29 October 2014

"Fender Stratocaster"

The title of my post is the title of a program I recorded that was on "Palladia" channel, thinking my friend and guitar nut Phil would enjoy watching with me if he stopped by to spend the night last week. I had no idea what to expect from it, except that it initially aired in 2005 and was recorded in London.
Phil didn't make it through to visit, so I fired the sucker up yesterday just to see what I had recorded.
It turned out to be something different than I had hoped. I hoped it would be Joe Walsh, Eric Clapton, or some other guitar genius talking about their talent and how "Fender" had motivated them to excellence. Instead, it's just three hours of folks on stage doing various Rock hits, most of which include someone doin' something with a guitar at some point.

"The Crickets". Hank Marvin. Some  unidentified guy with fingers moving across the strings faster than should be allowed by law. Neat stuff.
I turned on the Bose sound system, cranked it up, and went upstairs to do a few chores while listening.

Who's that?
She sounds familiar.
Singing a jazz number, I don't really care for the tune, but she's got a good voice...
Wonder what she looks like?
I go to the railing and look down to check.
Brunette. Voluptuous. Eyes like Sophia Loren. Meat in the right places on her bones.

Amy Winehouse.

27 October 2014

Buggy Whips

If the title of my post confuses you, let me explain.
Until the early 1900's, when you wanted to deliver milk, move across country, or simply take your sleigh "over the river and through the woods to Grandmother's house", you probably used a vehicle powered by oats and hay. Some of those powerplants did their jobs without an octane booster. Some needed a little extra help. That little bit of help might have been supplied by a device that looked like a stick with a length of leather shoelace attached to it.
When engines of one sort or another replaced horses as powerplants, many workers toiling in factories designed to produce Buggy Whips suddenly found themselves unemployed.

I still have the Buggy Whip's cousin in my home. It's called a "landline" or "hard wired" telephone.
If you know my name, you can still look me up... I'm "in the book".
And that's the reason I've continued paying the bill to keep the landline. For years, while I had my own little helicopter business, it was a valuable tool:
"Hey, let's call Greybeard and sign little Jimmy up for helicopter flight lessons."
And they did.
To this landline we added an answering machine and a copier/printer/fax machine.

Over the last two weeks that phone has rung approximately four times a day.
We screen ALL our calls on that line through the answering machine. Here's the way these calls have sounded:
First, there's dead silence for three seconds. Then we hear, "Hello!  We're calling all conservative republicans to action to defeat 'Blah blah politician or policy' in the upcoming election."
Here's what's irritating-
Those are the ONLY calls we get for the money we're throwing at that "Buggy Whip".

We're getting ready to spend several months away from the Great White North.
Funds we spend on that device could take me and my bride out to a nice dinner a couple times a month.
Much as I hate to no longer be listed in "The Book", I think it's time to de-Luddite, don't you?


24 October 2014

"I Wish..."

More and more I realize how fortunate I was.
Though my Father and me weren't really close during my formative years, he was THERE.
And by "There", I mean he came home from work, read the Indianapolis Times and Indianapolis News, and waited for Mom to put dinner on the table. At that time he, Mom, my sister and me all sat around that table, ate the meal, and TALKED.
The meal? It was never fancy. Sometimes it was cornmeal mush and beans.
But in all my growing-up years I was NEVER hungry.
Dad was there.
Way too many kids these days cannot make that statement.

Conversation around that table was what you'd expect...
Dad's job as a lineman for the Indianapolis Power and Light Company was not without risk. Sometimes we'd hear stories about someone being hurt. Once it was about how difficult it was to lower an acquaintance's body from the utility pole.
We may not have been close, but Dad was THERE, and I knew, because of his WWII experience, and the fact his coworkers had died doing the same job he did, he was a willing to take risks others would not take... a hero.
He was someone who deserved my attention.

Dad was THERE putting beans and biscuits on that table, and I listened not only to what he said but what he didn't say.

I heard him say, "If I had stayed in the ARMY I'd be retiring now."
And from that I inferred, "I wish I had looked farther into the future and had taken a smarter course."
How many kids today could benefit from that lesson?
How many adults today would have better lives if their Fathers had been sitting across from them at the dinner table?

Dad was there. Mom was there.
And their relationship, though FAR from perfect, reminds me of the Foster Parent ads we're seeing and hearing on our media today...
"You don't need to be perfect to be a perfect parent."

We didn't have much, but we had MORE than enough.
How long before we realize kids need PARENTS...(that's PLURAL folks), to be THERE for kids?
Our train is off the track.
Let's get back to the basics and get back on the right course.

23 October 2014

Car and Driver

I'm what "Car and Driver" magazine would call an "Enthusiast"...
I pretty much love all cars. I LUST after cars I'd like to own, and at least tolerate and try to understand vehicles like drastically lowered pickup trucks that make me scratch my head in wonder why anyone would do that.
I cherish the memory of my '68 Oldsmobile 442 and the good times I had in it, driving in such ways that I have no right to still be among the living.

That 442, a "muscle car",  heavily influenced my thoughts toward our latest new car purchase-
A Ford Taurus SHO.
Seven-hundred horsepower Dodge Challengers and 500+ horsepower Camaros tempted me, but they eat premium fuel by the boxcar load and their rear seats are pretty much useless for entertaining guests you'd like to keep as friends.
We needed a new car. We needed something practical. But I wanted something with cojones.
The SHO fills that bill nicely.

There are 353 horses lurking beneath that hood.
It prefers premium but will run just fine on 87-Octane... just expect lower performance when the engine control computer realizes you've put it on a low-carb diet.
It gets 25-or-so miles per gallon.
And it has a back seat that can't be considered cruel and unusual punishment.
We're still trying to figure out how to use many of the gadgets this car has that can do "stuff" for us. One of the first things we sorted out was the SHO's ability to parallel park itself-
Push the button designated for this purpose. Turn on the turn signal to signify where the car should be searching for a parking spot, right or left side. When the car finds a spot it likes it will signal you to STOP on the center Nav/Phone/Climate/Entertainment display. It will then tell you to engage reverse and slowly depress the accelerator. Keep your hands OFF the steering wheel so you don't cause the system to cancel the parking process. Sit back and watch as the car's sensors back the car perfectly into the available space.
It's freaky to experience.

Now, as an "enthusiast" I'm thinking of the future...
Google already has self-driving cars operating in California, I've heard. Watching our car park itself has made me realize we're just a few steps from that technology (and more) being used widely around the world.
What happens to those of us that enjoy driving our cars?
How long before human mistakes cause accidents that will legally be considered negligence on our part?

I miss my old Olds 442.
But more and more, I'm the old FART that pines for the "Good Old Days".

22 October 2014

Hillary in '16

So, what's goin' on?
We've got the accelerator on the floor and we're headed for a crash, THAT'S what's goin' on!

Like you, (I hope), I watch a lot of stuff on TV to educate myself.
Unlike so many of my fellow citizens, I DON'T think Jon Stewart is a good source for current events.

The other day I watched an interview of Peter Thiel, who was instrumental in creating Facebook and actually founded PayPal.
Peter is obviously a brilliant dude. I like it when I find that geniuses agree with my thoughts.
Peter thinks we're headed for BIG trouble.

In the interview, Peter also made a comment that I've been thinking about for some time now...
Basically, he wants democrats to sleep in their own feces.
For those not so quick on the uptake, here's what that means:
The economy WILL collapse. Progressives are the reason the economy WILL collapse. Virtually all democrats are progressives.
It WILL happen.
Let's try to insure that a progressive is in office when the world goes to Hell, so the history books, (written mostly by progressives), will have to do the wildest tap-dance we've ever seen in order to put lipstick on this pig.

It took a "Village" to get us into this mess.
Let's make Hillary the Mayor of the village so she can try to fix it when the chaos starts.
Vote HILLARY in '16!