Tag Archives: car show

Bones and Cars

_MG_6644In the movie, Silence of the Lambs, one of the signatures of the killer was the pupae of the death’s head moth. I know nothing about moths and I really don’t have much of a desire to learn anything about moths or butterflies. I enjoy looking at them and taking their pictures, but that’s about as far as my interest in them goes.

Skulls, the skull and crossbones, pirate flags and other images of skeletons are common around Halloween or on pirate ships, but it isn’t every day that you see them painted on the hood of a car.

During the warm summer in Livermore, CA, (I mention the warm weather because I’m ready for some right now – the forecast high for Atlanta this coming Tuesday is just 28!) we attended the car show and there was a car there with numerous skulls on it. It was actually pretty neat art, so I took some pictures of them and thought I share this one with you today. Just, don’t be scared, OK?  It’s just a piece of art!

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY: in 1981, the Yorkshire Ripper was finally apprehended by British police, ending one of the largest manhunts in history. For five years, investigators had pursued every lead to stop the serial killer who terrorized Northern England, but the end came out of pure luck. Peter Sutcliffe was spotted in a stolen car with a prostitute and arrested by Sergeant Robert Ring. Sutcliffe asked to urinate behind a bush before being taken into custody. When Ring later returned to the scene, he found a hammer and knife, the Yorkshire Ripper’s weapons of choice, behind the shrubbery. Sutcliffe confessed when confronted with this evidence.

Peter Sutcliffe’s first victim was Wilma McCann, who was beaten about the head with a hammer and stabbed multiple times on October 30, 1975. Initially, he focused his attacks almost exclusively on prostitutes, killing seven young women in Northern England between February 1977 and May 1978. Many of the victims were mutilated after they were killed.

As part of the manhunt, authorities interviewed more than 250,000 people and searched thousands of homes. Sutcliffe himself was interviewed nine times but always convinced detectives he wasn’t involved. In 1979, a tape recording purportedly from the Yorkshire Ripper was sent to the police, who were sidetracked by what later turned out to be a hoax.

The public really began to panic when the Yorkshire Ripper stopped going after prostitutes and started targeting college students. When Peter Sutcliffe was finally convicted, after an unsuccessful insanity defense, he had killed 13 women, far more than his namesake, Jack the Ripper. Sutcliffe received a sentence of life in prison.

TRIVIA FOR TODAY:  When Ben Franklin was living in England, he used the breast stroke during his regular swims across the Thames River – the same stroke used by Matthew Webb in 1875 when he became the first person to swim the English Channel.

Vroom! Vroom!

My knowledge of cars is very limited.  I know where to find the engine (at least on most cars).  Given a minute or two, I can even find the spare tire (if there is one).  Some cars now don’t have spare tires of any kind – they just come with a can of “flat fixer” with compressed air and some kind of gooey junk that gets sprayed into the tire to seal any leak well enough to get a few miles until the tire can be fixed or replaced properly.  So, you see?  They’re all stacking the deck against me and trying to fool me and make me feel exceedingly ignorant.

That doesn’t mean that I can’t appreciate a good looking car, though.  I took today’s picture at the car show in Livermore, and I think that these purply-maroon thingys are part of the carburetor.  Is that right?

Hey…come on, you can’t really blame me for not knowing more about cars!  In my high school years I was too busy playing sports or trying to get dates to hang around with my dad when he was working on one of our cars.  Come on!  What would you rather do?  Try to talk a cute girl into going on a date with you or getting your hands all oily and greasy?

See, maybe I’m not quite as dumb as I look!


ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY: the best thing that ever happened on November 4 was the birth of my wife, Laurel!  What a wonderful day that was for the world!!!  And if that wasn’t enough, on this day in 1922, Howard Carter discovered the entrance to King Tut’s tomb in the Valley of the Kings in Egypt.  Then, on this date in 2007 (85 years to the day after his tomb being discovered), the boy king’s body was put back into his underground tomb in a glass case so he could rest in peace after traveling the world and being on display.

TRIVIA FOR TODAY: When female wasps return to the colony after foraging, they may initiate aggressive encounters with males and stuff them head first into empty nest cells. Cornell University researchers who observed the behavior call it “male-stuffing,” and believe it contributes to the colony’s fitness by making more food available to larvae.



Vroom! Vroom!!!!

Get in.  Sit down.  Shut up.  Buckle in.  Vroom!

From the recent Livermore car show.  Fancy cars.  Food.  Music.  Beer (for those so inclined – which I am not).

A photographer’s delight.  I hope to go again next year and take more time.

_MG_6616ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY: On this day in 2010, the last of 33 miners trapped nearly half a mile underground for more than two months at a caved-in mine in northern Chile, were rescued. The miners survived longer than anyone else trapped underground in recorded history.

The miners’ ordeal began on August 5, 2010, when the San Jose gold and copper mine, some 500 miles north of the Chilean capital city of Santiago, collapsed. The 33 men moved to an underground emergency shelter area, where they discovered just several days’ worth of food rations. As their situation grew more desperate over the next 17 days, the miners, uncertain if anyone would find them, considered suicide and cannibalism. Then, on August 22, a drill sent by rescuers broke through to the area where the miners were located, and the men sent back up a note saying, “We are fine in the refuge, the 33.”
Food, water, letters, medicine and other supplies were soon delivered to the miners via a narrow bore hole. Video cameras were also sent down, making it possible for rescuers to see the men and the hot, humid space in which they were entombed. As engineering and mining experts from around the world collaborated on the long, complex process of devising a way to bring the 33 men up to the surface, the miners maintained a system of jobs and routines in order to keep up morale.

Rescuers eventually drilled and reinforced an escape shaft wide enough to extract the men, one by one. (Employees of a Pennsylvania-based drilling-tool company played a role in drilling the rescue shaft.) On October 12, the first of the miners was raised to the surface in a narrow, 13-foot-tall capsule painted white, blue and red, the colors of the Chilean flag. The approximately 2,000-foot ascent to the surface in the capsule took around 15 minutes for each man.

The miners were greeted by a cheering crowd that included Chile’s president, Sebastian Pinera; media from around the world; and friends and relatives, many of whom had been camped at the base of the mine in the Atacama Desert for months. Millions of people around the globe watched the rescue on live TV. Less than 24 hours after the operation began, all 33 of the miners, who ranged in age from 19 to 63, had been safely rescued. Almost all the men were in good health, and each of them sported dark glasses to protect their eyes after being in a dimly lit space for so long.

TRIVIA FOR TODAY: Astronaut and moon-walker James Irwin’s NASA name tag, coated with lunar dust, sold at auction for $310,500. The cloth keepsake, a 6- by 12-inch rectangle, was cut from the insulated jacket worn by Irwin during the 1971 flight of Apollo 15. Lunar dust, which created a dark gray tint around the tag’s edges, became embedded into the tag during three separate moonwalks Irwin took. His jacket and other equipment were left on the Moon to lighten the spacecraft’s load on the return trip home, but Irwin cut out and kept his NASA tag as a memento.


…It’s on the Street….

The weather forecast tonight says that we’ve got a significant cool-down coming by mid-week.  It’s not been very hot lately anyway, but doggone it, those folks up in Alaska must not like their weather because they keep sending us their weather out of the gulf of Alaska.  But, I guess you can’t blame them.  When they see the end of summer up there they know that they’ve got some REAL weather coming their way….quite unlike those of us here in California or most of the “lower 48”!!!!

Back in 1984, Glenn Frey recorded a song for Beverly Hills Cop titled “The Heat Is On” that went like this:

“The heat is on, on the street
Inside your head, on every beat
And the beat’s so loud, deep inside
The pressure’s high, just to stay alive
‘Cause the heat is on….”

When I was in Ghana in April and May of this year, it wasn’t often that we found ourselves on a paved road, but one time it was about 5:30 in the afternoon and it had just finished a brief rain when we got back to a bit of paved road.  It was so hot that you could see steam coming up off the road!!!  Well, right now here in northern California, there’s no literal heat on the street, but when you see today’s photo, you might be tempted to change your opinion!

Today’s photo was taken at the recent Livermore car show in Livermore, CA.  The heat is on!!!!

_MG_6565ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY: in 1961, President John F. Kennedy, speaking on civil defense, advised American families to build bomb shelters to protect them from atomic fallout in the event of a nuclear exchange with the Soviet Union. Kennedy also assured the public that the U.S. civil defense program would soon begin providing such protection for every American. Only one year later, true to Kennedy’s fears, the world hovered on the brink of full-scale nuclear war when the Cuban Missile Crisis erupted over the USSR’s placement of nuclear missiles in Cuba. During the tense 13-day crisis, some Americans prepared for nuclear war by buying up canned goods and completing last-minute work on their backyard bomb shelters.  I remember those times, even though I was just a kid.  It was a very frightening time to be alive, wondering if you would see another sunrise.  (I worried a lot as a kid!)

TRIVIA FOR TODAY: The primary purpose of growing rice in flooded paddies is to drown the weeds surrounding the young seedlings — rice can, in fact, be grown in drained areas.


Angel Wings

Have you ever made a snow angel?  I’ve done it numerous times, the most recent being after we moved to Maine in January of 2003.  I’d recently blown out my shoulder playing basketball and had surgery to re-attach some ligaments and muscles and to screw some bones back in place.  (Did I mention that I can/could be fairly competitive at sports when I was younger?!)  When we got to Maine, there was, of course, snow all over the ground and I went outside the house and made a snow angel while my wife took pictures from inside where it was warm.  I wasn’t supposed to  move my shoulder like that yet, but I wanted to send a picture back to the staff that used to work for me so they could see we’d arrived in our destination in good spirits.

I’ve not made a snow angel since.  It is probably about time to do that again, don’t you think?

Today’s photo isn’t of a snow angel, but the item that is front and center (gold) has silvery (wings) that could be those of an angel I suppose.  It is a picture taken at the recent Cloverdale Car Show of part of an engine in a hot rod that was on display.

What does it have to do with angel wings?  Not much…other than this: if it was my car with that kind of engine in it and one of my kids were driving it, I’d be praying for guardian angels to watch over them when they were out driving!!!!  Regardless, I liked the various shades of blues, gold and silver.  It was a beautiful vehicle!

A hot-rod engine at the Cloverdale Car Show, 2011

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY: in 1846, the planet Neptune was first observed by German astronomer Johan Gottfried Galle, in spite of the fact that Neptune is 30 times farther away from the sun than we are here on planet earth.  Good eye, Johan!

TRIVIA FOR TODAY: Earl Lloyd was the first black to play in the NBA, debuting on October 31, 1950.  He never got nearly as much press as did Jackie Robinson.


I’m not a big car fan.  I’m a photography, golf, Dodgers, Dolphins, Rams fan.  But I do appreciate looking at a beautifully maintained and painted vehicle.

Every year, Cloverdale hosts a car show on the main street.  It was this past Saturday and I took my camera down and shot approximately 125 pictures of various cars, trucks, motorcycles and other vehicles.  I’m in a rush today, so I’m just going to share this picture today without much commentary, but I liked this because of the colors and engine.  I would have liked to hear it running in its full-throated growl!!!!

Hot rod at the Cloverdale car show, 9/10/11

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY: in 1940, four teenagers near Lascaux, France, followed their dog down into a cave and discovered the 17,000 year old Lascaux cave paintings.

TRIVIA FOR TODAY: before passing a law in New York City in 1978 that made it mandatory to clean up after one’s dog, dogs used to deposit 40 million pounds of dog excrement on the streets every single year.  Now, I’ll bet that’s more than you really wanted to know, right?

Big Wheels Keep On Turnin’

Those words in the title were, of course, immortalized by Tina Turner in “Proud Mary.”  Mitch Ryder and the Detroit Wheels did a song about wheels, and even John Denver managed to sneak in a reference to wheels in his song, “Back Home Again”, claiming that the sound of the wheels on the 4-lane made it colder. There’s even a kids song about how the wheels on the bus go “round and round.”

We make a point nowadays to notice who invents things.  Have you ever wondered who the first human was who invented the wheel?  Could there have been an invention that was more significant to human development?  I suppose it could be argued one way or another, but just think about it.  The wheel revolutionized so many things.

Of course the first wheels were probably just a slice out of a tree, or perhaps a slab of rock that was ground down into a wheel shape, but my bet would be on the slice of tree trunk because it would be much easier to have made it than making one out of rock!  It was probably only after tree rings had been in use for a while that someone thought to themselves, “You know, these things wear out pretty fast.  I wonder if I could make on out of rock?”  And, voila!, as they say, the rest is history.

Today there was a car show in Cloverdale.  The main street through town was lined with cars, motorcycles, trucks…and people.  I had been looking forward to the car show, not because I’m a big fan of cars, but because you can get some really interesting and colorful pictures of cars at car shows.  Today I treat you to a photo of a wheel, forged from aluminum, I’d guess.  I know it is pretty brightly exposed, but I liked the effect.  So, tada!  The wheel – so shiny and bright that there are reflections of other cars and things visible!!!!

Fancy car wheel...

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY: in 1963, 20 black students entered schools in Tuskegee, Mobile and Birmingham, Alabama, after a standoff with governor George Wallace.

TRIVIA FOR TODAY: St. Bernard of  Menthon is the patron saint of mountain climbers.  He built way stations for tired travelers in the Alps, and it is for this man that the great dog breed of St. Bernard’s is named.