Sep 30, 2011

The Full-Service Library...

In the early 1970's, my sister-in-law, Joan, went to work as a part-time volunteer in the public library in Pass Christian, Mississippi.  The head librarian was a young Filipina named Linda.

At that time, a number of parents were complaining that the library still had sex-related books on the open shelves.  They were concerned that their teenage children were gaining access to books that were perhaps intended for a more adult audience.  A group of parents asked Linda if she would please put the "sex books" behind the main desk where they could be kept under tighter controls.  She accommodated the parents' request.  She then put a note in the card catalog in the location of the subject "sex."  "For sex, see Librarian."

Sep 25, 2011

Saturday Construction Project...

About 25 years ago, I built a deck for our dogs to lounge on.  They probably view it as a sentinel station since their primary job is to guard the property.  Over the years it finally gave way to the elements.  It was falling apart.  So, over the last three weekends I have removed the old deck and constructed a new one:

Alien Invasion...

A strange formation of alien spacecraft has landed on my front lawn.  I think they seek water after our recent rains.  Not to worry.  I have been standing outside greeting them, "Gort! Klaatu barada nikto!"  They will know we are peaceful and mean them no harm.

Sep 18, 2011

Redneck Rumble, 2011...

Yesterday, Monty Love and I drove up to Lebanon, Tennessee, to attend the Redneck Rumble.  This is a car show that has taken place at a local fairground for the last 5 years.  I expected a lot of traditional hot rods and was quite disappointed.  Most of the show was taken up with so-called Rat Rods, which I find pointless and ugly.  Ah, well.  You can't win 'em all...

We did see a 1950 Chevy Sedan Delivery, the same model that Monty uses as a daily driver, that was exquisite!

Sep 14, 2011

Pascagoula Incident...

I saw this news article today: "
..(Reuters) - Charles Hickson, the Mississippi man who claimed he was abducted and probed by aliens while he was fishing with a friend in 1973 and never backed off the story despite the ridicule he endured, has died.

Hickson, 80, died last Friday of a heart attack, his family said on Tuesday.

Hickson, then 42, was fishing with 19-year-old Calvin Parker Jr. on a pier near Pascagoula, Mississippi in October 1973 when they said a cigar-shaped UFO with flashing blue lights suddenly appeared above them.

A door opened up, the two men later told authorities, and they were pulled into the craft by aliens, who paralyzed them, examined them on a table and then let them go.

Although Hickson was reluctant to share the story -- he said all he and Parker wanted to do "was go fishing" and he feared people would "laugh me out of Jackson County" -- he and Parker eventually went to local police and reported the incident.

"They weren't lying," the chief investigator for the Jackson County Sheriff's Department told reporters at the time. "Whatever it was, it was real to them."

As word of their claims leaked out, Hickson and Parker became minor celebrities, celebrated by believers in extraterrestrial life but derided by skeptics.

In 1974, after wire services picked up the story, Hickson appeared on a number of national TV programs, including The Dick Cavett Show.

In 1983, Hickson wrote a book about the incident called "UFO Contact at Pascagoula" with William Mendez. (Reporting by James B. Kelleher in Chicago)

I happened to be working for Ingalls Shipbuilding at the time of the UFO incident.  My office was in the refurbished "port warehouse building" that was only a couple hundred yards from where Hickson and Parker were fishing.  And one of my colleagues, Jerry Shaver, had gone to school with Hickson.  According to Jerry, "Charlie Hickson is one of the finest men I've ever known.  I promise you that he would never tell a lie."

I always thought the story was fascinating.  I still do.  There's a more complete description of the incident in an interesting article in Wikipedia.

Sep 10, 2011

Winston Gets a New Oil Filter!

The picture above is of the type of oil filter that the 1932 Plymouth was originally equipped with.  It was the first year that oil filters were standard equipment on the Plymouth.  The whole canister is disposable.  There are brass pipe fittings that go in both the upper and lower ends of the filter.  These attach to steel tubes that attach to a supply point and a discharge point on the engine's oil system.  And the whole thing was held in a clamp on the driver's side of the engine.  When I bought the car 49 years ago, these filters were readily available and cost a couple of dollars.

The last time I was able to buy one in a car parts store was about ten years ago.  Wix still listed the filter in their catalog at a cost of about $26.00!  I bought one and then they were gone.  I started buying them on eBay, but the price kept escalating.  You have to change the filter every 1,000 miles, so even if you don't drive the car a lot it can still add up.

Last year, I read the following ad in the Plymouth Bulletin, the magazine published by the Plymouth Owners Club:

"Oil Filter: Cast aluminum, replaces the old tin throwaway type that has a 1/8" NPT fitting at each end.   4-1/4 diameter 6" long; unscrews to replace neon filter inside;will work with any engine that filters just the bypassed oil.  $165 plus shipping.  Joe McGinnis, 234 Deer Foot Road, Blairsville, GA 30512, Tel: (706) 781-2805, email"

  Now, Winston sports a brand new filter with the same old appearance.  What a concept!

Sep 4, 2011

Great Race 2012 Has Been Announced!

According to the Hemmings Motor News blog,  "Not only will the Great Race return for 2012 after its successful relaunch earlier this year, but it will also go international, with a tour of the Great Lakes that will take participants north of the border into Canada."

The precision rally for vintage cars will start in Traverse City, Michigan, on June 23rd.  It will end a week later in Detroit.  According to the Great Race Website, "
it will run north along Lake Michigan to the Upper Peninsula, cross into Canada at Sault Ste. Marie (where locks join lakes Superior and Huron), then travel east along the north shore of Lake Huron, south toward Lake Ontario and east toward the crossing back into the United States at Thousand Islands, then back west along the south shore of Lake Erie and toward its finish line in the Detroit area.  In all, the race will cover 2,000 miles, cross four states and one Canadian province, and afford sights of all five Great Lakes.  

Scheduled stops along the way include the Pierce-Arrow Museum in Buffalo, New York; the National Packard Museum in Warren, Ohio; and the Automotive Heritage Museum (the last Hudson dealer) in Ypsilanti, Michigan.

The Great Race is open to all vehicles from 1969 and earlier.  The entry fee for the Great Lakes Great Race will be $4,000 for private entries and $5,000 for corporate entries.  A $500 discount is available to any team that pays a $2,000 deposit by Sept. 18, 2011, and the balance by Dec. 31, 2011."

Here's my guess on a possible route: