Archive for April, 2007

It Takes A Village

Monday, April 30th, 2007

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The photo above is the Boonville High parking lot circa 1964/65.

I drove by the High School last Friday and really got a shock. I guess I haven’t seen the school parking lot in session lately. I made a u-turn because I wasn’t sure I had seen what I thought I had seen; or, not seen, for that matter.

This time I drove real slowly, so I could get a good look. I almost couldn’t believe it; no Hot Rods. Not one. There must have been thirty five or forty cars in the high school lot and there was not one Hot Rod among them.

I stopped the car because I was feeling a little light headed at this development. The cars that were there, were all just standard sedans, the anonymous cattle of Detroit and Japan; no Junkers, no Art Cars, no Hot Rods. Very disturbing. What are they teaching these kids? To be good citizens? To drive safely?

I’ll tell you, if I hadn’t spun an old Hot Rod around in the mud behind my aunt’s barn about ten thousand times, when I was fifteen years old, I’d probably be dead right now. How are you going to learn what to do when you car starts sliding on a rain slicked road, if you’ve never slid before? I’ll tell you… your not. You are not going to learn, and you might just get yourself killed because of it.

The next day I had a couple of guys over to my place to talk about piping my new well up to the house. I told them about my discovery at the high school. “No damn auto shop anymore, that’s the problem”, one of them said. The other suggested that I venture on down to the High School and have a talk with them. Fearing arrest, I passed on that idea. No, it will take more than one person to rectify this problem.

It’s going to take a village.

bill

Hot Rod Lincoln

Friday, April 27th, 2007

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For some reason my aunt always bought Pink Lincolns. Search me. She had one just like this one above. She also had a 1959 which was,at the time, the largest production auto ever built .

I was allowed to borrow it for dating. It was huge but it was also very fast when it was new.

Lest we forget…

Now you’ve heard the story of the hot-rod race,
where the Ford and the Mercury was settin’ the pace.
That story is true, I’m here to say,
’cause I was a-drivin’ that Model-A.

Got a Lincoln motor and it’s really souped up,
and that Model-A body makes it look like a pup.
Got eight cylinders, ‘n uses them all,
‘n overdrive that just won’t stall.

Got a four-barrel carb and dual exhaust,
4-11 gears, it can really get lost.
Got safety tubes and I’m not scared,
the brakes are good and the tires are fair.

We left San Pedro late one night,
the moon and the stars was shining bright,
everything went fine up the Grapevine hill,
we was passin’ cars like they was standin’ still.

All of a sudden, like the flick of an eye,
a Cadillac sedan had passed us by.
The remark was made “there’s the car for me,”
but by then the taillight was all you could see.

Well the fellers ribbed me for bein’ behind,
so I thought I’d make that old Lincoln unwind.
took my foot off the gas and man alive,
I shoved it down into overdrive.

Wound it up to a hundred and ten,
twisted the speedometer cable off the end.
I had my foot keyed clear to the floor,
said “that’s all there is, there ain’t no more.”

Went around a corner and I passed a truck,
crossed my fingers, just for luck.
The fenders clickin’ a guardrail post
‘n guys beside me, white as a ghost.

I guess they’d thought I’d lost my sense,
the telephone poles looked like a picket fence.
Said “slow down, I see spots,”
the lines on the road they looked like dots.

Smoke was rollin’ outta the back,
when I started to gain on that Cadillac.
I knew I could catch him, and hoped I could pass,
But when I did, I’d be outta gas.

Went around a corner, the tires on the side,
you could feel the tension, man what a ride!
I said “hold on, I got a license to fly,”
and the Cadillac pulled over and let me by.

All of a-sudden, the rods started knockin’,
down in the dip, it started ta-rockin’.
I looked in the mirror, the red lights was blinkin’.
The cops was after my hot rod Lincoln.

They arrested me, and put me in jail,
I called my pop to go my bail.
He said “son, you’re gonna drive me to drinkin’
if you don’t stop drivin’ that hot rod Lincoln.”

HOT ROD LINCOLN by Johnny Bond
written by Charlie Ryan & W.S. Stevenson

Hidden Agenda

Thursday, April 26th, 2007

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The new workshop is just about finished and I thought this tool box would fit in nicely.

bill

Is There a There Here?

Saturday, April 21st, 2007

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There is a famous quote by Gertrude Stein about Oakland, California. The quote is, “There is no there there.” That is not the real quote, but that is the only part that is every mentioned. Stein was a famous author, art collector, and influential friend to many important artists.

Here is the actual quote, “What was the use of my having come from Oakland it was not natural to have come from there yes write about it if I like or anything if I like but not there, there is no there there.”

It has always seemed to me that she is not so much being dismissive as commenting on the fact that there is little status in saying you are from a place that is not New York, Chicago, London, Paris, or any other famous place.

Now if you write a novel called “Boonville” I guess it is ok to say you are from Boonville.

bill

Movie: The Hoax

Monday, April 9th, 2007

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This is Richard Gere playing Clifford Irving, the writer who in 1971 forged a bogus autobiography of the billionaire Howard Hughes and sold it to McGraw-Hill for several million dollars. Darkly comic, I laughed out loud many times.

As one reviewer put it, “This one, with its unrepentant miscreants who just do bad things because they feel like it and need the money, courting disaster and shame every step of the way, is a step forward for (the director) Hallstrom…”

If the story wasn’t mostly true, it wouldn’t have worked, but it does. It gives Gere the role of a life time.

Directed by Lasse Hallström, (who did “My Life As A Dog” and “What’s Eating Gilbert Grape” among others) you find yourself bursting into laughter at the preposterousness of an earnest Gere selling like nobody since Ryan O’ Neal was selling bibles, door to door, in “Paper Moon”.

A little weak in the Richard Nixon/Howard Hughes connections, it is still brilliantly constructed. Well worth the trip to Ukiah, or somewhere.

bill

Handicapped Biker

Saturday, April 7th, 2007

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I spotted this bike parked up in the gold country near Mokelumne Hill. Mokelumne is a historic gold rush town; one of those places that in 1847 had ten people in it and by 1848 had 12,000 people in it. Well, now it is about the size of Boonville with a little over 700 people in it.

It is a fun place to visit in the summer. I’ve stayed in the old Hotel Leger a few times which has a decent restaurant and a good sized swimming pool. There is a huge old stone building up the street with a bar owned by a rock’n roll star. Inside there is a big old coke machine. Except if you open the front of the machine it is actually a secret door to a room with a pool table.

This motorcycle with the handicap plate was sitting outside one of those restaurants. I waited around to see if its owner would show up so I could learn how a biker earns a plate of this type, but I couldn’t wait long enough to find out.