Sunday, November 27, 2016


Mark Knopfler 

Take a moment and enjoy the story through song.

Bobby Brown Info.


1956 Two Door Chevrolet

I started working when I was 12 and put most every penny into the bank so as to have enough to purchase my first car when I turned 16.

Finally, the day arrived and we drove to Portland, Oregon one Saturday morning with $800 cash in hand. Eight hundred dollars was the determining factor. Portland was the land of milk and honey for used car lots.

1955 two-door Chevrolet hardtop for sure, but over budget. 1957 Chevrolet for sure but even further over my budget. And then, this 1956 blue and white Chevrolet with 265 cu. in. motor, two-barrel carburetor, bench-seat and three on-the-column. A magnificent find and mom and dad helped with the extra $50. Signed, sealed and delivered.

We headed home and after crossing over into Washington State, we stopped to gas up and check the oil. The dip-stick was dry. No matter how many times, I checked, dry. Looked under the car and the oil leak was noticeable. She had lost her rear main seal and oil was escaping.

Dad said "We are taking her back". I pleaded because I knew not of worldly purchases of cars, mechanical fixes, warranties and who is responsible. I wanted to top the oil off, head home and "we could get her fixed there." Nope, we topped off the oil and headed back into the middle of Portland. All the way back, my heart was there on the bench-seat next to me.

Now, those were the days my friends! The lot stood by deal and sale. Pulled the Chevy into their garage, dropped the drive-line, the three-speed transmission, oil pan and replaced the rear seal. Took all of three or four hours. We went out for a drive and lunch. Then back to the lot and later that afternoon, the 56 Chev came out of the garage with a smile on her face and a song in her heart. She was repaired and good as new.

The same stop again coming home. Dip-stick showed full, clean oil. Heart back in my chest for the trip home and years of memories in that old Chevy. 

She was a sweetheart. She was there through those mid-teenage years. Street racing and Friday night/Saturday night cruising. She taught me about car ownership and mechanical things. She taught me about budgeting and prioritizing earned monies. She confirmed in so many ways that having my very own car at 16 years old was worth more than it was worth. And she was there to take me from the junior college campus to home on November 22, 1963 when JFK was assassinated. Driving down the hill from the college campus with numbed heart and mind. Much was learned with her and she offered the first reaches of individual freedom and individual responsibility.
I will not launch into more of the oldies but goodies I was fortunate to own and drive. Suffice it to say, they fed my wanton desire for connectivity to mother earth through four rolling tires and the need to grab gears. To this day, the want and need to drive for the fun of driving is still alive.
This brings me to the discussion of self-driving cars. We are in the technological curve now where all of this can become a reality. Commercial airplanes have the technological ability to take off, fly to a destination and land without the need of humans in the cockpit. You and I are not yet ready to board such a flight, but the technology exits and has for quite awhile. 

There exists, though, on the part of the new car designers and billionaires, the idea that we are ready to hop into a motor vehicle and turn our travel needs over to the machine. I might find such an experience like the thrill of a carnival ride coupled with the wonderment of technological achievement. BUT it will/would be just that, an entertainment ride.

It is the human factor adapting to this technology that the up-coming designers and builders may want to pay more attention to. Because the technology exists is not a mandate we all climb in. I have read that not having to worry about the driving coming and going will give the rider more time to check emails and work the net. Sheesh, ya gotta come up with more than that. After working all day, will folks want to continue head down and fanny up in screen world on their commutes? Maybe I am wrong.

Things mechanical break. Things mechanical/electrical/programmed/programmable fail. Having a self-driving car just up and stop in mid-traffic would/should scare the hell out of me. I am sure that the designers and builders will have foreseen a percentage of these occurrences thus designing an automatic lock in system so as to protect the human from making the mistake of getting out of the car in moving traffic. “The vehicle has stopped, please be patient. Push diagnostic mode button for more information”

At some point the human returns to fix the problem. Might we opt for better linking of human and machine through design? 
The human element will want to hack the owned vehicle to help improve the performance or, more likely, the freedom of movement. “Yep, I have doubled the battery life on Gertrude and improved momentary acceleration by 80%. I have also installed a Rube Goldberg joy stick for manual driving. You should see the faces on the car riders I speed by.”

Or, I hacked the a**hole gesturing to me on the by-way this morning. His car just slowed down and coasted to a stop on the off ramp.” A**Hole!!
Hector felt the need for speed in his 2011 “highly modified” Mustang. Hector was working the human element. Apparently 84 mph just wet his appetite. Hector broke the law, got caught and, thank goodness, no one was hurt and the Mustang was not destroyed in his need for speed.
Put Hector in a self-driving car and the young man will find ways to “improve” vehicle performance, independence, freedom and yes; fun! So will thousands other Hectors and Hectorettes.

To the young designers and doers. This is the car I would like you to design and build for me.
Four doors with fitted bucket seats.

Three-hundred-sixty degree visibility.

Pilot/Co-Pilot front driver seats.

Cyclic wrist control for each driver.

Four seat heads up display.

Direct link to the global satellite network.

Function buttons, panels and switches located for ease of access.

One thousand mile minimum endurance.

Voice command for all systems.

Intuitive vehicle interaction with driver.

Autopilot linked with manual driver options.

Full GPS functions and full cloaking capability.

Road to vertical take-off flight options using current technology.

Reverse hacking complete instant system kill mode.

Matte, gun metal grey and wheels with Baby Moons.

Will stop here before this becomes an impossible build.
Thank you young designers, for your help with my request.

What sticks in my craw as I watch some of this unfold is the idea that the human needs to be taken out of the driving equation. Here is another excellent example where you and I are the problem. We need to be removed as part of the design/build process. This article says that our safety is their prime motivation. "Save the children" too ought to be added. We are a humanity being seriously co-opted to think there is no avenue where we can make a decision or have any capacity to take care ourselves. Ought to scare the exhaust valves out us.

Other key concepts from these master minds: "Information overload." Yep, we are not as smart as they are!! "Passive fatigue." Sounds wonderful. "Car does all the work." Sign me up. Sounds like another opportunity to be a victim. Blame the damn car. Blame the doers!

Lets not forget all the new laws and funding needed for the letting the car do all the work. Regardless, the above article is worth browsing. 

A last moment down memory lane and I will move on.


1966--A couple weeks before completing flight school at Ft. Rucker, Alabama.
Twenty-year-old pilot to be.
 1963 Stingray Convertible; 350 HP, 4 speed.    $50 a month payments.

Pre-Thanksgiving 2016 

It's the day before the day before and her is working the Thanksgiving Dinner. Kitchen is not a mess, but is an array of mission specific items arranged in ascending or descending order of application. I have completed the banana run for "mother's" fruit salad and all systems are a go. One more day of emergency shopping available, but pre-planning seems to have paid off early.

Our Thanksgivings have evolved over the past years to inviting "orphans" - older folks whose children are far, far away and who, too, are alone this day. Being alone is not a bad thing, but this holiday is best with company. And her always makes the biggest turkey she can find so sharing is in order on many levels. At this moment in time, I am looking forward to turkey dinner. 


Dog's Just Want To Have Fun

Catching Tennis Balls
Catching Snow Balls


Was a very wonderful home Thanksgiving. Good company, a little politics, great meal by her and time afterwards to sit and visit about things other. Thanks for health, good family and friends, hope for a great nation to heal for the good of all and  down-time not infected by the media. 

Company left, we cleaned up, put the big stuff away and enjoyed watching the Cowboys and Indians play football. A good game, well played and Dax just might bring me back to winter football in baby steps.

Leftovers already with fried mashed potato pancakes and fruit salad for breakfast. Turkey boned and broken into bits. All set in a large soup pot, covered in water and on the simmer as we speak, for the weekend turkey soup romp. 

Her wants out of the house today so it is off on the back roads to back water towns for special gift shopping. Packing up the dog and a road trip.

We found some of the most beautiful country side here that we have ever seen. Old New England homes, farms, rock walls and picture perfect landscapes. A good reason for another road trip with camera. 

We found a fellow and long time business who makes pewter ornaments and who also practices the art of metal spinning dishes and bowls. Yes, I could have sat there all day watching him work. Take me to the engine room or to the work shop and I am as a happy as a man can be. Her bought ornaments and thanked me several times for getting all of us out of the house. 

And all was good!!   


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