Car Songs

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Let’s lighten things up a little bit.  Like most of the things I write about, this came to me this morning as I was waking.  As I was thinking about car songs and I was able to come up with about fifteen or twenty songs and I thought I did very well.  This morning I checked the web and found a site that had a list of one hundred songs related to cars and driving from the fifties and the sixties.  Of course most of them I never heard of, but it did remind me of quite a few that I had left off my list.  If you want to check out the entire list go to http://www.waybackattack.com/top100-carsongs.html.

The first car song I heard was from long before the rock era.  It was a song called “In My Merry Oldsmobile.”  I have no idea when it was out or who did it.  I just remember it from music in school.  Okay, that one really doesn’t count so let’s start in the fifties and early sixties.  The first one that came to my mind from this period was Mayblellene by Chuck Berry.  Chuck Berry also had a big hit with “No Particular Place to Go.”  Also in this time period, there was a song that I remember listening to a lot later; it was called “Hot Rod Lincoln.”  Who doesn’t know the line, “He said son you’re gonna drive me a drinkin, if you don’t stop driving that hot rod Lincoln.”  The funny thing about this song is that there were two songs with the same name that were out in the 1960.  It turns out “Hot Rod Lincoln” has to be one of the most covered songs of its time.  I believe the original was done by Johnny Bond in 1960.  The one that I remember was done by Command Cody and the Lost Planet Airmen in 1972.  A related song, that was out in the early sixties was the sad song “Teen Angel.”

When we talk about car songs we really think about the racing songs of the mid-sixties. Just before the British Invasion, we were rocking to The Beach Boys, Jan and Dean, and The Rip Chords.  There were so many good tunes in this category.  I have to start with the Beach Boys with “Fun Fun Fun”, “Little Duce Coupe”, “Shut Down,” and “409”.  How about Jan and Dean’s tunes?  Jan and Dean, and probably all of the bands with car tunes at that time, really just copied the Beach Boys style but they did it well.  They had great tunes like, “The Little Old Lady from Pasadena,” “Dead Man’s Curve,” and “Drag City.”  Other good tunes were, “Hey Little Cobra” by the Rip Chords, and “G.T.O” by Ronny and the Daytonas.

There were a few tunes that I remember after the big car era.  The first was the remake of “Hot Rod Lincoln” by Commander Cody and the Lost Planet Airmen.  There was also War’s “Low Rider” and one of my favorites of all time, Deep Purple’s “Highway Star.”

If you want to throw motorcycles into the mix then the list would be longer and “Born to be Wild” by Steppenwolf would be on the top of my list.  I’m sure there are a lot more that I didn’t mention.  Tell me what I missed and what your favorite is.

  

 

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Posted in Cars, Entertaiment, Rock and Roll

This is the Way it Should Be

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Pope Francis embraces his Jewish Rabbi (Abraham Skorka) and Muslim Iman (Omar Abboud) friends at the Western ‘wailing’ wall of Jerusalem.

This is the way it should be.  Do these guys really feel this way?  Was it all for the cameras?  Truthfully, I don’t know, but I choose not be cynical about this event.  I choose to view it as a lesson to us all and a reminder that we can live together.  It would have been nice if someone like the Dollie Llama could have been there also, but this is a start.

Religion is a deeply personal thing.  To tell someone that their religion is not the true path is as horrible and insulting as saying their children are ugly and they will never amount to anything.  Most people grew up in communities that supported one religion.  Many still live in those communities.  From that prospective it is obvious what the right path is.  They don’t realize there are many other communities where people grow up believing the same thing, but it is not about same religion. 

Like anything else familiar, people feel comfortable with people of their own religion and uncomfortable with people they know do not believe as they do.  It is the easy way to decide to avoid anyone that doesn’t believe as you do.  It is also easy to decide that it would be better if the entire country believed as you do.  That would make it more comfortable but it wouldn’t make right.

People say that the United States was founded as a Christian country.  Well it wasn’t.  It was founded on the principle of religious freedom.  The reason religious freedom was so important was because the original colonies started as havens of religious fanatics that were all but thrown out of England.  The Church of England could not put up with the staunch conservatism of the Puritans and they were very happy to ship them to the New World.

Of course at the time they didn’t realize that they were not just talking about freedom for the various Christian sects.  Just like, at the time, they advocated all men were created equal, but then they didn’t consider Africans, Native Americans, or Asians men, at least not the same kind of man that they were.  Our founding fathers gave us the cornerstone of democracy and we improved on it through our history.  Of course white Christians think they would be happy to return to the ideas of two hundred years ago, but they wouldn’t.  Remember, Germans, Poles, Italians, Irish, and most other nationalities were not all that welcome in America at that time.

If you really believe in Christianity, you must believe in Judgment Day.  If you do then you know that anyone that has sinned against God will pay for it on Judgment Day.  Every single person will have to justify their life at that moment.  Doesn’t it follow that God is taking care of the heretics and the non-believers and he doesn’t need help.  It’s okay for a Jewish person or a Muslim to fight and die for America, but the shouldn’t consider themselves a full citizen because they are not Christian, is that what you want to tell these veterans, is that what you want to tell the families of non-Christians who lost a loved one in battle?  If you don’t believe how many non-Christians have died for this country, go to Arlington Cemetery and see how many graves do not have crosses on them.  No, the United States of America is, by law and by morality, for all of its people.

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Posted in Opinion, Religion, Social Issues

I Cannot Put the Words Happy and Memorial Day Together

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I am up very early this morning.  I was lying in bed thinking that I wanted to write something new on this Memorial Day.  I didn’t want to just drag out things of past years and go on my merry way.  There will be no web page lead in to hock my books; that can return tomorrow.  War is a nightmare that I can only imagine.  No, that’s not right.  I can’t imagine it, I have never been there.  Maybe it is because I’ve never been there that I am oh so grateful to the ones who have.

Today we remember the ones that sacrificed their lives for the rest of us.  War has gotten too easy for most Americans.  We are not burdened at all when the government decides it is time to “put boots on the ground.”  It is easy to give our men and women in uniform a quick cheer and be on our way.  Not today, today we all should darn well stop and think about what this day means.

I know this will be a day of fun on the beach and get-togethers around the grill.  It is the unofficial beginning of summer and vacation time is coming.  People will say, “Happy Memorial Day,” but I can’t bring myself to put those words together, any other holiday, but not today.

There were so many that gave their lives so many that knew full well that doing their duty meant that they would likely not survive the day, and they didn’t.  I’m talking about the soldiers that were asked to stand in the front line at Lexington and Concord in their makeshift militia watching one of the most powerful armies in the world march toward them.  I’m talking about the soldiers that marched into the cannon fire going up the hill at Fredericksburg or charged into Bloody Angel at the Spotsylvania Courthouse.  I’m talking about the soldiers in the first boats to hit Normandy Beach.  I’m talking about the soldiers and marines that took point in the jungle in Vietnam.  What kind of courage does it take to take your position knowing full well your chances of survival are very low?  What kind of strength of will does one have to muster?  What love of country does one have to have?

And for every one of our fallen heroes there was a family back home waiting.  How many times have you seen it in the movies or on TV?  How many times have you seen that scene where the family watches the well-dressed service people slowly get out of their car and approach their door?  The family knows what’s coming and their hearts are being crushed.  What courage does it take for them to open that door?  What courage does it take and stand there at the grave site and receive the flag from a grateful nation?  To all of you that have lost a loved one, today is your day and the rest of us should get down on our knees in gratitude.

Go out there and have fun today, but hold a tear in your eye.  This day is for our fallen heroes and their families that miss them so much and I, for one, cannot put the words happy and Memorial Day together.

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Posted in Memorial Day, Opinion

Cars of my Youth

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When I was young I could tell you the make and model of a car with one glance.  I guess most kids of the sixties could do that.  Cars were a big thing, especially in neighborhoods like ours.  In those days most kids could not expect to be given a car on their sixteenth birthday.  If we wanted a car, and money for insurance, we would get it when we got a job and saved the money.  To us, owning a car was a dream, not an expectation.

 

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Everyone had their favorites.  Of course some models were big with everyone.  Who didn’t like the 1957 Chevy, and the first every Mustang, the 1964 and a half.  Then there was the 1965 Pontiac GTO, the Goat as it was called, and 1967 Chevy Camaro.  I general preferred GM over Ford and Chrysler.  I liked the Impala and the Camaro and the GTO.

It was only the make and model that was examined.  The car had to be a muscle car.  We would scoff that anyone that talked about a car with a six cylinder engine.  Cars had to have eight cylinders and I knew the GM engine sizes by the time I was fourteen.  They Chevy had cool little emblems on the side of the car to tell you what engine was in the car.  You could tell the cubic inch size from the emblem.  They were 287, 327, 396, and 427.  The 1967 Chevy Malibu Super Sport with the 396 engine was a very cool car.  They came up with cool names for other engine sizes like the Boss 302, and of course the every famous 409, she is real fine.

In the late sixties the Dodge Charger was born and it got a lot of attention along with the Dodge Super Bee.  The Challenger came along in the period also.  The big three real battle over who had the coolest car.  The Corvette was in a class of its own.  It was like a Cadillac in that, in our eyes, it was a rich persons car and not attainable.  For that reason I didn’t think about Corvettes much.

As some cars were appearing, other left the scene.  Most of them were not cool anyway, like the Nash and the Ramble line.  Everyone remembers the Edsal debacle, the thing was too big to fit in a garage, not that anyone in our neighborhood had a garage.  Studebaker also disappeared.  They made the Lark and the Hawk and one of the coolest cars of the era, the Studebaker Avanti.  I thought the styling of that car was way ahead of its time and I think history has proved me right.  I saw one a year or so ago and it looks right in place next to the cars forty years newer.

Cars were great when I was a kid, but amazingly enough, I didn’t learn to drive until I was twenty-six years old.

 

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Posted in Cars, Entertaiment, Memories

Thinking of Moving

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I am reading the trilogy “Red Mars,” “Green Mars,” and “Blue Mars” by Kim Stanley Robinson.  These are very long and detailed books.  I’m just about half way through the first book.  The books are about 550 pages each and there isn’t a lot of one line dialog.  That means most pages are solid blocks of lines with the maximum number of words on each page.  It will take me a long time to get through these books.

As far as the story goes, so far, I would classify the story as very hard science type science fiction.  The science and engineering principles behind every action are explained in detail.  During the voyage to Mars you get details about the emotional state of the crew and all the steps taken to alleviate the feeling of cabin fever on the eight month trip right down to the changing color of the walls and the plants around the ship.  You learn about the radiation effects on a ship during a solar flare and how to air break a ship hurling toward a planet.  On the planet everything is described in, sometimes, excruciating detail.  I think there is far too much description.  The story itself seems to be just the growth of a Martian colony from one hundred people on a dead world to millions on a living one.  I want to see how it all works out but some sections are difficult for me to read through.

In any case that wasn’t the real point of this post.  The story got me thinking of just how far away from home I’d be willing to go.  I’m not as attached to one place as much as others but I don’t know how far out of my comfort zone I would be willing to go.  In this story the first hundred pioneers went to live the rest of their lives on a dead toxic world where they would never be able to go outside without protection.  That’s definitely an extreme change and not something that I would be willing to do no matter how famous I would become.

 

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Our house is almost paid off and we are considering moving somewhere that is a bit more tax friendly to retired people.  I know Pennsylvania is good for that on the surface but then I hear about this school tax deal and how the tax can be raise at almost any time.  In some counties, the tax almost wipes out any saving you get on your retirement income.  Delaware was another place we are considering, but if you live down by the beaches, you’ll have to deal with the bay bridge to get almost anywhere.  If you live further north, you have to deal with urban traffic and interstate 95.  We have also looked in North and South Carolina and found some interesting places.  Going to the Carolinas, puts us right back in interstate 95 traffic.  None of these locations have been ruled out but so far nothing has gotten us excited enough to begin the process.

Those locations are fine.  They are in driving distance of family and friends.  I am willing to move many places but I would have to be convinced to live somewhere that has a colder climate than the one I live in now.  Sorry hometown folks, I just don’t like the winters.  If I ever move again, my choice would be a warmer climate.  I’m no fool.  I’m not going to pay big money for a little sunshine.  If I can’t get a deal someplace warmer than I won’t go, it’s a simple as that.  Of course, I’m not the only one making the decision.  Cathy is very good at convincing me.  If I put my foot down, she’ll just knock it out from under me and no level of black belt will stop her.

I would live anywhere in the warmer part of the country but I don’t think Cathy wants to be too far from her grandchildren.  We have talked about making a plan when the house is paid off.  With the extra money we plan to travel to different areas and stay for a period of time and see what it feels like.  We’ll see.  We would be saving a fair amount of money if we went to a state that was friendlier to retirees, but we are at home here.

 

 

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Posted in Life and Love, Moving

What’s the Point of a Reality Shows

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reality show

I have been trying to understand this for years.  The brain trusts in Hollywood created these things called reality shows.  They are supposed to show the real lives of people, or regular people in unusual situations.  I have heard the rumors that the wave really fired up when the writers went on strike in Hollywood and the big shots needed replacement ideas.  I don’t know if that is really true.

In any case, we have them and we seem stuck with them.  I can almost understand things like “Survivor” and “The Amazing Race,” but they’re not reality shows; they are elaborate game shows.  People are doing things for a chance to win money, that’s a game show.  The second type of reality show is a situation drama.  Going back to probably what was the original, and this is before the writer’s strike, “Big Brother” on MTV, they involve a group of people living together and scheming against each other.

This kind of show is clearly laid out.  Every version follows the same pattern, and it is clear the direction that is given.  The simple direction is to exaggerate any trait that will entertain the audience.  If a person tends to be a schemer they become the biggest schemer of all time.  If they tend to get emotional, they cry at the drop of a hat.  They can’t possibly be fooling anybody.   These shows relate to reality the way that profession wrestling relates to sports.  I don’t believe anyone thinks they are getting any insight into someone’s life.

The biggest non-reality TV shows are ones that star celebrities.  These are clearly trumped up, no pun intended Donald.  People watch Ozzie Osborne stumble around his house mumbling incoherently, do people think this is actually happening?  No one takes direction like a professional and these people know how to put on a show.

Think about it logically.  They talk about the real lives of housewives in this state or that state.  I know there are upper class housewives but are they the norm, are they a reality to most people?  How do they relate to the viewer?  It is more like “The Lives of the Rich and Famous.”  Does it every dawn on anyone that these regular people have Hollywood agents and publicist?  Is that what even the rich people in your town have?

In my opinion the worst of the worst are “The Bachelor” and “The Bachelorette.”  If anyone was wondering what happened to the lost soap opera writers, well they ended up here.  Does anyone at all believe that these people are actually looking for love?  Does anyone at all believe real tears are shed and real emotion is spewed out of their TVs?  What self-respecting man or woman would be one of twenty-five people fawning over one person?  Is this anyone’s idea of how to find true love?

If they need material for screenplays, I can give them enough to fill up their seasons; there is no need to resort to the lowest form of entertainment.

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Posted in Entertaiment, Opinion, Reality Shows, TV

Are UFOs Really Visiting Aliens

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This is supposedly a picture of two fighters chasing a UFO.

Alien and UFO sightings are something that happen now and then and sometimes show up on the news.  I’m old enough to have gone through the stories of Area 51, Barney and Betty Hill, and even back to Roswell.  I have listened with interest to the accounts of each of these stories and many more.  I even attended a speech by one of the foremost UFO hunters in 1981.  All the information is compelling but I always go back to some simple math and logic.

I would have to say that there are actually two answers to this question.  The first answer is almost assuredly yes.  The analysis of distant star systems is discovering more planets every year.  We are getting very close to discovering terrestrial planets with viable atmospheres.  We have studied the tiniest portion of the stars in the galaxy.  Math is definitely on the side of there being a planet that can support life.  There are just too many chances for the creation of sentient life when you’re working with tens of billions of stars.  In my opinion there are likely to be many sentient races in the galaxy. 

I believe the next part of the question is have they come to Earth?  On that question I have more doubts.  As I mentioned earlier I have been around to hear the stories since Roswell and they all fascinated me, but they didn’t convince me.  The same math that convinces me that there are likely to be many sentient life forms in the galaxy also convinces me that it’s not likely that they just pop over to Earth now and then to say hello.  The one thing that is vaster than the number of stars in the galaxy is the distance between the stars.  It would take 2.3 years to get to the nearest star traveling at the speed of light; even allowing for the time delineation.  Alpha Centauri is 4.3 light years away but funny things happen to time when you approach the speed of light.

Until recently no one could come up with a way to get matter to the speed of light without violating the basic laws of physics.  There are now articles describing being able to accelerate a payload close to the speed of light using an anti-gravitation beam. I don’t have the background to understand the specifics but this idea gets us close to the speed of light; that means the nearest star is still more than 2.3 years of traveling away.

Theoretical physicists are now studying the possibility of warp fields and worm holes.  To avoid being closed minded I will say as lo+

ng as there is a scientist that still believes these theories are possible; then I believe they are possible.  Even by the most optimistic measures; if a warp field or a worm hole can be used as a means of travel that it would require a technology many centuries ahead of ours.

We are now pretty darn sure that humanity is the only sentient life form in our solar system.  Any visitors coming to Earth would have to travel from another solar system.  Thanks to the Hubble Telescope we are able to survey the star systems in our little corner of the galaxy.  At this point we’re also sure that there are no viable planets that can sustain sentient life within ten light years and likely a whole lot more.  If a space ship can travel at the speed of light it would take somewhere around six years, including time delineation, to get to Earth from a planet ten light years away.  That is a long time to travel just to show up, dance around in the sky and go away.  If they are advanced enough to have worked out the use of a warp field or a worm hole then it may be possible.  If a life form is that advanced we wouldn’t be much more than a curiosity to them.

There have been many pictures and videos of UFOs flying over one place or another and many accounts of very creditable people seeing things that they can’t explain.  I have a hard time believing pictures and videos because of the ease of faking that sort of thing.  I do believe people when they say the saw something.  I was told of something that happened many years ago.  A fellow I knew was driving toward Dulles Airport outside Washington, DC when he saw something odd in the sky.  This was before that area was built up and he was on a lonely part of the road.  He saw a set of lights that moved very slowly across the sky.  He pulled his car off the road and got out to watch the UFO.  It traveled slowly and there was no sound indicating it was being propelled by any kind of aircraft engine.  He was about to jump in his car to find the nearest phone when the rest of the craft’s lights came on as it approached the airport.  It was the Goodyear Blip coming in to cover a football game.  My friend had indeed seen a UFO.  A UFO is an Unidentified Flying Object and that what is was until he identified it.  If those lights had not come on before he drove off; it would have always been a UFO to him.

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This is a picture I took out of the window of our stateroom on a cruise ship.  We were entering the port of Cartagena in Colombia.  Do you see the strange disk in the sky?  That disk is a reflection of the ceiling light in our room.

All of this rambling boils down to an answer of I don’t think we have regular visits from aliens, but I won’t say absolutely no.  You can’t prove a negative; you can’t prove that it is not happening, but in my opinion no one has proved that it has happened.

 

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Posted in Current Events, Opinion, UFOs