As of today, That’s Obsolete will revert back to its original goal: a not-very-clever look back at cutting edge technologies of the past. The subject separation has been made, and from this point on, all posts having to do with squandering my life will now be posted over at Strolling Amok. Use the link and bookmark the new location, because ain’t gonna be no more RV/camping articles hereabouts!
I’ve been recording old records onto my computer in order to generate MP3′s. I was going through a family collection of 45′s and found this gem issued by Gilmar Record Club, which was started in 1956. What Gilmar did was to record their versions of the popular hits of the day, using unknown artists and, apparently minimal practice and studio time to issue them. In The Big Hurt, the main vocalist and backup vocalists are not in the same key – just a little off – and the singer struggles to match them, because if she does, she’s not in tune with the instruments, either. It’s painful to hear, and a reminder that low cost doesn’t always equate to being a bargain. Woof!
Just click on the 1MB file below, and if the window displaying it doesn’t play it immediately, click on it again. Then, hold on tight.
“Security was attained in the earlier days through the interdependence of members of families upon each other and of the families within a small community upon each other. The complexities of great communities and of organized industry make less real these simple means of security. Therefore, we are compelled to employ the active interest of the Nation as a whole through government in order to encourage a greater security for each individual who composes it . . . This seeking for a greater measure of welfare and happiness does not indicate a change in values. It is rather a return to values lost in the course of our economic development and expansion . . .” Franklin D. Roosevelt: Message of the President to Congress, June 8, 1934.
Photo by Dorothea Lange for the Resettlement Administration, 1936.
How is it possible that so many patriots who loudly advocate crushing the insidious tentacles of socialism in these United States of America, do so while proudly pocketing their Social Security, Disability, or Medicare benefits?
We call Social Security a “trust fund” and tell ourselves that we paid for it, but we aren’t really getting our own money back now. It never worked (more…)
Here’s an upcoming event worth mentioning, and worth going to even if your interest in vintage cars is close to nonexistent. It’s the Model A Day in Sharon, Wisconsin. It takes place on the first Sunday in June, which this year is June 2nd. Sharon is just barely over the border, immediately north of Harvard, Illinois. My own big regret is that on that day I’ll be on my way to Rochelle, Illinois and won’t be arriving “home” in Marengo until June 3rd. Poo!
Here’s what one site describes it as: “Sponsored by the Sharon Main Street Association with assistance from the Rock-Ford A’s of Rockford, Illinois. Free admission for this all day event which runs from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. in a historic downtown near the Wisconsin-Illinois state line. Re-live the Roaring 20’s era with over 200 Model A cars lining the streets. Watch era re-enactors and costumed residents while dancers and music entertainers perform in the town’s gazebo. Enjoy an ice cream social, pig roast with all the trimmings and other homemade treats. Swap meet and vendors.”
This little event in an even littler town is a serious hoot. Sharon itself is a vintage town. Nearly all of the original architecture is still there. Between that, the host of 1930s cars, the costumed street players, and hopefully the return of the West End Jazz Band, you will thoroughly enjoy yourself. This isn’t really a car show at all – that’s just an excuse to fill out the setting and have fun. Of the thirty-plus summer events I went to in my last year of running the McHenry County Vintage Car Gazette, this was the pick of the litter. My recommendation? Drive up there a little past 9AM, find yourself street parking along Martin Street just outside the main drag through town (Baldwin Street), put on a sun hat and keep a few bucks in your pocket for some great food, and wander. Go into a couple of shops, particularly the Sharon Main Street and Mercantile. If you see some suffragettes demonstrating in the intersection of Baldwin and Plain, don’t wander too far away, and get ready to smile.
Below is a regurgitation of their 2011 event. This year is their 17th. I don’t really have the bandwidth to be uploading 200MB videos, so by doing this, you know I’m serious.
Would it spook anyone to know that I have four small sheets of microfilm concerning product development of the F-111 swing-wing fighter-bomber? You know, the one that flew the attack mission against Libya in 1986? It entered service in 1967, the same as these film sheets are dated. The General Dynamics F-111 Aardvark was a medium-range tactical strike aircraft first went to the U.S. Air Force. It pioneered variable-sweep wings that were actually practical, afterburning turbofan engines, and automated terrain-following radar to allow high speed at very low altitudes.
The F-111 was built-to-purpose, since the downing of the high-altitude U2 by Soviet missiles showed that high altitude bombing would obviously no longer survive as an attack method. The new want became a high-speed plane that could carry bombs at very low altitudes over long distances. The closest equivalent at the time was one of my favorites, the F-105 Thunderchief. The F-105 basically resembled a very large, sleek, all-engine missile with stubby wings. The wings were pretty much there for appearances unless you were proceeding with considerable vigor. Unfortunately, though fast as hell, the Thunderchief required long runways to take off and a parachute to (more…)
I just found this old taxi card for the Yellow Cab Company in Joliet IL, but how far back do you have to go to pay just 25 cents for the first 1/3 mile? Did you know I drove a taxi for a few weeks in Champaign-Urbana right after I gradiated collige in 1972? You had to pay for your own gas, and they didn’t assign rides – they just announced them – so it was a sprint to see who was closest for the pickup. Fortunately, I got a call for a career job interview before I could either go broke or take off a fender.
My ’74 was silver with a red interior, but otherwise just like this. Nice car, huh?
You know, it would be nice if the human brain shut down during sleep. I mean really shut down, with only one brain cell glowing just enough to keep the automatic systems like heart and lungs going. That can’t be, of course, since we must be able to hear and react quickly when the hungry saber-tooth tiger enters our cave.
So, what we’ve got is this gray lump too exhausted to stay awake and too restless to kick into a true idle. With no tiger within audible range, it eventually begins to rummage through the dusty bins of memory to pull a toothpick’s worth of something here, and a speck of something there, and then entertains itself by piecing those little random bits of electrical energy into a partially coherent storyline. This is not an easy task, as anyone who works on “continuity” in the movie industry can tell you. They work desperately to ensure that the appearances of people and places seems unchanging, even when pieces of one scene are shot months apart.
In sleep, our brains can’t be bothered with such trivialities. Basic elements change radically from moment to moment, time shifts, and even the storyline itself flip-flops around like a fish out of water. I think this is due to two factors. First, the brain is improvising, having to work with random impulses, and weaving anything together to create a sequence that makes sense is an impossible task anyway. Secondly, the human brain knows that, in a sleep state, there are no critics around. It can do whatever it likes, and the worst that can happen is (more…)
“Life is NOT a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well-preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming, ‘WOW, what a ride!!!’ “ – Anonymous
This quote can be found all over the Internet, mostly as a signature on forum posts. I read a lot of motivational quotes about the spirit of adventure, doing things that are unfamiliar to you, risking significant failure, and about pushing right up to your physical limitations and/or past your comfort zone. I respectfully disagree on this quote however, because it centers on the physical aspect.
Why do I dislike it? Because those who live it out tend to become hobbling wrecks as the years go on. The problem is that the “thoroughly used up, totally worn out” nearly always occurs well before “the grave”, and what you wind up doing is gimping along well after all those exciting stunts. There’s a big difference between testing your limits and careless abuse. While others are out there enjoying life, you’re limping, going to the doctor’s office again, arguing with your health insurance company, and living at the pharmacy – and there’s no end in sight. Look at NFL football players. They are expected to play when injured. Many are crippled once the years catch up to them, stoked on pain killers and undergoing multiple surgeries just to be able to walk. The resulting quality of life becomes pretty bad.
But let’s talk ordinary mortals. Look at what people attempt with ATVs. The average death toll on ATVs is purportedly 700 annually. The press clicks its tongue and implies that they are inherently dangerous, but so is a kitchen knife or your basement stairs. An ATV is no more dangerous than one chooses to make it. Sometimes it’s just thinking that you don’t need instruction and practice. Sometimes it’s not thinking things through first. Sometimes it’s going in well over your head just for the adrenaline high and the admiration of your “friends” who are goading you on. If you do this stuff when you’re twenty, you laugh and talk about it for ten years or more. But by the time you hit fifty, you’re hurting bad, can’t do what your friends are doing, and have a long way to go yet. And it’s only going to get worse. So far, I have to say that when you treat your body like it’s expendable, you may well pay a price in the long run that’s mighty unpleasant.
The short video below starts with the embarrassing and ends with someone who’s probably going to question his choices later.