Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Dave Ramsey

Man, I am really liking The Dave Ramsey Show.

Too bad that I was not receptive to this type of message 25 years ago. I'd be in a whole different place these days, financially. Now, I'm just in a hole, financially.

God tried to get through to me way earlier, via my wife and a close college buddy.  But I wasn't ready to listen until I had fully ruined my finances.

But it may not be too late for you, dear reader!  Tune into Dave's show, or read his excellent book:  The Total Money Makeover.  Just excellent stuff.  Your bank account will thank you.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

The Persistence of Memory (Part 1 - Driving Ace)

It is interesting to me how powerful the human memory is.  The "touch point" might be a remembered image, sound, or smell.  When our senses, even after an interval of decades since the initial encounter, is confronted with one of these touch points, a flood of memories rushes upon us like a tsunami previously held back only by forgetfulness.

I mean to bring you a series, then, on some of my personal touch points: those images, songs, aromas that still move me powerfully, no matter how long ago they were planted within me.

As I was commuting to work this morning, this image came to mind:

It is, of course, one of the "Safety" cards from the popular card game, Mille Bornes.  At least, it was popular with my family back in the 1960s.  The Safety cards were special, and could give you either 100 or 400 extra miles, depending upon the circumstances under which they were played.  There are four Safety cards in Mille Bornes:  Extra Tank, Puncture Proof, Right of Way, and Driving Ace. 

But my favourite was always the Driving Ace.  My heart skipped a beat whenever I was dealt this card.

And, because of the persistence of memory, my heart still skips a beat whenever I see or think about the Driving Ace card.  It seems fraught with possibility.  It is like a superpower, only one that is perhaps humanly achievable ... or, at least, dispensed to a few individuals such as Stirling Moss, Mario Andretti, or John Force.  It is one superpower to which I aspire.

And I needed it this morning.  A seasoned citizen, obliviously ran a red light directly in front of me on my way to work this morning. 

I would have T-boned this frail individual, ending his/her (for with extreme age, sex becomes difficult to determine infallibly) frail existence.  But I did not hit the car, because I played my Driving Ace card.


Monday, August 29, 2011


I just know this is going to be a great movie.  I mean, there probably isn't any bad movie about drag racing, from my point of view.

But, looking at this teaser video on YouTube, I get the feeling this movie will be something extra special.  I love the slow motion video of the drag cars.

I also love the use of the Foo Fighters' song Wheels in this context.  I'm pretty sure that the song was not written about drag racing.  But what a perfect song for those vintage cars as they come down from wheelstands!

Can't wait to see this one when it comes out! 

Website for the film is here.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

1963 Olds F-85 Wagon - After the Muffler Repair.

We are still working on getting this beast roadworthy.  Today we tackled the "holy" muffler.  This photo explains the sound in the last video we posted:

And here is the new, improved sound, thanks to a new Thrush muffler on the passenger side.  The nice sound at idle is partly due to a mild street/strip cam from Iskenderian.

The Vinyl Killer!

I learned about this Japanese toy from the 1970s on the American Pickers show.

Apparently, the actual name of this device is the "Soundwagon", but its fans have dubbed it the "Vinyl Killer" because of its effects on the vinyl records it plays.

I admire this for so many reasons.

I love the genius of this type of out-of-the-box thinking.  To be able to think outside the norm of placing a vinyl record inside the "box" of a stereo system, to find the wild and zany freedom of the record player actually scooting around on the record as if it were an asphalt skid circle ... well, I just don't have words to describe the genius of that!  I can't believe I didn't hear about these when they first came out.  Enjoy!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Devo: Bastardizing the Blues (Interview from PremierGuitar)

I REALLY enjoyed this interview with Bob Mothersbaugh of DEVO fame!

Among other guitars, Bob plays a G&L SC-2, much like the SC-3 I used to own.  He is absolutely right about that tremelo never going out of tune!

Here is one funny passage from the interview:

Are you picky when it comes to cables and picks?

Well, I like coiled cords but they get all tangled up onstage, so I use a wireless system. I use Dunlop Gator Grip picks, because the outfits we wear onstage make me sweat profusely. The picks have a powder on them that gets sticky when they come into contact with sweat, so I don’t drop many picks.

You wouldn’t want to bend down to retrieve a pick, only to have your Energy Dome fall off.

Exactly, it would spoil the illusion!


A couple of Bob's cool guitars have been featured on the Guitarz blog:
The Blue Potato Guitar!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

And This Is Why Life Must Be So Hard

I've often wondered why life must be so hard, and I think I am getting a handle on it.  I am in the midst of severe and scary financial difficulties right now, so I think about it a lot.  

My usual answers to this question are that (1) just like in bodybuilding, hard and unpleasant things are the only way to growth; and (2) darkness is necessary in order that the beauty of light be truly revealed.

I think that there is even more, and that the essence of it is that for anything to be freighted with glory, there must be real, potentially bad consequences for failure.  I notice it most in the live performance of music with my band.  In our rehearsals, I can only reach to a certain level of axemanship on my electric guitar.  But in live performance, because the stakes are so high, and the consequences so severe, one of two things almost always happens:  I play better than I have ever played in rehearsal, or else I fall on my face and mess up really badly.  So, I think that the close proximity of real, tangible failure is necessary to keep us "on our game", so to speak.  I cannot be bothered to play brilliantly in practice, just exactly because I know that my bandmates will overlook any errors and forgive me immediately if I fail.  No, to really soar, I need to be working in front of a stern judge, who will weigh every note and bend in the balance, and perhaps find me wanting.

Of course, I learned this basic principle from G. K. Chesterton long ago:
If our life is ever really as beautiful as a fairy-tale, we shall have to remember that all the beauty of a fairy-tale lies in this: that the prince has a wonder which just stops short of being fear. If he is afraid of the giant, there is an end of him; but also if he is not astonished at the giant, there is an end of the fairy-tale. The whole point depends upon his being at once humble enough to wonder, and haughty enough to defy. So our attitude to the giant of the world must not merely be increasing delicacy or increasing contempt: it must be one particular proportion of the two--which is exactly right. We must have in us enough reverence for all things outside us to make us tread fearfully on the grass. We must also have enough disdain for all things outside us, to make us, on due occasion, spit at the stars. Yet these two things (if we are to be good or happy) must be combined, not in any combination, but in one particular combination. The perfect happiness of men on the earth (if it ever comes) will not be a flat and solid thing, like the satisfaction of animals. It will be an exact and perilous balance; like that of a desperate romance. Man must have just enough faith in himself to have adventures, and just enough doubt of himself to enjoy them.
 Or, again:
And the perils, rewards, punishments, and fulfilments of an adventure must be real, or the adventure is only a shifting and heartless nightmare. If I bet I must be made to pay, or there is no poetry in betting. If I challenge I must be made to fight, or there is no poetry in challenging. If I vow to be faithful I must be cursed when I am unfaithful, or there is no fun in vowing. You could not even make a fairy tale from the experiences of a man who, when he was swallowed by a whale, might find himself at the top of the Eiffel Tower, or when he was turned into a frog might begin to behave like a flamingo. For the purpose even of the wildest romance results must be real; results must be irrevocable. Christian marriage is the great example of a real and irrevocable result; and that is why it is the chief subject and centre of all our romantic writing. And this is my last instance of the things that I should ask, and ask imperatively, of any social paradise; I should ask to be kept to my bargain, to have my oaths and engagements taken seriously; I should ask Utopia to avenge my honour on myself.
Those quotes are from Chapter 7 of Orthodoxy:  The Eternal Revolution.  And when I read them, all the seemingly endless difficulty in my life comes clear.  There is a reason for it.  I have made certain irrevocable decisions (e.g., to buy things I could not afford, and to give free reign to my coveteousness in other ways), and my Utopia is "avenging my honour on myself."  It would not be Utopia else.  It cannot be any other way.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

1963 Olds F-85 Wagon - Decay and Resurrection

Due to changes in my employment situation, I will no longer have a lease vehicle available through the company I work for.  So, we are having to press some of our old cars into service as backup transportation, for use whenever one of our daily drivers becomes disabled or needs to be in the shop for other reasons.

This 1963 Olds F-85 wagon was on its way to greater splendor as a full-on kustom, when my son's 1963 Mercury Meteor project sidetracked us, and we parked this car.  It has decayed considerably!  So sad.  But we will bring it back to life, better than ever.

This is the car we drove back from Georgia in February of 1994, following our pilgrimage to Flannery O'Connor's hometown.  This car is variously nicknamed "Wise Blood", after Flannery's novel, or "Lucynell", after a character in one of her short stories. Eliot was less than two years old when he rode from Atlanta to Detroit with me in this car. He is now 17.

Here is how she sounded yesterday, when we re-wired her new electric fuel pump.  The "enhanced" exhaust note is due to the passenger side muffler, which is coming apart.  I like it.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

The Pedal Pushers Car Club!

No two ways about it - this is COOL!!!

While Googling for 1963 Mercury Meteor photos, I stumbled upon this all-girl car club, the Pedal Pushers.

I think this is a fabulous idea.  They not only seem like cool ladies; they've got some really boss cars, too.  My faves include (of course) the 1963 Mercury Meteor owned by Margaret Ann, aka "Crazy Legs", but also the very  rare and exotic Fiat Multipla, owned by Stephanie, aka "Citation Bait"!

And this photo should give you an idea of how Stephanie's Multipla might look when she gets it finished:

Bravo, Pedal Pushers!!

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Ads from Blog Sponsors ...

So, whilst reading this blog, you may have noticed the many and diverse advertisements which appear at the upper right of the page.

Those are AdSense ads, and they pay me pennies when you click on them.  The Terms & Conditions for Adsense prohibits me from asking people to click on them just so that I can make money.  And I'm certainly not asking anyone to do that.

But IF you get the urge to buy hot rod parts, become a personal trainer, or attend seminary ... by all means, click on through from this blog.  My bank account will thank you!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

For if the debt rise not ...

I imagine that this is what 1 Corinthians 15 looks like in President Obama's Bible:

But if there be no escalation of the debt, then is Marx not risen:
And if Marx be not risen, then is our Liberalism vain, and your sense of self-importance is also vain.  
Yea, and we are found false witnesses of Socialism; because we have testified of Socialism that it hath raised up the spirit of Marx: whom it raised not up, if so be that the debt rise not.

For if the debt rise not, then is not Marx raised:

And if Marx be not raised, your Liberalism is vain; ye are yet in fiscal responsibility.