Tuesday, August 31, 2010

You've Prolly Seen This, but What the Hell

This was all over memeorandum yesterday and on Red Eye last evening... so EIP continues to be your best source for old news.  But.  Whatever.  There's a new study out that's fairly good news for us moderate drinkers and Time magazine ran a piece on it.  Excerpts:
But a new paper in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research suggests that — for reasons that aren't entirely clear — abstaining from alcohol does actually tend to increase one's risk of dying even when you exclude former drinkers. The most shocking part? Abstainers' mortality rates are higher than those of heavy drinkers.
Moderate drinking, which is defined as one to three drinks per day, is associated with the lowest mortality rates in alcohol studies. Moderate alcohol use (especially when the beverage of choice is red wine) is thought to improve heart health, circulation and sociability, which can be important because people who are isolated don't have as many family members and friends who can notice and help treat health problems.
Well, now. That's us... on six out of every seven days, at a minimum. Once or twice a month I'll have more than three drinks in a single day and once or twice a year I'll throw caution to the winds and let it all hang out. Things were sorta different in past lives... the weekly Happy Hour on Fridays when I was working might could have been described as "excessive drinking"... but that was then and this is now.

Speaking of now... Beer Me! Just like the picture, please.

p.s.:  I liked what The Awl had to say on this subject:
Still, there's plenty of good to take away from this, unless you happen to be a non-drinker. Although you're probably happy to die early given your joyless, alcohol-free existence. 

Monday, August 30, 2010

Trading Places

There's prolly not a soul amongst us who hasn't played that ol' parlor game, to wit: "if you could be someone else, who would you be?"  I'd like to modify that jes a lil bit, mainly coz I'm quite satisfied with my life, thankyaverymuch.  I'll step out on a limb here by sayin' those who play the "trading places" game aren't particularly satisfied with their status quo, whereas I am... satisfied.  We won't do a deep dive into the psychological reasons for that except to say I'd not trade my simple joys and limited problem set for someone/anyone else's.

My change:  "If you HAD to trade your life with someone... who would that someone be?"

My choice:  Mike Rowe.  I like the guy's sensibilities, to begin with.  He identifies with the blue collar crowd and that's a BIG plus with me.  I've worked both sides of that street... blue-collar and "professional"... and the blue-collar guys seem to have a much better grasp on what's real and what's immaterial to success and happiness in life.  Once again: no philosophical deep dives.

But I think this ad is symptomatic of my larger point:

OK, this is some Madison Avenue type speaking and Mr. Rowe is just playin' a part, granted... but this is a part he's well-suited for and, on the whole, makes the ad eminently believable.  I'm generally not a sucker for ad copy in any way, shape, or form.  But if anything could move me away from my beloved 501s, it would be that ad.  Well, sorta.

There was a time in the way-back when my nickname was "bunz" among the female Airperson set at Fortuna AFS.  I didn't become aware of this little factoid until much later in life when one of those female Airpersons confided in me... a good friend who was once a "friend with benefits"... she being one who bandied the term about.  Or so she told me.  But we digress.  Mr. Rowe... AND Madison Avenue... are both well aware of the important things in life, "bunz" and women's perception of such being one of those prime movers.

That resonates with me.  So if I HAD to trade places with someone/anyone... Mike Rowe would be the guy.  And I wouldn't mind a couple of few women... in my age cohort, of course... tugging on MY jeans.

Heh - USAF Division (II)

Someone from af-dot-mil in Arlington, VA (one has to believe that's the Five-Sided Wind Tunnel) went searching for images concerning "af lessons learned," and guess who is Numbah Two?

Them folks at the Googleplex have a wonderful sense of humor, don't they?  And that AF guy clicked through, too.  The last gives me hope.

South Pacific Communique

An exchange from my mailbox... be sure to read all the way to the bottom:

from:Buck Pennington 
to:Blog-Bud Darryl <== That's a blog-link!
date:Mon, Aug 30, 2010 at 12:34 PM
subject:Re: I have no access to any blogs

Hey Darryl,

I'm checking your blog on a daily basis for updates -- now I know why they've been few and far between.  I kinda expected 'net access wouldn't be the best, now you're confirming it.  And I wouldn't be surprised about all blogs being blocked because of martial law.

That said... you have other, much better things to keep you occupied.  Raise a beer for me the next time you're in one of those palm-frond watering holes; I intend to raise one for and to YOU in about an hour!

Be safe!

On Mon, Aug 30, 2010 at 4:22 AM, Blog-Bud Darryl wrote:
Hey Buck;
We are about to get underway from Savu Savu, heading to the main Fiji island and the port of Nadi.

For some weird reason, I have no access to any blogs, you, me or anyone. Not sure if this is a Fiji thing or not. Sort of like the Chinese bit of possible censorship. 

Either way, internet is shaky with the access here and it is frustrating to say the least. 

Hope everything is going well, it is certainly different living the cruising lifestyle once again. 

Have a fine rest of the week!


I said updates were few and far between, but there ARE a few.  Go visit and see what it's like to live the dream!

In Case Ya Missed It...

Here's a relatively old piece from The Onion...

Girl Raised From Birth By Wolf Blitzer Taken Into Protective Custody

Gawd, these guys do the BEST send-ups in the bid'niz!  But they do have a tendency to step on their sensitive body parts from time to time.  Their current headliner on the GZM/Islamophobe meme is worthless at best and offensive to about 71% of the American public at worst.  I won't link, sorry.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Today's Happy Hour Soundtrack

Little Feat (well, a Little Feat clone, anyhoo), yet again...

This version of the tune doesn't have Lowell George in it but it's close enough.  The lyrics kinda-sorta resonate on this cloudy, humid, and overcast day, with impending t-storms in the picture.  To wit:
It's a mercenary territory
I wish you knew the story
I've been out here so long dreamin up songs
I'm temporarily calmed, yes, and sinking
I did my time in that rodeo
It's been so long and I've got nothing to show
Well I'm so plain loco
Fool that I am I'd do it all over again

Is it love keeps you waiting so long
Makes you say I'll see you around
The forces that be, they just don't see
While your nights turn into my mornings

Is it the style?

Is it the lies?
Is it the days into nights
Or the "I'm sorrys" into fights 
This version of the tune is almost as good as the original and benefits from the added female vocalist.  Ol' Lowell was cool, indeed, but this chick adds a "certain sumthin'" to the song that was previously lacking.  If you're a Little Feat fan you'll know where I'm comin' from.

Just for the record:  this tune ain't part of my mean-spirited Happy Hour selections.  But it could be, if'n ya want it to be.  We post, you decide.

In other news... We got up relatively early this morning and hit the streets to do our semi-monthly run out to the Cannon Airplane Patch commissary and Class VI store.  We returned to El Casa Móvil De Pennington around 1100 hrs with a full complement of groceries and replenished beer stock.   The highlight of my day was when the clerk at the Class VI store smiled and said "I like your shirt" (she was cute; picture of the shirt here); the rest of the day has been pretty much downhill from there.  

But hey!  Happy Hour has been excellent, so far.  Good beer, better music, and a fine cigar... or two.  That's as good as it gets these days.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

40 Days...

... until hockey season begins!  The NHL is opening in Europe again this year, with several games being played in Helsinki, Prague, and Stockholm.  Opening Day... October 7th... will be marvelous, with three games on teevee for the hockey faithful.  I'll be there, of course.  But the REAL season for me will begin on October 12th, when the Beloved Wings play the Hated Avalanche in the season's first national telecast.  Speaking of the Wings... there's this in today's USA Today hockey column.  Excerpt:
When I was at the World Hockey Summit, I was asked by an NHL scout whether I agreed with his assessment that the Detroit Red Wings might finally be on the way down.

"Actually I think they could be the team to beat in the West," I said.

Per my tradition, I will probably change my mind a couple of times before I make my final predictions before the season launches. But If I had to make my projections today, I would choose Detroit as No. 1 in the West. San Jose, Vancouver and Chicago still round out my top four.

Here are some reasons why I rank Detroit No. 1 in the West:

1. Once the Red Wings worked through their bushel of injuries last season, they were 16-3-2 over the last quarter of the season.  Anticipating fewer injuries this season, the Red Wings might score 30 more goals and be among the top-scoring teams again.
And you KNOW there's more.  Last year was a disappointment for us fans of The Winged Wheel but hope springs eternal.  I'm expecting great things out of Detroit this year, assuming they stay healthy.  That's prolly a reasonable assumption because last year's rash of injuries was highly unusual.  Here's hopin'.

Then and Now, III

Ya know how certain moments or dates stay with ya for-freakin'-ever?  Today is one such for me, coz I enlisted in the Air Force 47 years ago on this date.  Which reminds me... I should update my will.

That said, here's what YrHmblScrb looked like upon graduating from basic training a few weeks later...

The AF News Service press release.  USAF still does this sorta thang. 

You've seen the "now" pic previously (at least twice), so we'll not post it again.  We will link it, tho.  Coz we're so vain (and we prolly think this song is about US).

Your Wake Up Call

That would be the music piped in to your cabin to wake you up... assuming you're on board STS-133, launching on or about November first.  Choosing that music is a participatory thang, too, in that the public gets to vote on the wake-up tunes NASA will broadcast to the sleeping astronauts.  Here are the vote leaders at the moment (sorry about the formatting... I suck at HTML):

NASA's Top 40 Votes Results (1,021,571 Total Votes)
The two songs with the most votes will be announced during the mission. Updates of the exact dates and times that the winning songs will be played will be provided as launch of the mission draws closer. STS-133 is currently scheduled to launch on November 1, 2010.
  Star Trek Theme Song  (by Alexander Courage)351,327 Votes- 34.4%
  Magic Carpet Ride  (by Steppenwolf)308,027 Votes - 30.2%
  Countdown  (by Rush)214,460 Votes - 21.0%
  Blue Sky  (by Big Head Todd)59,276 Votes - 5.8%
  Enter Sandman  (by Metallica)10,655 Votes - 1.0%
  Beautiful Day  (by U2)9,180 Votes - 0.9%
  Theme from the Star Wars Trilogy  (by John Williams)8,368 Votes - 0.8%

My choice... Pink Floyd's "Learning to Fly"... ain't on the list, although a couple of other variations on the "Learning to Fly" theme by Tom Petty and the Foo Fighters are there.  But seriously... doesn't this FIT?

"There's no sensation to compare with this... suspended animation, state of bliss..."

h/t for the NASA link:  Dave Bry, writing for The Awl.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Today's (Real) Happy Hour Soundtrack

Now that we've beat a certain subject to death (Thank ya, Andy)... here's Johnny Winter...

I told him NO... that will never do!
Man if you don't get the picture I'm gonna do some work on YOU!
Heh.  Johnny Winter is one of my favorite blues guitarists, mainly because of his dobro work.  As my profile sez... "Anything with dobro in it..."  And J. Winter, not to be confused with his bro Edgar... of "Frankenstein" fame, is better than most.

How ya like my tube?

Not Today's Happy Hour Soundtrack...

Let's skip the fact this tune might could be topical and focus on its relationship to the post immediately below.  I'd wager more than a few of you haven't heard this tune, Gentle Readers, given a lot of you are puppies (relatively speaking, and that would be relative to ME) and the song being over 30 years old.  So just to enlighten you... here's Jackson Browne singin' "Rosie:"

But Rosie, you're all right
You wear my ring
When you hold me tight
Rosie, that's my thing
When you turn out the light
I've got to hand it to me
Looks like it's me and you again tonight, Rosie
The song was released in '78, which was well past the time when I did all those deployments and unaccompanied TDYs to places where female company was virtually non-existent.  Still and even, I DID do more than a few extended bid'niz trips after the Air Force.  This tune was quite appropriate during those lil excursions, separated as I was from my usual, customary and (mostly) reasonable bedmate.  Just a reminder, yet again: let's not talk about the here and now, mmm-kay?

Points to Ponder...

... as I take my morning coffee.
-The last thing I want to do is hurt you. But it's still on the list.
-If I agreed with you we'd both be wrong.
-Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit; Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad. 
-Having sex is like playing bridge. If you don't have a good partner, you'd better have a good hand.
The points are courtesy of my Buddy Ed in Florida; the image is from a generic Google search (click for larger - I made it small coz I'm trying to keep the blog at a PG-13 level).  The last point is particularly apt, even if it is TMI.  

I shall now take the remainder of my coffee on the verandah with the oh-so-rare morning cigar.  Because I CAN.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Today's Happy Hour Soundtrack

Since today's Happy Hour theme is opulence (see two posts below) we decided to go upmarket and listen to the Brandenburg concertos... ALL six of 'em.  But Number Three is our favorite...

I defy anyone to NOT hum along... or play a lil air-cello or air-violin.  Bach was rock 'n' roll before there was such a thing.

We'll return to our mean-spirited musical posts at some point in the near future.  http://www.thescubasite.com

Update, 1715 hrs:  You know how sometimes "things" just seem to work out right, e.g., everything comes together like it should... no ifs, ands, or buts?   Today's Happy Hour was (and is) a lot like that, in that our cigar lasted for two beers and the complete Brandenburg song-cycle, which is to say all six concertos.  

It was SO good, in fact, that we've decided to extend Happy Hour.  All we have to do at this point is select our next cigar, our musical accompaniment, and decide if we'll stay with beer or move on to gin and tonics... coz the weather is just perfect (81 degrees and 20% relative humidity) for that sorta thang.  It don't hardly get better than this, Gentle Reader.  All that's missing is suitable company. 


This piece by Blog-Bud Alison will do your hard flinty conservative heart much good, assuming you have such a heart. That said, you should still go read if you have one of those famous hearts that bleed, for there's an object lesson there specifically for YOU.   Just to whet your appetite...
Eventually a group of extremely well spoken young women came in. Polished looking. Chatting away. They rather apologetically asked me if I would mind if they shared my table. The seating means you all become best buddies in a heart beat whether you want to or not.  Of course I didn’t mind since that was the nature of this little place and assumed the chatter would be low key and banal given our collective circumstances. I hadn’t bargained at all on them discussing in suddenly super obnoxious tones who they had voted for in the ongoing Labour leader elections. As Party members. And why. One of them was American. She listened and questioned her friends about the leadership contest. This went on for some time and for most of it I managed to escape into my food or click on my iphone and text or email friends. Anything to avoid being by default pulled right into the heart of their politics with no way of escape.


I’m sick to death of the assumption in political conversation that everyone these days is a leftist and that right of centre must simply shut up and speak in hushed embarrassed tones or accept Left is the only polite political conversation to be had out loud these days. So that was my opening shot. “Ok I’ve had enough” I addressed them quietly, smiling.

DO go read.  And be amazed.  There be knickers, too, if only briefly.


There ain't nuthin' like rollin' out o' bed at the crack o' noon, is there?  But we only do that because we CAN, Gentle Reader.  In my defense: I didn't go to bed until 0430 this morning, so we got slightly less than the regulation eight hours.  But it was GOOD sleep... the sort o' sleep with the windows open and an extra blanket on the bed.  Finest kind.

So, we're halfway into our second cup and life is good.  I'll prolly be back later once I'm fully caffeinated and the errands have been run.  In the meantime, here's another four o'clock I forgot to put up yesterday:

I love the pink tinge in this one; it's different than the splattered purple splotches or half-and-half of the others.

Update, 1300 hrs:  The first of our errands is complete, that being retrieving the mail from Beautiful La Hacienda Trailer Park's mail kiosk.  Where we found these:

That's a box of Acid Opulence 3s, a freebie five-pack of selected Acids, and the Fall issue of Cigar Magazine.  Woo-EEE!  Great cigars and glossy reading material!

I love the packaging...

And the built-in, feel-good marketing message...

I think Happy Hour will be most happy today.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

A Soundtrack of Another Sort

We just finished watching this (excerpt from the link):
With conductor Franz Welser-Möst at the helm, the Vienna Philharmonic returns to the magnificent gardens of Austria’s Imperial Schönbrunn Palace for the orchestra’s annual summertime celebration in Vienna Philharmonic Summer Night Concert 2010, premiering on THIRTEEN’s Great Performances. (Wednesday, August 25 at 8pm on PBS)

Watch the full episode. See more Great Performances.

It was a feast for both eye and ear, mainly coz we watched it in HD, Gentle Reader.  There are many things to love about PBS, not the least of which are their music programs.  If you missed this particular performance I'd suggest you consult your local listings... coz another great thing about PBS is they always do re-runs.  I'll watch this performance a second time when they re-run it.  Just sayin'.

Today's Happy Hour Soundtrack

We have some weird thoughts from time to time during Happy Hour.  Our latest weird thought is we should title our blog-posts in this particular vein "Songs for Our Beloved" rather than "Today's Happy Hour Soundtrack," coz that's mostly what they are.  With exceptions, of course.  But the fact remains that our former relationship consumed 23 years of our life... arguably the best 23 years.  Arguably.  There were good times preceding the time we spent with that woman and there have been good times since she walked away... but the good times since she walked have been few and far between.  That's just fact.

I suppose the point is that it's hard to NOT associate any given song released in that time period... which would be between 1975 and 1998... with our love/lust object.  That's human nature, innit?  Still and even, I hesitate to name these posts "Songs for Our Beloved," mainly coz I don't want you to think I'm mean-spirited, Gentle Reader.  Let's just let it lay that I would be mean-spirited most of the time... in a tongue in cheek sorta way... but sometimes that wouldn't be the case.  And how would you tell the difference?  More to the point, why would you even give a shit?

I'm still debating the point with myself.  That said... we were listening to The Cars this afternoon and this song popped up in the rotation:

The tune brings to mind road trips that my beloved and I made during the three years we spent in Ol' Blighty... road trips both short and long.  That first Cars album lived in (ahem) the car and was always played several times, whether we were on our way from High Wycombe to Upper Heyford... a shortie of a trip... or to other points on that Sceptered Isle.  The album was just what I (we) needed... and this post is straight-up.  We'll save the sarcastic bits for later... IF we decide to go down that road.  The Deity At Hand knows there are thousands of candidate songs in THAT space.

Update, 1830 hrs:  An explanation is in order, of sorts.  I received an offline from a friend, asking...
My "beloved"?  Are you nuts? 
Well, no.  No, I'm not.  I've used the term... sarcastically... for a long time when I refer to the woman in discussions with (certain) friends and fam'bly.  I shouldn't assume everyone knows these things.  I didn't mean to be taken literally.

Meanwhile, North of the DMZ...

So, there I was... listening to KC & the Sunshine Band... No, REALLY, I was: see?

And whilst so doing I drop by Lex's place and see this:

Dang.  "Get down, get down, get down tonite, Babe..."  Or something like that.


It's SUCH a beautiful morning!  I'll also add that it was a beautiful night, as well.  Last night was the first time since Spring sprung that I slept with my windows open and my blankets pulled up to my chin.  Rumor has it we got down to 54 degrees last night; the temp at Cannon Airplane Patch was 58 when I rolled out in mid-morning.  I just had to get that outta the way before we begin.  Yes, we ARE gloating.  Sorta.

We made the coffee, answered the overnight mail, and then stared out our window for a bit, whereupon we noticed the four o'clocks are in full bloom and were still open... it being early in the day and the temperature cool.  We decided to play with the camera for a bit.  Here are the results; click to embiggen... as always:

A longish view of the flower bed.

A red four o'clock.  Or purple if you prefer.  Let's not quibble about color again, OK?

Yellow-red (1)

Yellow-red (2)

That's just four of the 40 pics I took this morning, not counting the many I deleted.  We've done this sorta thing before... four years ago.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Miscellaneous Musings

Today is The Major's 44th birthday.  Here's a couple o' "then and now" shots...

SN1 on the left, SN2 on the right.  What a couple o' ragamuffins, eh?

Just last month.  I like this pic a LOT.

Happy birthday, Buck.  You've come a long way, Bay-bee.


CTS update (as if you care):  It looks like we're gonna keep The Green Hornet.  There are a couple o' reasons for this.  First of all... I called the GM Employee Purchase Program yesterday to ask 'em a couple o' questions about the lease vs buy thang and to get an authorization number for when I got serious.  In so doing I found out that I'm no longer eligible for the program, seeing as how EDS no longer exists (I'm now a Hewlett-Packard retiree, fyi).  The employee discount isn't much in the grand scheme of things, amounting to only about $2,500.00 or so on a CTS.  But every little bit helps, yanno? 

Second... SN2 decided to spend his hard-earned money on orthodontia for the grandkids rather than a spiffy green Miata.  How very self-centered of him, eh?  party smileys

Third...  I finally ran a payment estimate on the car as I want it and was shocked.  Shocked, I tell ya!  I can afford the freight but it offends my sensibilities.  We're talking about a freakin' CAR here, not a second house!  But I've always been cheap.  Kinda sorta.  If you ignore the bar bill and the cigar expenditures.

So.  It looks like The Green Hornet and I will celebrate our tenth anniversary together come October.  Unless I decide to buy a Camaro.


It's not a nice day here on The High Plains of New Mexico.  We had a cold front... complete with wind and rain... move in overnight.  It's a mere 62 degrees outside as we speak; the high today is only supposed to be 76 with storms in the forecast all day.  So it looks like we'll have an indoor Happy Hour today...

Monday, August 23, 2010


Every once in a while I'm treated to a fleeting display of one of Cannon's AC-130s engaged in air-to-air refueling and I never have the camera at hand.  These sorts of ops always seem to take place around sunset and one can get some breathtaking views of the KC-135 and the AC-130 bathed in the setting sun as they hook up.  It can be a spectacular sight.

It was different this evening, in that I saw the guys setting up for the refueling operation and I had time to run inside to get the camera.  Well, true to form... the aircrews flew a different route tonight, deciding to operate to the northwest of Beautiful La Hacienda Trailer Park instead of passing directly overhead around 10K feet like they usually do.  This was the best shot I could get:

Figures, doesn't it?  I'm always a day late and about a dollar short.  But some day...

In The News...

So... I read this lil blurb:
AUGUST 23--The Department of Justice is seeking to hire linguists fluent in Ebonics to help monitor, translate, and transcribe the secretly recorded conversations of subjects of narcotics investigations, according to federal records.

A maximum of nine Ebonics experts will work with the Drug Enforcement Administration’s Atlanta field division, where the linguists, after obtaining a “DEA Sensitive” security clearance, will help investigators decipher the results of “telephonic monitoring of court ordered nonconsensual intercepts, consensual listening devices, and other media.”

The DEA’s need for full-time linguists specializing in Ebonics is detailed in bid documents related to the agency’s mid-May issuance of a request for proposal (RFP) covering the provision of as many as 2100 linguists for the drug agency’s various field offices. Answers to the proposal were due from contractors on July 29.
I immediately thought of this:

Heh.  "I speak jive."  That's egg-zactly who DOJ is looking for, innit?

Speaking of Allstate...

... and we were, right?  (This sorta tagline is gettin' old and it's only the second time I've used it.)  There's this:

OMG!  Every American teen-aged girl and their BFFs are six different kinds of pissed now.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

This Makes Me HURT

Dunno if you've seen these ads, Gentle Reader, or... not.  There are several in this series, this being just one of 'em:

I have NO ideer how they (Allstate) pulled off these ads, but I DO know they make my skin crawl for a couple o' reasons.  First and foremost... there are only two kinds of bikers: those that have been down and those that are gonna go down... and for those of us who have been down these ads evoke painful memories.  Second:  those are some NICE mo'sickles that were sacrificed to make the ad(s).  That's a frickin' crime in my book.

Still... well done, Allstate.  You've made your point and emphatically, at that.  I just wish you hadn't done that SO graphically.  I have to look away whenever these ads come on.

The Sunday Re-Run

Speaking of Cadillacs... and we were, weren't we?  There's this:

Old and Older Wheels

When all else fails I turn to cars…I’m speaking of a lack of motivation and/or nothing of note elsewhere. And so it is today… Here’s a couple of rides from my past, one of which is on my “All-Time Favorite Cars” list (maybe even THE All-Time fave, but most certainly in the Top Three) and the other was something I thought would be fun but turned out to be a money-sink. First the Money Sink…

This is a 1954 Cadillac Sedan De Ville, your garden variety doctor’s car of the mid-50s. A four-door sedan with a big (for its time) 331 cubic inch V-8 that was surprisingly powerful, even by 1992 standards. Surprising to a lot of Honda and Toyota owners, anyway, who had the temerity to challenge me at various stop lights in the metropolitan Deetroit area. That two-ton blue whale could charge off the line quite impressively for something as big and old as she was…

My buddy Greg, a power train engineer with General Motors, had (and still has) a 1955 Eldorado two-door coupe at the time, a beautiful car by anyone’s standards and one that I quite admired. I was very vocal in my admiration of that car…even though it was a “work-in-progress” restoration… and one Saturday morning Greg calls me up and sez something to the effect of “Hey! I found a great looking Caddy sedan that’s in pretty good shape down in Inkster (or somewhere like Inkster, anyway). You should check it out!” We talked a lil bit more, and Greg and The Second Mrs. Pennington talked a while, and then TSMP and I loaded ourselves up and headed down to Inkster. Long story short… I took my checkbook with me when we went to look at the car and I drove the Caddy home that afternoon. Thus began a year-long adventure in old car restoration.

I became intimate with Hemmings Motor News. Greg introduced me to several Big Dogs in the Detroit Cadillac restoration community, including a guy who ultimately did a lot of the mechanical work on the car. The Brown Truck of Happiness became a regular sight in our neighborhood. Most of my spare change was poured into that car…and it was about three or four months before she was truly road-worthy and safe, with reliable brakes and hoses that wouldn’t open up and spew coolant all over the street, among other things.  

Greg, TSMP, and I had one truly embarrassing moment before the Caddy was completely road-worthy… when the Caddy stopped dead…right in the middle of Woodward Avenue somewhere in Birmingham during the First Annual Woodward Dream Cruise. The three of us wound up pushing the car several blocks to Greg’s house, which (thankfully) wasn’t all that far away when she quit. And we got her running again…

TSMP christened the car “The Smokin’, Drinkin’, Partyin’ Car” and she most certainly was that. The best story about that car can only be told in “wink-wink, nudge-nudge” terms and involved TSMP and I splitting the upholstery in the Caddy’s back seat. Or, to put it another way…we were exuberant and the upholstery was old. In our garage. On a Saturday afternoon. Wink-wink, nudge-nudge.

But. I lost interest in the project after about a year, sad to say. There were so many things on my “to-do” list for that car…and most of ‘em involved significant sums of money, money TSMP had other uses for… that it became overwhelming. The cost/benefit equation got seriously out of balance, in other words. And then the 1995/96 Impala SS hit the market and I fell in motor-lust. The Caddie’s fate was sealed. I sold her and the family ride (a SAAB 9000) off to buy my ‘96 Impala. I don’t regret that decision at all. The Impala was just as much fun…if not more so… and not near as much work. But I do look back on that ol’ Caddy fondly. She was a lot of fun, even while she was parked in our garage.

Which brings us to Vehicle Number Two… which is a 1992 Vette. 1992 was the first year for the now-venerable LT1 small-block V-8, a 350 cu. in. power plant that put out 300 horsepower, which was simply wonderful, in and of itself. At the time. There are more than a few cars out there at the moment that would clean this car’s clock… no debate, no questions asked… and more than a few of ‘em are sedans, albeit rather pricey sedans, mostly of German origins. But in its day…WOW!

The Vette was TSMP’s daily driver in the Michigan Spring, summer, and Fall and was garaged during the Deetroit winters, at which time TSMP took over the SAAB and I drove the “other Vette,” an 80-something Chevy Chevette, which I will not talk about here, coz it was a nasty little car. The Chevette was entirely functional, in that it got me to my place of business and back everyday without fail, and asked for little more than gas. But I was oh-so-glad to see Spring roll around, which meant I got the SAAB back, and got to drive the other, other Vette occasionally. Let’s just leave it at that.

Corvettes used to be notorious for bad build quality and for being just a lil bit unreliable. Such was NOT the case with this car, Gentle Reader. The car was tight from Day One until the day I sold her, with only “normal” squeaks and rattles that develop in all cars, regardless of origin. As for reliability… I owned that Vette for seven years and replaced but a single item during that time…the air conditioner’s condenser. Other than that, nada. Zip. She still had the original spark plugs in her when she left my possession. I might still own that car today, had I not chosen a mobile life style.

There was a lot to like about that car. She was beautiful, fast, and just a little bit difficult to get in and out of. You might ask why I consider the difficulty of egress/ingress to be a good thing, and that’s a fair point. But…try and visualize, if you will, a good looking blonde in a skirt or a dress getting into…or out of… that car. Get the picture? That was a fine sight… Oh, My. Yes, it was.

A question I’m frequently asked is “How fast did it go?” I can’t answer that in absolute terms, but I know the car will do 135 mph…which is all the faster I ever took it. Vettes of that generation were supposedly good for 150 mph, and I have no reason to doubt it. I might have gotten her up near there had TSMP ceased beating on my head and shoulders when we hit 135. Distracting, that, at those sorts of speeds. Ironic, too, since TSMP drove the living HELL out of that car. It got to a point where I’d refuse to ride with her if she was gonna put her foot in it…which she did. A LOT. And she’d giggle like a mad-woman all the while, too. I rather enjoyed the giggling; but her driving? Not so much.

As always, click the pics for the larger versions. The Caddy pics were taken in our driveway in Ferndale, MI, and in Bloomfield Hills. The Vette pictures were taken midway between Deetroit and Harbor Beach, MI... on Lake Huron, in early Spring of 1992.
I'm hopin' the CTS will be one helluva lot more reliable than that '54 Caddy was.  IF I get it, of course.  smiley emoticons

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Today's Happy Hour Soundtrack

Well, now.  This kinda rang a bell...

I say "kinda" because the lyrics would have most certainly fit about ten or 12 years ago... or so.  Today?  Not so much.  Not at ALL, actually.  But the tune DID ring a bell.  Ya just gotta love Pandora, even when it goes to places you'd rather not go.

Should I Keep Her?

Or should I run off with some young tart who'll stroke my ego and make me feel comfortable in my dotage?  I'm terribly conflicted at the moment.

The Green Hornet got back from her stint at the automotive cosmetician yesterday, and the ol' girl is looking pretty spiffy for someone "of a certain age."  A few pics...

The rear view.  She looks particularly good from this angle.  Like most ladies.



So.  Late yesterday afternoon we turned in that young tart of a CTS to Rierson Motors and picked up TGH from Rembrandt's Auto Body... who do GOOD work, by the way... that is definitely a recommendation if you live in this part o' the world.  We motored back from The Big(ger) City™ by way of Cannon Airplane Patch, with the top up on account o' the heat.  We noticed just how much noisier it is in TGH's cabin at speed, as opposed to the quiet interior space of the CTS.  Speaking of space... there's SO much more of that in the CTS, TGH feels decidedly cramped in comparison.  And our Bose system seems lacking compared to the Caddy's.  You most certainly have to crank the volume in TGH at speed, compared to the Caddy.  There's that interior quiet thing, again.  Finally... TGH seems downright lethargic compared to the CTS.  I ran her up to red-line in the lower four gears on the way home yesterday and her 148 horses just don't seem as motivated as the Caddy's 270... even with her weight advantage.

Just to refresh your memory, Gentle Reader: The Tart...

That's the way I'd buy her... black on black.  Which is totally impractical for The High Plains of New Mexico, given (a) the heat and (b) the ever-present dust.  The Tart would be dirty an hour after I washed her... ALL the time.  But there are only two colors for Cadillacs... black or white.  I don't do white.

So: conflicted.  Should I stay or should I go?  TGH whispered a sweet something in my ear this morning when I went out to shoot the pics of her new paint.  To wit: "I know you're thinking about leaving me, Buck.  But don't forget... I'm PAID FOR, Bay-bee.  I'm ALL yours."

The girl has a point.