guess Sunday could have been some kind of Porsche owners club event. 

I estimate that I saw about double the number of Porsches as Corvettes. Probably 25 Corvettes and 50 Porsches. Granted, a Corvette is a model while Porsche is a make, with such offerings as the 911, Cayman, and Boxster. I saw mostly 911s, though I did see a vintage 928 parked along A1A. I wish I'd seen at least one other Fiat, though I did get thumbs up from at least one Porsche driver and one Corvette passenger (whose grandpa probably used to have a Fiat).
I guess I'm wondering if the Porsche phenomenon is local to northeast Florida or attendees of fancy auto shows. Plenty of Navy guys in Jax own Mustangs, Camaros, and Chargers, but those guys are more likely to attend auto shows in local strip mall parking lots than at the Ritz-Carlton. Also, the categories for show cars include the "Porsche 959," "Porsche 2.7 Carrera," "Porsche Fiberglass Racing Spyders," etc. Lots of Porsche categories probably means lots of Porsche fans.

I was on the X 1/9 forum recently and saw that there are roughly 1,000 registered and licensed Xs in the US (about 100 from 1986), and one argument was that if you don't pay premium prices for collector cars, you don't keep them up and expect premium sales prices later. I know Corvettes are seen as investments, and I bet all those Porsche owners probably feel the same way. For me, it's enough to invest in a yearly-ish oil change and hope the car keeps running. However, I did have to replace the fuel filter after I nearly stalled taking on the Dames Point Bridge (I luckily had an extra filter in my pre-bought parts box).

Anyhow, back to Porsches. They cost about $1,000 a year to maintain. Corvettes are around $700. My budget is maybe $200, which I've tried to stick to since my marriage 20 years ago. I used to take it to a real Italian dealership in Milwaukee (Reina) where it got pricey love. If 911 and Corvette owners believe it makes sense to spend 4 to 5 times my budget for keeping their cars from falling apart, that probably explains the numbers of those vehicles on the road. Maybe someday I'll own a Porsche along with my Fiat.

Even Newt Gingrich Says I Can Talk About Ron DeSantis

While some of my fellow Floridians might think the Second Amendment is the most important, it's really the First Amendment. Free speech. It allows you to say how important the other amendments are to you. While we have some limits to free speech/writing when it comes to defamation or libel, we Americans generally have the right to say what we believe, especially about public figures. If Ron DeSantis signs a bill saying bloggers will need to register with the government in order to discuss him, he'll be assaulting free speech in a way that will make his assault on state education look like light petting.

I understand the idea behind saying that some paid bloggers are really lobbyists. Some bloggers are probably paid lots of money by political parties in order to promote or denounce policies and politicians. It's probably frustrating that these folks hide behind the First Amendment the same way mass shooters hide behind the Second Amendment. Jason Brodeur, who would also be off-limits for bloggers who don't register with the FLestapo, has proposed a bill that would fine anyone who has gotten paid or will get paid for a blog post about DeSantis or any of his pets in office. Not journalists, supposedly. But then again, with DeSantis's view mainstream media being partisan, isn't everyone from USA Today to the Miami Herald just writing for blogs nowadays? And what about editorial opinions from newspapers?

I realize I'm not the target here. No one "pays" me to write my posts. I might make a little money from ads on my website. In general, however, if I wanted to start a blog, like and write hard news, fake news, satire, or even poetry about Ron Desantis (while getting paid by Donald Trump or George Soros), it's actually OK for me to do that. In Russia, I might go to jail, but even though we also border Georgia, this ain't Russia. Yet. 

Most of this stuff, I don't really care about. We've got property appraisers and school board members getting Desantis backing.  Disney taking it up the Astro Orbiter. Or AP taking it lying down. College professors, teachers, and students being told what to teach and learn. Unions getting busted (except police). Ex-cons who were told to vote by the state being sent to jail for voting and politicians who question RD's buddies in The Villages being sent to jail on trumped-up Sunshine law charges. And you can't have a meeting at the Capitol without a sponsor. Or a peaceful protest. But we sure as shootin can all carry concealed weapons, especially those in the new Florida secret police force. We even have guards at library voting stations. And what will we ever know about Kent Stermon or how Mike Williams kept his retirement or which donors have which construction/road project? Or why millions of our dollars are being used in Texas to send illegal immigrants north.

Ron Desantis, whose name I can say, is a one-trick pony who happened to open Florida up at the right time, and that might have warranted him a second term as governor. But he really seems to be an icky person who is trying to create new world order in Florida that limits more rights than it offers, all while hoping to control who can even write about him or talk about him.

If you're not a racist truck driver/housing developer, you can probably agree that Ron Desantis has taken taken things too far in at least a half-dozen ways. But there's no state legislature or state supreme court to check him, so we're kind of stuck with whatever plans he cooks up in his lair. I've lived in states with Republicans and Democrats as governor, and normally I agree with some policies and disagree with some policies. With Captain Ron, I agree with some, disagree with some, but for a vast majority, I am kind of in disbelief. I suppose his supporters would say I was indoctrinated as woke for too many years, but that's just not true. I don't agree with paying reparations and trans stuff makes me uncomfortable. I don't like illegal immigration or illegal voting. But I do believe that absolute power corrupts absolutely. I also believe that those who feel bullied become the worst bullies. Ron Desantis plays off the fear we all have of being bullied. Real or perceived, and from one perspective. You can look through history to find other leaders who led with that fear. Sure, our Founding Fathers might fit the description, but they also established our Bill of Rights that included free speech. It's the other leaders throughout history who tried to suppress rights that worry me. And those are the leaders that worried those who created our country.

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