Saturday, May 29, 2010

Nostagia on Four Wheels

The Lanierland Old Car Club's twenty-ninth show was a genuine trip down memory lane. Psychologists talk about "imprinting," and while the cars at the show were better looking than the ones I remember from my childhood, there were quite a few iconic motor vehicles from the era of my childhood. I was glad to see several cars which were similar to cars from my past. One '57 Chevy and two '56 Chevies made me think of the first cars I can remember. A '61 Studebaker Lark, which had far better paint than the '60 model that mom drove when I was in elementary school, was the first of those I have seen in years and years. A black 1956 Chevy truck reminded me of my neighbor's farm truck. Mr. Walt used to stop by in his, offering fresh veggies from the bushel baskets in the back. Instead of produce, this show vehicle had a gorgeous stained wood bed. There was a '69 Camaro which reminded me of the one my cousin had, and a '71 Chevy pickup which looked rather a lot like the one I used to borrow from my father when I was in college.

Some of the cars were similar to the ones I would have liked to have, including a '70 model Monte Carlo and a '72 Buick Skylark convertible. The event was also billed as a swap meet, and the only '65 Mustang in it was for sale. The asking price was roughly ten times the selling price way back when, making it a dream car then and now.

Since the show was open to cars over 25 years old, there were plenty of cars which were interesting, but not anything like the cars in our driveway or in my dreams. A '36 Mercedes convertible was one of the more exotic cars in the show, and it was clearly hubby's favorite. Cars of that era at the show included luxury monikers Packard and Lincoln. There were a few '40 Fords as well. Diametrically opposed to the high end cars were some more utilitarian rides, including a forties era Jeep, with canvas covered seats. The '28 Ford even had the tool kit on display. There was a red Saab with a belt across the hood. This was not a hasty repair, but was color matched to the rest of the car. One of the more beautiful cars was a '56 Thunderbird convertible with less than sixty thousand miles.

In years to come, my children may enjoy seeing a restored Ford Windstar or a well-preserved Honda Civic, since those are rides which will no doubt be "imprinted" upon their minds. While each of those vehicles has spent quite a while in our driveway, they don't seem particularly classic.

I chatted briefly with the wife of one of the Chevy owners. She laughed and said that the car is "his baby" which he lovingly cares for on a weekly basis. Since that car is the same age I am, I admire the way it looks. If there were people restoration shops to make folks like me look as good as new, that would be great, wouldn't it?

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Thursday, May 20, 2010

Writing=Punishment, Redux

Those who read the news, and I love to read the news— the odder, the better— have probably already seen this story. A ten-year-old student in a public school in Texas has been punished for possessing a dangerous substance— a Jolly Rancher candy. News headlines have touted her weeklong detention, but careful readers will note that she was also assigned "an essay" which is a punishment, rather than a mere assignment, in modern America. While I hate this abominable misuse of my subject matter, there was no surprise. None.

More recently, a solicitor in Forest Park, Georgia (one of the many suburbs of Atlanta) ordered a teenager to write 2500 sentences for passing a school bus with its stop sign extended. Now, that is an offense worthy of punishment, but why not make the offender do couple hundred math problems? I'd view that as punishment aplenty, but no, it is my beloved subject matter and my favorite hobby which is once again used by a warped authority figure as a whip to inflict punishment.

"The invention of mass printing practices changed our world and the print invention is regarded by many as the invention of the millennium." Indeed, writing is one of the most important distinctions between civilization and the lack thereof. Is this thrashing of the written word the beginning of a decent into literary darkness?

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Sunday, May 09, 2010

Great Blog for fans of Science Fiction Romance

Sometimes I miss the best stuff online. I guess it is a talent, sorta like my uncanny ability to choose the slowest checkout line, and this talent often shines when I am in a hurry. Today, I want to mention The Galaxy Express, a blog by Heather Massey, which apparently began a couple of years ago.

While researching the works of a favorite author who writes science fiction romance, I happened upon this content rich wonder. Although I haven't read all of it, I have perused enough to go ahead and provide a link to it. Thus far I have enjoyed some reviews, some news, an interview with author and pilot, Susan Grant, and some posts which mirror topics I covered in earlier entries of Pam's Pages. A post with a topic similar to one of my posts is What's in a Name? There's a thoughtful article on cover art, which I blogged about when Trinity on Tylos was in the works. Recently, I re-read and blogged about Heinlein's Friday; here's her take on the same groundbreaking novel, and she wrote her entry two years before I wrote mine. And hers is better, darn it. Some years ago, I made a speech where in I stated that a villain is the key to a great story. Heather's post, "Got Villain?" is on the same topic, but with a different slant, of course.

The Galaxy Express has other good "article posts" as well as news about science fiction romance. Authors who are mentioned run the gamut from the fabulous Lois McMaster Bujold, who authored some of the first SFR titles that I enjoyed, to some of my recent favorites, including Pauline Baird Jones, who is releasing a sequel to The Key soon.

I probably should gush some more, since I am enjoying this new find, but I it's time to stop writing and get back to reading.


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Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Just gotta spit

Recently, I was driving into my hometown, across a structure known as the "White Bridge" although it isn't white anymore. This quaint, historic bridge crosses Curry Creek and is a bit more narrow than the rest of the roadway. Anyone on the sidewalk is in close proximity to drivers, and there were two teenaged boys, walking along, spitting over the side. Neither boy was remarkable, just two guys clad in jeans and t-shirts, spitting. I drove on, but they kept walking and spitting, until they reached solid ground. What is it about teen boys and spitting?

A few years ago, our family spent a day in Helen, Georgia, a touristy place all dressed up as a Bavarian village, with the rushing waters of the Chattahoochee running right through town. The food is interesting, the gift shops mostly overpriced, and it is a good day trip into the foothills of the mountains. Many tourists rent colorful innertubes and float down the river in the hot summer, and on that day hubby and son were tubing, while daughter and I were shopping, as well as watching the tubing on the ’hooch. As daughter and I stood on the bridge in downtown Helen, waiting for our guys to float under, I noted several teenaged boys, spitting. I won't say they were engaged a saliva assualt, but the oversized tubes did make good targets.

Having spent quite a few years glaring at young folks, with the goal of improving their behavior, I turned my camera toward the offenders, and zoomed in, not clicking the shutter, but pretending. A few of them noticed and moved on, but the ones with girlfriends as motivators kept on spitting. The guys would hawk up saliva, at least I hope that is all, and the girls would cheer.

Why do young men spit? And what kind of mama raises a girl who would find that talent desirable?

Some parts of life are simply inexplicable.

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