Snap and Snooze

I guess some of you
old-timers can tell
that I’m back on my
rabbit-food diet, cause
here I am crabbin’ about
technology again, when
usually it’s sex that is the
prevailing topic of choice
around here ………….

Tomorrow it’ll be food,
you wait and see.

And, no,
I’m not dropping weight
for a competition,
this time, though.

I’m done pulling trucks, y’all…
my back has told me in no
uncertain terms that it’s not
having any more of that shit.

Ok, so maybe
I am too old for it —
but I was when
I started doing it, too.

Blech.

Anyhoo…

As I was saying, being back
on the rabbit food diet
also means that I’ve cut
my gym days down
from 6 days to 5 —

which means I got more
time to watch TV —

— if they still call it that.

It’s gotten very strange lately —

you’ll be watching a program,
and suddenly, they’ll say
something like :

” … and if you want to see
how this all ends, just go
to blah-blah-blah-dot-com
and watch it on the phone app. “

waIT.
COME BACK HERE !

But they don’t listen-
and they just start the next program.

Hey – I was watching that !!!!!!!!!!!!

I was perfectly happy watching
whatever-it-was on a 60 inch
large screen with surround sound —

— and now for some reason,
they want me to go and find
my phone to watch the conclusion
on a two inch screen with an
almost inaudible speaker ? ?

WHO thought THIS
was a good idea?

I’m all for the internet
in all kinds of ways —
(how can you beat all
the free porn, blogs
and 60’s music videos
that you can eat?) —
– but using the net is just
too much work if suddenly
this is the ‘NEW TV’ —

I pay for cable- and still
I don’t get my happy ending
without the damned channel app?

Let me tell you –
in my world,
when it’s television time,
it’s ‘just sit back,
relax and
push the remote button’ –

it’s not about
mega-searching,
3 minute featurettes,
unregulated commercials
every 30 seconds,
buffering, and unreliable
crashing apps —
no, man, NO.

And NO –
I don’t want
to feedback on SnapThat,
or throw hash with Hash-taggers,
or go see ‘Enhanced Content’
(which they could just show
on TV but won’t ) on Fade-book.

Faced with all that, I think
I’d rather go back to my old
23 inch analog TV with the
rabbit ears, 3 VHF channels
and a couple of fuzzy UHF ones.

At least I can hear it when
it’s turned up full blast.

This getting old shit
is sure getting old.

!!!! HOY !!!!!

.

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The 1963 Buick Riviera

If one thinks back on the really iconic cars of the 1960’s —

— it won’t take long
for the 1963 Buick Riviera
to come to mind.

Based in part on the designs for the prototype 1962 Cadillac
La Salle XP-715 –

and a Bill Mitchell concept car
called the “Silver Arrow “,
the new Riviera was definitely
a cutting edge looking car —

— and was no longer just the
name of a GM trim package,
but a real nameplate on it’s own.

It was meant to compete
in the personal luxury market
against cars like the extremely
successful Ford Thunderbird
(and to a lesser extent,
the Studebaker Avanti) .

In this regard,
it was quite successful-
and over 112,000 cars
were sold in the first
three years of it’s availability.

It used a body that was
unique to the Riviera
( G.M. liked to make minor
modifications on a body-shell
for marketing in other divisions,
but not in this case ) had a lot
of ginchey extras, and a very
sporty looking stance for
a ‘luxury’ car , plus –
bucket seats front and back —
center racing style console,
and a couple very good
engine options including
the four barrel 360 horsepower
“Super Wild Cat” (starting in 1964).

It won many
automotive awards –
and Sergio Pininfarina declared it to be
” … one of the most
beautiful American cars ever built”.

And as far as many car aficionados
are concerned, the 1963 Riviera
is still one of the most-fun-to-drive
cars ever built in the U.S.

!! HOY !!

The 1948 Tucker ’48’

Preston Tucker was
a real innovator –

that, no one in the
know even questions.

He was heavily involved
in automobile racing
since the early 1930’s,
and during World War II
developed a high speed
armored combat vehicle
for the Dutch army,
a swiveling turret mechanism
for the U.S. Navy, and a
fighter aircraft for the
U.S. Army Air Corps.

He also started plans
for a brand new kind of car –

one that could put a lot of
the technological breakthroughs
of war-time into practical
peace-time application.

This car,
the 1948 Tucker ’48’
– was certainly different –
a directional third headlight
that would follow the radius
of the steering wheel aided
the driver in cornering at night –
a roll bar and a specially
constructed protective
safety frame –
along with a ‘pop-out’
shatterproof windshield,
a padded dash and a collision
‘crash chamber’ built in .

The emergency brake
even had a separate key to prevent theft.

The ’48’  had been
loosely based on
the designs for the Tucker “Torpedo”
(which never actually
went into production)
but the production model ’48’
lacked certain innovations
from the Torpedo that would
have given the car an even
more interesting edge –

— like doors that wrapped
up into the roof,
a centrally positioned
steering wheel,
and front fenders
that turned when the
car was cornering.

The introduction of the car ,
along with a lot of pomp
and circumstance,
also had
it’s…. well, problems

— the prototype couldn’t be
started on its own power,
two suspension arms broke,
and it overheated as it was
driven onto the platform.

These kinds of issues
contributed to giving
consumers the impression
that perhaps the Tucker wasn’t
all that well constructed.

Still, the car was striking  –
and was making
Ford and GM
very, very nervous.

It caused enormous
pressure on them,
and they in turn
brought it back to bear
on the new company.

To make the difficulties on
the release of the new Tucker
even worse-

— certain advertising claims,
and wonky project fund raising
helped bring charges of fraud
by the Securities Exchange Commission –

— charges which Tucker was
later cleared of, but the
damage was done –

And in the end,
the Tucker ’48’ was gone before it
really had a chance to get started.

Only 51 production vehicles
were ever produced…

and their value at auction
has consistently held around
over a million dollars a piece
for the last couple of years.

!!! HOY !!!

Paper Dresses Catch On Fire

The whole concept
of a paper dress
may seem to us in
this ‘oh, so enlightened’ era
to be a pretty bad idea…

you know,
flammable,
easily torn,
kinda formless —
and
impossible to wash.

but it was a
really big thing
in the 1960’s.

Scott Paper started
the hub-bub
(the 1960’s one, anyway)
by advertising dresses
made in their patented
“Dura-Weave” process —

for a $1.25, you’d get a
“Paper-Caper” ‘optical art’
garment —
— in red or black.

Of course, you had to fill
out a coupon and wait
four to six weeks –

But then, you had your dress-
which was the total
opposite of what you’d
call ‘form-fitting’
and I’m told, at least, that it
wore much more like a
hospital gown.

You wouldn’t really
predict this thing to
sell 500,000 –
— would you?

Well, it did.

And clothing designers
(as well as other toilet
paper manufacturers )
jumped on the craze.

Hell, Gracie Slick even
mentioned em in a
Jefferson Airplane song.

The one I really remember
(I was just still a
kiddy-winky at the time)
was the “Souper Dress”
which was based on
Andy Warhol’s
Campbell Soup
Cans paintings.

After a while, though —
the nature of paper as
a clothing material
really started to be an issue,
and manufacturers came up
with something that still kinda
looked like paper but didn’t
go up in flames at the
first flash of a bulb.

Apparently, 75% rayon,
25% nylon worked
pretty good as a substitute –

and by 1970,
that was all that was
left of the paper dress craze.

Here’s a couple of examples
to wrap us up for this post.

Thanks to Jen for the
poster dress submission !

!!!! HOY !!!!

The 1953 Lincoln XL-500

Let’s turn the clock back to the early 1950’s —

when the idea of a ‘bubble top’ car was still very futuristic and cool sounding —

and while we’re at it,
let’s look at the hottest
‘concept’ car of the
year in 1953 —

The Lincoln XL-500.

Yes, featured on the
cover of “Motor Trend”
and everything–

and certainly it was
a beautiful car.

First shown at the 1952
Chicago Auto Fair,
many thought that the
XL-500 was a natural
direction for the Lincolns
to regain some cutting
edge as part of the newly
(1945) combined
Lincoln-Mercury Division…

‘H-Series’ and ‘Continental’
had both been dropped (1949)
in favor of a ‘new look’, and the
Ford designers had been
struggling to find it.

Considering the rather staid,
conservative direction that
the company’s cars
eventually took,
it turned out to have been a
space-age looking
car built for a
stone-age luxury division.

And cool as the outer skin was,
it’s platform was a basic Lincoln
engine and transmission.

There were advances – to be sure –
like the push-button automatic
transmission controls on the
steering column –

( soon to be applied
later in production
cars on the 1958 Ford Edsel ) –

a ginchey radio-telephone ,
electric calendar,
and a power decklid —
but the big whiz-bang news
was the fiberglass body and
the Plexiglass bubble roof .

I love the look of cars
with these kinds of
Jetsons-style tops,
even though from
the practical side,
the ‘bubble tops’ were a disaster —

hot in summer,
cold in winter,
expensive to maintain —
really, just a mess –
which, I guess explains
why you don’t see ’em around.

Still, the 53 XL-500 is a
fascinating part of automotive history.

 

 

The 1941 Chrysler Thunderbolt

When one thinks
of a car designed
for the pre-World War II automotive marketplace, one would
have certain expectations —

rather boxy things,
elongated from
the ‘C’ pillar
back and from
the ‘A’ pillar
forward –

– big chrome grills,
massive bumpers often
with running boards….

and without a trace
of aerodynamic styling.

So our featured car today –
the 1941 Chrysler Thunderbolt ,
won’t fail to surprise most folks.

For one thing, the exterior
styling, designed by
Alex Tremulis
(of Tucker fame),
is much more akin to cars
that were put into production
10 years later —
— the 1951 Ford Custom,
for instance.

The lag in progress,
if you want to call it that,
was simply due to the
onset of World War II–

Car manufacturers put
their designs for consumer
vehicles on the back burner
and went about building
the tanks, airplanes, trucks
and stuff to aid the war effort.

And directly after the war,
most car companies went
right back where they left off-

building the same models
and using the old toolings
stamps and templates —

Any real innovations took
years of peacetime and a
large amount of capital to
come to practical fruition,
and it was well into
the 1950’s before
consumers really started
to see them applied
directly to the marketplace.

So, there was, for all
practical purposes,
a ten year lag in
development and
automotive creativity.

This can clearly be seen
when we look at the
1941 Thunderbolt :

the “A” pillar was deleted
on this car, which had
an all aluminum-body
(with the exception of
the steel hood
and deck lid) ,
which featured
all kinds of
technological accomplishments –
like an electrically retractable roof –

(not seen in the United States
on a production car until the
1957 Ford Fairlane 500 Skyliner ),

plus hydraulically
powered windows,
push button door handles,
concealed vacuum
activated headlamps,
Lucite-edged
back-lit gauges,
vertically mounted
and inset radio,
and with a push button
Chrysler Fluid Drive
automatic transmission.

A two-seater coupe,
it was powered
by a 323.5 cubic-inch
straight-eight
“Spitfire” engine capable of
producing 143 horsepower,
used an independent front
suspension with coil springs,
and a live rear axle with
semi-elliptic leaf springs.

First shown at the New York
Auto Show in October, 1940
there were a total of 6 Thunderbolts
manufactured, each with it’s
own unique color scheme,
and of these, 4 are known
to have survived.

If you wanted to drive one –
well,
up until December 2016-

you could have at least seen
a silver Thunderbolt at the
Walter P. Chrysler Museum
located in Auburn Hills, Michigan,
but that place has since closed down-

-a red Thunderbolt
(remember, each one had
it’s own color scheme)
sold at auction in 2006
for over a million dollars,

-and a green one that once
belonged to actor Bruce Cabot
went for just under a million
in 2011.

But you know,
with enough $$$$ ,
I guess anything’s possible.

Umm.. yeah.

HOY !