Friday, December 30, 2011

I am Episcopalian ...

Because this deserves MUCH greater circulation:

The Artist Militant versus The Artist Triumphant

Every painting is a battle for me.  Some are not as difficult as others, but they are all battles.  Some are rather protracted campaigns, while others are shorter skirmishes.  Some end in decisive victory, and others end with my signature on a treaty of surrender.

My point today is about how different the battle looks during the battle from the way it looks a year or two later, in hindsight.  I have made several paintings about which, upon their completion, I could not say whether or not they were successful.  And certainly during the middle stretches of each painting, success seems very much in doubt.

Here is a painting that I worked on for about 2 years.  I finished it in the summer of 2010.  While it was going on, I always doubted whether the glass blocks (which took forever!) and the granite would be at all convincing when the thing was finished.  Now, 18 months later, I am convinced.  I am happy with the result.

Funny how that works.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Rickenbacker Evolution: Vintage Guitar Collection!

This is a spectacular video tour of a large, unique Rickenbacker guitar collection.  A must see video for all fans of Rickenbacker musical instruments!  From PREMIERGuitar.

Thought-Provoking Atheist Bumper Sticker

I don't know why it is that lately I am running into more (or am more attuned to notice) atheist advertising.  First, it was this Santa billboard.  Then, a few days later, I saw this bumper sticker on the back of an SUV:

This has several features to commend it.  First of all, it carries a complex thought in a relatively small number of words. You cannot effectively squeeze a lengthy manifesto onto a bumper sticker size rectangle.  But this sticker manages to say something philosophically profound in 15 or 16 words, which makes it rather elegant.

The second thing I like about it is its refreshing acknowledgment of the awesomeness of God, and of man's smallness, dependence, and frailty by comparison.  In short, it adequately recognized the Creator-creature distinction (pretty good for an atheist!):  It realizes what an audacious thing it is to question Almighty God.  The whole phrase just rings with the injustice of puny man daring to confront and question God his Creator, of daring to drag God, Job-like, into court to press one's complaint against Him.  In fact, the sentiment as expressed could almost have been lifted out of one of the later chapters of the book of Job:
Then the LORD answered Job out of the whirlwind, and said, Who is this that darkeneth counsel by words without knowledge?  Gird up now thy loins like a man; for I will demand of thee, and answer thou me.  Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? declare, if thou hast understanding.  (Job 38:1-4)
The next commendable thing about this atheist bumper sticker is a startling thing, indeed.  For it assumes a Calvinist understanding of God's work in creating faith in the hearts and minds of men.  The clear assumption here is that God is Sovereign over mankind, choosing those in whom He will create faith.  This is a Romans 9 understanding of human salvation, a rare enough thing to find in Christians, an odd oracle indeed in the mouth of an atheist.  Or, is it?  I have long noted that non-believers can often be more honest in the interpretation of Scripture than Christians since, for the atheist, nothing (as he supposes) is "riding" on it.  Since Scripture is hogwash from his point-of-view, he is free to be totally honest about what it says.  And what it says is that God determines who will answer the call of the Gospel:
All that the Father giveth me shall come to me ... (John 6:37)
After all this praise, you may be asking what it is that I find wrong or lacking about the sentiment expressed.  Two things, primarily.  One centers around the use of the word "want".  To use it without comment (as one must needs do in a bumper-sticker length sentence) confuses God's Decretive Will and His Prescriptive (Preceptive) Will.  God does "want" every atheist to believe, because He commands it:
And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent. (Acts 17:30)
Finally, the atheist is being presumptuous in assuming that because he does not currently believe in God, that it is God's will for him never to believe.  That is a totally unwarranted conclusion.  And chiefly because of this error, I'm afraid that the poor atheist in the SUV is likely to keep having Gospel seed flung on him by Christian after Christian, all his life long.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

World's Greatest Drag Race?

I don't know if this lives up to the title, but it is worth watching:

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

East Coast Drag Times Hall of Fame 2011 Reunion

This event looks to have been a blast!  All the old drag cars look great!

 Our fried Bob Lees was there with the "High & Mighty II" Ramchargers tribute car.

Monday, December 26, 2011

More on Planet Fitness

These are kind of long (and the first has needless use of the F-word), but they illustrate the position which Planet Fitness has taken up in the market. They really DO have pizza night.

I Want To Be a Bodybuilder (Part 3)

I think I may have posted some of the videos here before. I like Part 3, because it gets into the whole Planet Fitness thing. Of course, I support their right to refuse membership to anyone they choose, but their anti-bodybuilder stance still amuses me. It is not a "Judgment-Free Zone", as they claim.

In case you missed them, here are the other parts from YouTube:

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Cemetery Gates: Death and Mourning Through the Ages

Those who are regular readers of this blog may know of my interest in cemeteries, and in photographs and paintings of cemetery scenes.  I recently had one of my photographs published in this book, but interestingly it was not a cemetery photo (see B&W photo below).

Here is the photo that was chosen for the book.  It is of Ivy Blue, and was taken at St. John's Episcopal Church of Detroit, on Woodward in downtown Detroit.

I have not given the book a close enough examination to be able to write any sort of meaningful review.  But I did find the images it contains to be interesting.

Sometimes, You Just Have to Feel Sorry for Atheists ...

I was driving my family home at about 1:00 am this morning, through the darkness of I-75 in Genesee County, we saw this billboard, blazing at us with what seemed a million watts:

You kind of have to feel sorry for the atheists, really.  I mean, the odds are long enough, what with them pitting themselves against centuries of belief in God.

But now, to take on Christmas ... I don't know how they think they can win this one?

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Beat Frequency (Christmas in October)

Dear Readers ... Here is my 2011 Christmas poem.  (A few notes follow, below the text.)

Beat Frequency (Christmas in October)

Backward through the calendar
Christmas yearly strides.
Pagans push it earlier;
Summerward it rides.

Every year it starts again,
Sooner than before.
Someday we shall wake in June,
With Christmas at the door.

Still, they won't be satisfied,
These hurriers to carouse,
Until electric bulbs are hung
From April's budding boughs.

Faster!  Sooner!  still they cry.
On the madness goes!
Heathen frenzy at the malls,
'Mid February's snows.

Why this dash to Bethlehem?
Why no fear of danger?
Rush on pagan, meet your Lord,
Lying in the manger.

Finally, they shall catch me up;
We'll celebrate in synch.
And they shall have their Christmas Eve
Upon Epiphany's brink.

This beating of the Christmas waves,
For aeons shall it live.
For pagans need more Christmases
Than Christendom can give.

© 2011, Paul Erlandson


1.  By "pagan" here I merely mean "non-Christian".
2.  It is, of course, not entirely the fault of pagans that Christmas is celebrated at the "wrong" time. Greedy capitalists, unprincipled radio station managers, and Christians who have lost their way from the Church Calendar (celebrating neither Advent nor the 12 Days of Christmas) are also to blame.
3. I had the idea for this poem back in October, 2011, a few days before Halloween, when I heard Christmas music being played on the radio.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Angus Dei

I sometimes think that if I ever open a restaurant, I will have a beef dish called "Angus Dei" (the Angus of God).  Angus cattle, of course, produce tasty beef.  I wondered if anyone had thought of that, and so I Googled the phrase, and came up with only one relevant photo:

If I don't open up a restaurant, I may open a clothing store.  If so, the name of it will be:  Everybody Loves Raiment.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Alex Barrett & His "Rocketeer" Funny Car

I stumbled on this story today, and I love it!  Alex Barrett is a young man who has had the dream to drive a race car like this since the age of 6.  And, at age 23, he's made it happen!  He was such a go-getter that he had sponsors before he even had the car!

Here is his story, from the Press-Enterprise, a SoCal (Inland Empire) news source.  And, here is the gorgeous 1970 'Cuda funny car, the Rocketeer!

Here's a little video action.  Take note of the 1 Corinthians 10:31 inscription on the spoiler of the car (Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.).

Friday, December 16, 2011

Fiat Abarth 500 Commercial

Maybe I am just getting old, and my memory is failing me.  But I cannot remember ever seeing a sexier advertisement (for anything!) than this one for the new Fiat Abarth 500.

According to Ward's Auto World, the translation for the young woman's Italian is:

"What are you looking at?!"

Then, after she softens a bit:  "Poor baby, your heart is pounding."

Mine was, too.  Whatever ad agency created this understands men pretty well.

Specs for the car can be found here.

Here is an older Fiat Abarth, that I saw last year in Garden City, Michigan:

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Ford Raptor vs Fiat 500 vs Leaf Blowers

Remember when pollution was really pollution?  When poisonous hydrocarbons were the culprit?  When CO2 was understood as a normal bi-product of all plant and animal life, and not considered a pollutant?

Here is an interesting test:  In terms of real pollution, which pollutes more?  Ford F-150 Raptor truck, the tiny Fiat 500, or a leaf blower?  You might not be surprised that the leaf blower creates far more pollution than the two vehicles.  But you might be surprised that the Ford Raptor Crew Cab pollutes less than the diminutive 2012 Fiat 500!

During part of the cycle, the Raptor was actually cleaning the air.  That means that the exhaust coming from the tail pipe of the F-150 was cleaner than the air going into its intake manifold!

Put that up your tailpipe, enviro-wackos!

More here.

Return of the Son of P90X ...

There is, as has been stated many times, no such thing as bad publicity.

If, as I have done in the past, I make some snide comments about the failings of Toyota automobiles, then Toyota ads appear magically to the right of my blog.

I posted a blog entry a while back about "Team Beachbody Coaches", in which I mentioned P90X, just in passing.  Now there are P90X ads attached to my blog.  You cannot stop the juggernaut!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Playing Real Good ... For Free

A lot of people have seen this by now.  It makes me cry.  It makes me, honestly, lose ALL hope for humanity.

Cliff Notes:  World-class violinist Joshua Bell goes into a Washington, D.C. Metro station and plays Bach on a Stradivarius for 45 minutes.  No crowd gathers.  Hardly anyone even stops.  No applause is given.

Read the entire account here.

I know one thing:  If my wife had been commuting to work on that day, she would have willingly skipped work to hear him, and tears would have been streaming down her cheeks for the entire 45 minutes.

It reminds me of the story line of this Joni Mitchell song, in which another street performer, a clarinetist, performs great music for free, and is ignored.  In the end, nearly all people are Phillistines, with no sense of aesthetics.  If they do not have a ticket stub to check, they cannot tell the value of what they are seeing or hearing.  So sad.

Sheila Bleck Posing Routine

Behold the art of physique and the artistry in presentation that is Sheila Bleck!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Search Engines, Good Rats, & The Persistence of Memory

I've always liked Dali's painting, The Persistence of Memory, but that is not what this post is about.

It is about lost things being found and redeemed.  Specifically, about things supposedly lost to memory, but brought back to the present in a very real way by the wonderful invention called the internet search engine.  Search engine, as in Google, or its many imitators.

Once there was a song.  It was on an album that I bought on a whim while attending The Cooper Union back in the late 1970s.  On this album was a song called "Does it Make You Feel Good?"  It was very catchy, and soon became a favourite of mine.  I learned to play it on guitar, and I memorized the lyrics.

Years later, I still played the song from time to time.  By then, I had two children, and I used to sing them to sleep with guitar accompaniment.  One of the songs I sang was "Does it Make You Feel Good."  It was, being a song of twisted attraction to a sadistic lover, a bit of an odd song to sing to children.  But, I am a bit of an odd man.

Blow me around like a cigarette wrapper
Smack in the middle of a hurricane.
Sucker me in like a Venus Flytrapper
Baby I'm startin' to think you don't like me!
Does it make you happy, makin' me sad?
Does it really, really get you off?
Does it make you feel good makin' me hurt?
Does it really really get you off?
Then, a few weeks ago, it struck me that I ought to locate this song on YouTube.  I knew that the band was something with "Rats" in it.  I thought it might be the Hot Rats, but that was a Zappa album.  Then I thought it might be the Boomtown Rats, but that was wrong, too.  So, finally, I Googled "sucker me in like a Venus fly trapper", and I was taken to a page that mentioned the name of the band:  Good Rats!  From there, it was only a hop, skip, and a jump to finding the song on YouTube, thanks to the grace of God and the nearly universal neglect of YouTube's Terms & Conditions of Service.

And, due to the same, here it is for your aural enjoyment!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Herman Cain, Satan, and the Physics of Falling

In the early days of his run at the Republican nomination, I was really excited about Herman Cain.  I really liked the guy.  Actually, I still do.  He was not afraid to talk (or even sing) about Jesus, for one thing.  That, to most politicians, seems like the kiss of death.

I'd like to say that I was surprised by the derailing of the "Cain Train", but I am not.  I am old enough and have learned enough about men (partly from introspection) that sinful behavior never surprises me too much.

What I was extremely surprised at was that I actually felt a small bit of glee in watching Cain fall from grace (or, at least, from the realistic hope of ever becoming President of the United States).  I was shocked at myself.

It is a fairly well known and documented feature of mankind that we like to see people in high places cast down.  I think that, actually, it is in large part the animus behind the Occupy Wall Street movement:  The 99% have a fierce desire for the 1% to be cast down, if not from the pinnacle of the temple, then at least from their penthouse balconies.

I got to thinking about folks in high places getting cast down, and I came round to thinking about Satan:

The seventy-two returned with joy and said, “Lord, even the demons submit to us in your name.”
He replied, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven.
I remember that back in my old LCMS days, Pastor Paul Terhune commented on this passage that the falling of Satan like lightning from heaven was not merely a one-time event, but that the sense of the passage was that "Satan is a falling-from-heaven kind of guy."

Of course, everyone likes to watch creatures like Satan or Kim Kardashian fall from heaven; it's just pure fun.  But what can explain the glee felt by one relatively decent Christian man at the fall of another.  It should bring only sadness.

So, I was pondering this during yesterday's sermon (Sorry, Father!), and I came up with an analogy based on Physics.  For the civilians out there, what I mean to say is that watching someone fall from a height is, basically, like a roller coaster.  It is exciting to see (or feel) the velocity build up.

In Physics terms, any object that has physical mass (I will introduce the concept of spiritual mass later) and proximity to another physical object with mass ... has what is called Gravitational Potential Energy.  Because of the gravitational attraction (given by Newton's Universal Law of Gravitation) between the two bodies, the less massive body "falls" toward the more massive body, or "wants" to, if nothing holds it up in its lofty position.

When people are in positions of fame, notoriety, earthly or spiritual power, authority, honor, etc., there is a certain Spiritual Potential Energy that they possess based upon the height at which they sit suspended, and their "Spiritual Mass", their gravitas, so to speak, or their "largeness".  When the restraining force is taken away, whether in the case of the roller coaster or in the case of a falling creature, Potential Energy is converted into Kinetic Energy, which is proportional to mass, but also to the square of the velocity of the fall.  And I guess in the end it is just exciting to see Potential Energy converted to Kinetic Energy.

One can even ponder whether, for certain types of adventurous (though less kind terms could be used) persons, the experience of one's own fall can give this kind of excitement.  It is possible that this type of person will go about, to all appearances, sabatoging himself.  When all the while he may be engaged in an intentional spiritual skydive.  I'm not saying that Herman Cain is this sort of person, nor that he entered the Republican Primary to see whether he could "get away with it."  But it is worth pondering the reasons for self-destructive behavior in all persons:  Herman Cain, Kim Kardashian, Satan, and me.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Funny How the So-Called 99% is Actually a Tiny Minority!

This is what happens to the self-proclaimed 99% any time you get a representative sample of the population present:  THEIR CRAP AND NONSENSE GETS OUT-VOTED ... about 99-to-1, oddly enough.

Joe Friday and Bill Gannon Lecture 2 Occupiers!

Some of you readers may be too young to recall the 1960s TV show Dragnet.  It was a classic, particularly noted for Sergeant Joe Friday's deadpan delivery of lines.  Here, Friday and his partner Bill Gannon give a lecture to two hippies, who for all intents and purposes are exactly like those in the Occupy movement.

Watch and learn!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Team Beachbody COACH ... Really?

I have to admit, the subtle ways of business often elude me.  And so it is with the Team Beachbody brand ...

I mean, I understand the basic idea.  They want to sell as much product as possible (e.g., P90X® and Shakeology®), and they hope to put their customers to work as salesmen.  I get that.

But the folks I've seen so far who have presented themselves to me as Team Beachbody Coaches are ... well ... umm ... let's just say I don't picture them as ever (past, present, or future) having beach bodies.  They are, to be blunt, quite fat.

Is it just me, or wouldn't you think that the company would want to limit itself to spokespeople who actually made it seem like perhaps the products worked?  Because I sure don't get that impression from they guys I have seen hawking these products as Team Beachbody Coaches!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Hot Rod Anglican's "Advent Tree"

Christmas ... You're doing it wrong!  At least, you're starting WAY too early.  December 25 is the BEGINNING of the Christmas season.  For 4 Sundays prior to that, you should be observing the season of Advent, which is a season of fasting, similar to Lent.  Advent has been observed in the Christian Church since the 4th Century.

But everyone wants to skip Advent, and go directly to Christmas.  I heard Christmas music on the radio this year, 4 days before Halloween.  That is ridiculous.  Trust me, Christmas is much more meaningful and profound if you observe the 4 weeks of Advent leading up to it.

To illustrate my point, I've taken a drag racing "Christmas Tree"  (which is what drag racers call the timing lights at the starting line) and turned it into an "Advent Tree".  The 3rd set of bulbs is rose-coloured for Gaudete (Rejoice) Sunday.

Remembrances of Suze Rotolo

You'd think I would have picked up on the fact of her death, since it was all over the internet.  But it caught me by surprise today.  I was Googling for images of Bob Dylan's old girlfriend, Suze Rotolo, and every image I found ended up being linked to an obituary of hers.

I was impressed with her appearances in No Direction Home, for a variety of reasons.  But I had not thought a lot about her since first seeing that.  And now, she is gone.  Here are links to a handful of the obituary articles.

Rolling Stone

The Guardian




Sunday, November 27, 2011

Interview with Bodybuilder Gail Auerbach

I am very pleased to have the opportunity to interview bodybuilder Gail Auerbach.

Hi, Gail!  Thanks for agreeing to be interviewed!

Thanks for the opportunity! I am excited!

Can you recount for us how you first got involved with bodybuilding? 

During college their was a bodybuilding show called Greek Physique and I decided I wanted to compete in it.  I trained at the gym with many guys who offered to help me pose, diet and prepare. I loved the diet, loved putting on muscle, loved cardio, learning about supplements and loved competing! I competed in Greek Physique and won it 4 years in a row! When I left college I joined a gym back home where I was student teaching.  I started working out there daily and meeting people who competed in the NPC and who told me I should do a show.  I told everyone I wanted to focus on my first year teaching and just continued to train.  I hired a trainer and he trained me 3 times a week.  I started to see myself put on more and more muscle as time went on. I ate clean and started learning more about supplements.  I decided to start attending the local NPC contests to see what it was like. During the first show I went to I had made up my mind...I WANTED TO COMPETE AGAIN! So in 2007 I started my journey toward my first competition.  During the year I went to every show and met more and more people who competed.  I started lifting, training and spending time with competitors and by the end of 2007 with the help of Anita Nikovich, who dieted me,  I had won 1st place and the Overall at my first NPC Illinois show! 

Tell us some of the things which bodybuilding has done for you as a person.

It taught me resilience and to persevere when things are hard.  This has helped me get through contest prep, in the off season when bulking and in my professional life as a elementary and special education teacher.
I was struggling to find my "place" or "home" in this world.  Bodybuilding is where I began my first attempt to be understood for who I am and what I believe in. It has also helped me learn acceptance for people, others perspectives and what I can't control.

Would you say that you have a love/hate relationship with bodybuilding, or is it just an endless love affair?

Usually I love it, but I get into the hate side when things don't go my way or I am forced to accept things out of my control, like holding water or how my body responds to carbs.

I was a public school teacher for five years, so I am very interested in your teaching career.  Can you tell us a little about that?

It's the LOVE of my life! I have wanted to be a teacher since I was in elementary school myself and hated it! It was such a struggle for me and at the time special education students were treated much differently than they are today.  I wanted to make sure no child ever walked out of school hating it like I did and was turned off to learning. I have taught in the same district for 12 years and taught 1st grade for 7 years and kindergarten for 5. I obtained my Master's Degree in Educational Adminstration and my Ph.D in Special Education.  I also have a whole ton of endorsements in education. The kids I teach think bodybuilding is about who has the darkest tan onstage.  They see me lose weight and think I just started eating healthier.  Their comments are always funny!

What would you consider (to date) as the high point of your competitive bodybuilding career?

Winning 1st place and overall at the NPC Jr. USA's and being mentored and dieted by Dave Palumbo for all these years.

What is your favorite body part to train?  Least favorite?

I hate training legs, cause they drain me, but since I hired IFBB Pro Michael Liberatore to train me I have started liking them and learned a ton about training them.

I LOVE training sholders and arms!

You are Editor-in-Chief of "Rx Girl" for … how did you land that gig, and how do you like it?

I am extremely passionate about my job at RX Girl.  I am blessed to be able to get to know so many wonderful female athletes and promote them on so many levels.  When I got my minor in undergrad in PR, I really thought I would never use it, being a teacher, but I didn't want to graduate and leave college so I decided to get it. It's funny 11 years later to actually be using it!  I kept nagging my diet guru, Dave Palumbo about wanting to "give back" and do more for the industry, but being a full time career driven teacher, I just didn't know how.  He let me help behind the scenes at RX Muscle a bit and as the site started to grow he offered me the position.  I was SO excited, I didn't sleep for a week! Now it is a dream to work with and for him and share the same vision and goals for the site. I encourage any women who may be reading this to contact me for promotional opportunities.

Do you feel that the rigors of the bodybuilding lifestyle have kept you from having a normal social life?

For a while I felt like it was keeping me away from dating and that was why I was not married, but I know that finding Mr. Right is out of my control and will happen regardless of what journey I am on in my life. Other than that I have always done a good job of balancing my friends, family and bodybuilding lifestyle. Although, when prepping for a show sometimes my time for these things decrease! (just ask my mom...LOL!)

A lot of people still seem never to have heard of women's bodybuilding.  What sorts of reactions do you get from friends/family/strangers regarding your participation in this rather unusual sport?

My family was always very accepting, although for a while they were concerned I couldn't balance bodybuilding and a full time career.  I walked away from the friends who had preconceived notions about the sport and didn't support me pretty quickly.  I never looked back either, just accepted that they weren't true friends.  I get looks from strangers a lot and they whisper as I walk by.  I actually love being unique and it doesn't bother me at all!

You have a Ph.D. in Special Education.  Earning a Ph. D. in any field is no small feat!  What gave you the drive to pursue something so ambitious?

At the age of 6 I was diagnosed with ADD, ED, BD and LD.  I have attention, behavior, learning and emotional difficulties.  Talk about being hit hard.  EVERYTHING I did was a struggle and hard for me.  I knew I wanted to get a degree in Special Education all along, but wanted to also be a principal along the way.  When I graduated from undergrad I never thought I would have the money for more than a master's degree so I pursued Adminstration. The more I taught and worked with special education students the deeper in love I fell. They needed a teacher who understood them and having disabilities myself I could always relate to them well.  I knew I had to get a degree in Special Education and started to run the after school program at my school and work as a principal for summer school to earn the money to pursue it. The real "drive" came from the 8 hours a day I spend currently working with these students and the love I had in my heart each day as I leave the classroom.  I wanted to learn what was going on in their minds and started becoming interested in Brain Based Learning, which is what I did my doctoral dissertation in. 
Do you follow any particular type of bodybuilding protocol for your training (e.g., volume, DC, Max OT, etc.)?

I often try new training methods for periods of time to stay motivated and driven.  I would not say I have a particular one I love more than another. I more focus on contracting the muscle and feeling each rep and movement I do, no matter what training method I use.

What about diet?  Do you eat clean all year around?  Favorite "cheat" meal?

In the offseason I follow a clean diet during the week with cheats on the weekends.  When prepping for a show I am a keto girl. I have found my body responds the best to it and I ADORE the way I feel on it.  My favorite cheat meal is a petite filet, mashed potatos and aspargus at Outback Steakhouse! Oh...and I love pop tarts and trail mix!

Anything else you would like to say to the readers?

I want to thank all my friends (especially my incredible trainer, Michael Liberatore),  my family, and fans who support me, reach out to me and follow my competitive career. I also want to thank my RX Muscle and Species family for their encouragement, advice and endless love.  I could not continue to pursue my dreams in this sport without you!  Not to mention.....a GIGANTIC thank you to my boss, friend and diet guru Dave Palumbo, who has been my leading inspiration in life and enlightened me in numerous ways.

Thanks, so much, Gail for doing this interview!  And we wish you well in all your future endeavors, wherever they may take you!

Thanks again for this incredible opportunity! Feel free to contact me via email or Facebook!

Friday, November 25, 2011

Champaign, Illinois!

I never knew that a song had been written about my hometown.   I like it!  This was reportedly written in 1969, when I still lived in Champaign.  But I never heard it until today.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

"The Doors" perform the Reading Rainbow Theme Song

There are no words to express my complete delight with this:

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Oh no! Not St. Paul's!

I could have guessed this would happen.

Wonderful: London “Occupy” Mob Now Defecating Inside St. Paul’s Cathedral

NASCAR Crowd Boos Michelle Obama and Jill Biden.

Am I the only NASCAR fan to find this completely disgraceful and disappointing?

A crowd that large ought to have been able to boo much louder than this!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Evangelism - UR Doin' it WRONG!

This is just horrible.  Great way to make an enemy of the Gospel for life!

Read it here ...

Michelle Cummings - New IFBB Pro!

Congratulations to Michelle Cummings, who won the Heavyweight Class and the Overall in  Women's Bodybuilding at the NPC Nationals this weekend.  Michelle is now an IFBB Pro!


Saturday, November 19, 2011

2011 NPC Nationals Bodybuilding Event ...

NPC Nationals are going on right now in Miami, Florida.  If anyone needs me for anything, I will be sitting at the computer, relentlessly hitting "refresh" on the RxMuscle contest coverage thread!

This is a fabulous LightWeight competitor by the name of Kimmie Morgan:

Friday, November 18, 2011

Occupy Wall Street - Now Terrorizing Children!

About the only thing good you can say about this is that the OWS terrorists are helping to build the next generation of Conservatives.  These people are not only brimming with hate, they are dumb, dumb, dumb.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Elitism in Zuccoti Park

Courtesy of an ex-student and current FaceBook friend.  It is truly a thing of beauty.

Auto Erotica: Is it Time to Ban Motorsports?

Hugh Curran is an idiot.

See him on display here.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

St. Bartholomew's Anglican Church Choir - Ave Verum Corpus

This is the choir from my parish church, St. Bartholomew's Anglican Church of Swartz Creek, Michigan.  We are by no means perfect.  It is an amateur, all-volunteer choir, and some of us have little or no formal musical training.  But we get in there and try, and I pray that we may glorify God by our efforts.

This is from Mass this morning.

Ave, verum corpus natum de Maria Virgine,
Vere passum immolatum in Cruce pro homine,
Cujus latus perforatum unda fluxit et sanguine,
Esto nobis praegustatum in mortis examine.

Hail,true body born of the Virgin Mary,
Who truly suffered, sacrificed on the Cross for man,
Whose pierced side overflowed with water and blood,
Be for us a foretaste in the test of death.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Installation of a Fatman IFS into a 1963 Mercury Meteor

We did this installation in the Fall of 2008 and Spring of 2009, but I just now got the video done.  There is no excuse for having procrastinated so long, since it only took a few hours to put together.   Installation of this 1962-1965 Ford Fairlane strut front suspension from Fatman Fabrications was a lot of work, but well worth the effort.  Now the front suspension, brakes, and steering on Eliot's Meteor are just as capable as the Cobra IRS out back.

Note:  I had initially added a YouTube approved musical track (from my favourite surf band, the Volcanos!) over the first, silent 2:55 of the video.  But the YouTube audio replacement feature does not currently allow me to replace the audio on only part of the video while keeping the rest.  I thought it was more important to hear the suspension working during the under-car video segment than to have cool surf music during the first three minutes of the video.  So, be careful that your speakers are not turned up too high, or you will be in for a surprise at 2:55 into the video!

Friday, November 11, 2011

New Defroster for my Old Meteor.

I am kind of excited about this project.  When I switched jobs at work, I lost the use of a company lease car, and pressed this 1962 Mercury Meteor ("Merc-O-Saurus") into service.  My son and daughter drive to high school in it every day.  But we had to do some things to get it ready for the type of weather that Detroit experiences this time of year.

Specifically, we wanted to install a rear window defroster (de-fogger).  They didn't have those in 1962, in case you are too young to remember.  I bought a Clear View Defroster Kit from a website: ... and I am pleased with the results (see video).

It is a bit tricky to install ... you have to prep the glass just right, and make sure that you understand every part of the instructions before actually starting.  (If anyone is considering doing this, send me a message, and I can give you some hints.)

And here, just for kicks, are a few photos of this "work-in-progress" car:

Usurping Occupy Protesters

Here is a typical usurpation of someone else's rights (right to speak) by some typical Occupy reprobates.  What they don't get is this:  There is a reason that Congresswoman Michele Bachmann was given the microphone in this situation, and they were not.  She was given the mic, given the floor to speak, because based on her past accomplishments and her current status as someone who is running for election to the highest office in the land, it has been estimated that she may have something to say which is worth hearing.

Based on the non-accomplishments of those who disrupted her speech, it was (correctly) estimated that they have nothing to say that is worth hearing.  In situations like this, such people have a duty to shut up.

The Essential Desperation of the Occupy Movement

I have identified one of the central things that irritates me about the Occupy Wall StreetOccupy Oakland, and all the other Occupiers.

At first, I thought of this central point in terms of rudeness, of the cavalier attitude of unconcern with the property, well-being, and freedoms of others.  When you shut down all commerce in an area, as Occupy Oakland did, you are doing something selfish and illegal, and you deserve the punishment that comes your way.  I will not shed a single tear over the "ouchie" you get from the rubber bullet which the Oakland Police send your way.  Sorry.

When you forcibly camp out on someone else's private property, as OWS has been doing all along, you deserve whatever negative consequences come your way.  You are stealing private property, perverting it for your own demonic uses.  You deserve no sympathy.

But when I thought deeper about the Occupy movement, and why they do what they do, I realized that it was chiefly this:

Blocking the passage of innocent citizens, impeding traffic, shutting down commerce, and appropriating someone else's private property are chiefly acts of desperation.  They are done when it becomes obvious to the protesters that, based solely on the merits of their grievances, nobody at all will listen to them.  So, they find a way to be so obnoxious that people have to listen.

If the Occupy folks didn't block people's travel, stop their commerce, and steal their private property, no one would listen to them.  Because their arguments are ridiculous, and have no power to persuade.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

More Like America than America ...

When I was in elementary school, I had a friend named Alan. He had an older brother named Robert. My dad had seen Alan over at our house. But when he saw Robert, he made the statement, "Robert looks more like Alan than Alan does!" It is absurd, but you get the idea of what he meant. Whatever corporeal or facial features Alan possessed, Robert had similar ones, but at a great level of intensity.

That is how I feel about Australia. I don't know a lot about Australia, but from a distance, Australia seems more like America than America does.  It seems like a manly, "Wild West" place.  I base this largely, I have to admit, on the very healthy auto racing culture that is obviously present there.  Here are two examples of their Vintage Touring Car series.  I love the green-and-white Falcon Sprint, and ... well ... all the rest of these cars, too!  (Hat Tip to my son Eliot, who finds these things for me.  I love when he pronounces "Bathurst" with an Aussie accent!)

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Anyone Can Restore an Old Truck ... it Takes a Real Woman to Cut one Up!

I think I'm in love.  Just watch the video, and you'll know why.  Ingrid Morley gets it.

My son and I are all the time arguing with the distaff side of our family, because they don't believe that you can talk to (and hear back from) automobiles.  But listen to what Ingrid says happened between her and this International AR-160 truck (Lacie Lorrie) upon their first meeting:
"I looked at her and she looked at me and we sort of ... there was a twinkle." 
"I realized something else that this truck said to me, and that was about authenticity, about being thoroughly integrated into the land."
"Going out to this block of land which is filled with ... you could call it junk, but to me, it's an artist's dream.  It's just gorgeous.  It's just got everything imaginable, made out of steel.  And it's in all varying states of decay, and a I saw her, and I just fell in love."
Beautiful.  This woman understands.  She understands the honoured place of an old truck or car in the cosmos, as well, or for that matter, an old man or woman:
"There's something about ... an authority about ... old equipment or old vehicles, old things, that have done their time, have worked.  They are tarnished.  They're pocked.  They are riddled with stories."
Wow.  Look at the skin of your favourite old person, and you'll see just what Ingrid means.

And, anyhow, how can you not love a woman who wields a plasma cutter?  And her work at the relatively tiny Venn Diagram Intersection of the old car hobby and fine art?

 This lovingly cut-up truck, Lacie Lorrie, is currently being featured as a part of the "Love Lace" exhibition at the Powerhouse Museum in Sydney, Australia.

More about Ingrid and her creation may be found here.

For reference, here is what others might have tried to do with this same truck:

Thursday, October 27, 2011

The Most Delicious Irony Ever.

This is incredible.

Has every single person in the Occupy Wall Street movement lost his sense of irony?  It seem so.  I had to look twice at the web address to make sure I was not reading an article from The Onion!  The mind reels when pondering irony of such an enormous magnitude.

Basically, what we have here is the rich (that is, the Occupy Wall Street protesters) refusing to share their food (how callous, selfish, and insensitive!) with the less fortunate homeless people who have joined their ranks.  Amazing.  Because from the many, many interviews I have seen with these communist agitators, they are supposedly all about pooling all wealth (money, energy, food, etc.) and dividing it equally.  But here they are with their golden opportunity to implement their socialist paradise ... and they've already blown it.  By deciding who is worthy of the food and who is not, they have separated themselves from another group of people simply because they have worked for the food and the others have not.  (Hmmmmm ... what does this remind me of?  Help me out here!)  They have set themselves up as the "upper class", and initiated class warfare against the homeless.  This tells me one thing:  that they do not really believe the bullshit they are spewing.  They are hypocrites, and not worth listening to.

End of story.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

And, Speaking of Parnelli Jones ...

Here is a race Parnelli Jones really should have won!

Note the cool air brake on the tail of Parnelli's #40 STP car, visible in operation at around 12:41 of this video (and also at 27:35, where the announcers mention it).  It deploys upward to provide aerodynamic drag for braking.

Pay attention also at 25:20, when Parnelli spins the car after going low on the apron to avoid a slower car.

Other race highlights:

At 2:44, Dan Gurney is being interviewed, and predicts that the turbine car might have gearbox failure (I think this is called "foreshadowing").

At 26:40, Mario Andretti loses a wheel.

At 28:00, the STP team has a bungled pit stop.  Jones pulls off before the fuel hose is disconnected from his car, and almost runs over Granatelli's foot.

At 45:30, eventual winner A. J. Foyt comes close to being collected up in a last lap wreck.

Perhaps my favourite part of the video, though, is the interview with Graham Hill, which begins around 2:12.  Many drivers were resentful of the turbine car's speed.  But Hill had a different take:
"I don't think it's unfair at all!  I think it's bloody clever, and full marks to Granatelli for doing it.  I man, it was a hell of a gamble, and it's paid off.  I think he deserves every credit.  I'm only sorry thta I didn't think of it first!"

Ford Racing Interview with Parnelli Jones

Parnelli Jones is nothing short of legendary in racing.  He did so many different things, and did them all well.

This interview is dynamite!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Occupation Wall Street = Commies

Well, you already knew this.  But this video is worth watching all the way through.  These people are not only hilarious buffoons, they are dangerous.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

High School Nationals, Fall 2011- Partial Report

We had a blast at the High School Nationals yesterday.  Here are a few video clips of Eliot racing our Mercurys, and a few nice still photographs of his Meteor racing.