Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Short Trip Out Of Town

It was a hot Friday, November 1st, and I was antsy.  I determined I needed a spin on the bike.   I decided to take a brief trip to Parrish which is across the Skyway and east a few miles.  (I also wondered if I could put 4 "I's" in two sentences.  Ordinarily I would change that out but it is a bit of a power-trip to "me", so I'll leave it alone.)  There was a road that I remembered over there that the old boys and their Goldwings and I would take on one of our Sunday trips as a group.  (See how good I am: 10 I's in 6 sentences.)

This was the canopied road outside Parrish I remembered.  

Eerily beautiful on either side of the road.  

Kind of a strange looking backyard.  Some sort of lily and palm bushes.

Lillies?  Canna's?  Don't know but pretty.  

This is kind of a strange sign on a couple levels.  Not the least of which is the mangled spelling.  And goat rustling?  I've heard of Amber and Silver Alerts.  Must we add Billy Alert to the list?

Parrish is an interesting little town.  Around it you see these large farms and small shacks with signs that say "Labor Camp".  Large migrant population and several Mexican/Texan establishments there, too.  This was right next to the La Placita which I took for a convenience store.   

Texan style night club with a Mexican flavor.

Also at various farms there were many old buses that were parked with people milling around.  Must be harvesting something down here, now.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Tampa Bay Automobile Museum - Part 1

On Sunday, November 3, I finally made it to the Tampa Bay Automobile Museum, spurred by a pamphlet that I had picked up somewhere a couple years ago.  I never went but decided it was time.  I wish I would have gone sooner.  For an old car enthusiast (read "nut"), this was a truly exciting place and was much better than watching football.   Just up the road a ways on Rt. 34 and then turning into the Gateway Centre, nestled in some industrial buildings rests the nicely designed site.   When I walked in (there were only 3 or 4 in there at the time), I was met by John who took my $6 and gave a brief explanation of the cars.  This is what he said:  All of the cars are owned by a private family (Cerf) headed up by the guy who invented shrink-wrap.  He is from France so most of the cars are European.  All of the cars are fully licensed, have their keys in them, and are driven by family members, or taken to car shows, or just around the block to keep them in great working order.  Some of the cars are the only ones left.  Now if that doesn't get you revved up,  call your hospital and order an EKG.

I took 232 pictures and doing one or two installments on the blog would be overkill.  Therefore I'll do as many as necessary but only focusing on 3 or 4 cars at a time.  That way you won't get overwhelmed.  

John, by the way, was able to walk around a bit and point certain things out of interest with these cars and even gave me his email address in case I had questions when I got back home.  Nice guy.  

And now, let's start the tour.  


This was the first car in the door so I didn't do it justice picture-wise.  I looked around and saw all they had and kind of flipped out; trying to rush and get to all of them.  As it was once I slowed down I was still in a sweat and lather.  It took me two hours to get through it and still, now that I look back, could have taken another hour to check out all the little things I probably missed.  I had used the brochure pictures for introducing the cars because they give great outside full-on perspective, something not able to do inside.

This  1948 Salmson was only one of 338 built that year and was basically the end of the line.  Restrictive French taxes on large engines and a dull economy doomed the Salmson nameplate and they declared bankruptcy in 1953. 



There were only 103 of these babies made between the years 1934-1939.  It has an obvious art-deco styling that we'll see later on probably the prettiest car in the collection, the Panhead Dynamic.  These Darl'mat's won several races in Europe and gained quite a reputation, but these were made by a Peugeot dealer and after the war he concentrated on his original business and the Darl'mat ceased production.


1952 DELEHAYE 235

The Delahaye name in automobile lore goes back to 1894, but this, the 235 model would be the last.  I really liked this car, for its styling, neat interior and history.  This was only one of 85 Delahaye's manufactured by the famous Chapron coach building company.  As you can see it has a subtle two-tone paint job.  Notice the long spindle coming out of the right side of the dash?  Guess what that is?  Answer is below, and you'll be wrong whatever you surmised.  Notice also in all of he cars, the keys are in the ignition and they are run periodically, sometimes taken out and run around the block.  These are no namby-pamby trailer queens - they are operating and running cars.  I think that's so neat.  By the way, I always liked the banjo style steering wheel design.


1953 Talbot Lago T 15

The Talbot-Lago was another French luxury car that died after the war due to the economy, high French taxation (France taxed based on size of engines).  It couldn't find a necessary market for the times and ceased operations in the late '60's, only to have the name bought out by Simca.  

As you can already tell, I really like the European logos on the front as well as the ornate and stylish hood ornaments.  The Talbot is no exception.  Classy and beautiful.  

Another quiz.  Can you guess what that small chrome piece is that is just above the rain rail on the top of the car?  Answer below.


Answer to Delahaye question:  

It is the horn.  It can be flicked by a finger while you have your hands on the steering wheel.  

Answer to Talbot question:  

As you can see above the chrome piece this car had what we call now a moonroof.  They built a channel inside the car, just under the roof to move water from the edge of the moonroof to the rain rail.  Wow.   


Monday, November 25, 2013

Inane Inanities

1.  I am beginning my 27th month of boycotting Wal-Mart.  Except for a trip to one in Aledo sometime this summer and maybe once down here in an emergency, I have avoided Wal-Mart.  I detest them.  Long lines (one that lasted 42 minutes once) sealed the deal and I haven't missed them a bit.  In fact, I have even applied for a Target card that gets me 5% off on all my purchases.  
I was curious as to whether my not being a customer has affected them so I looked at their chart.  In the past year this is what I discovered.  On October 9th of last year the stock price was 74.14.  On October 9th of 2103 it was $73.00, a drop of $1.14.  Clearly my absence has made a dramatic effect on Wal-Mart.  Sadly, however, my egomania falls apart when looking at the stock price for two years.  It has risen $18.99 cents since October 12th of 21011.   Given that statistic it doesn't look like they have missed me at all.   But they still won't get me back.  


If you can read this sign you don't need the class.  Shouldn't it be in another language?  


I shot (photographically speaking) this right out my bedroom window.  The softness comes from taking the picture through the screen.

4.  Is this how the love of motorcycles starts?

5.  Didn't watch a single playoff baseball game.  I re-watched Breaking Bad from the beginning.  I understand I missed some good games.   Truth is, since the Met's last-week-of-season chokes in '08 and '09, and the Bernie Madoff association, I have just not been into baseball.  I could never have imagined a time when it wouldn't be enjoyable for me, but, sadly, I find fantasy baseball a better bargain all around.    

6.  Would someone please remind me that if I have ships traversing 11 time zones,  or if I have an Amazon-like company with acres of merchandise, or if I'm in a bind with the SEC I should call BDO.  

7.  Speaking of commercials is it just me but are they getting more stupid, thus adding to American dumbing-down?  Why is the word "awkward" used in more than 3 current commercials at the end?  Because it is was a semi-humorous catchword for about 12 seconds, and because they think we will find it uproariously funny. 

Commercials, dear readers, reflect Madison Avenue's image of the common American; it essentially puts a mirror back on us.  Logically speaking advertisers produce ads designed for the demographic they seek.  Take some time to dissect the commercials while nestled in front of the tube.  Then, find a better way to spend these 5 or 6 minutes.  “Advertising is the art of convincing people to spend money they don’t have for something they don’t need.” – Will Rogers

8.  Here is a segment of the best TV show ever just to keep you Breaking Bad fans mournful for its passing.  I think it surpassed The Wire for honors as Best TV show ever.  My Sundays seem so empty now.  

"El Paso" scene in Breaking Bad plus the rest of it from Bonnie Rose on Vimeo.

9.  Overheard on same day.  (Please kids, get a good education.)

a.  (At McDonald's from two employees) 
"They took down (undecipherable) from the menu."
"It was tooken down?" 

b.  From high school age Halloween trick-or-treater.
"Take a couple (referring to items in candy bowl)."
"What's a couple?"


Norah multi-tasking.

11.  Stopped for a ice cream treat at Dairy Inn on MLK Boulevard the other day.  An old man was having lunch and the tables were occupied so he asked if he could sit with me.  Chance meeting are fun, sometimes.  This guy and I struck up a conversation.  I discovered he was taking a break while his wife was at the hospital getting treatment for cancer.  He said he had been by this place hundreds of times but never stopped.  I told him he should get some ice cream since it was the best around.  I also found out he had come from Cleveland and he and his wife enjoyed traveling.  They had last been to Alaska.  When he finished we shook hands and I wished his wife well in treatment.  Two strangers, no longer strangers. A random, chance encounter.  


Miles to go before I sleep.

13.  Breakfast is my favorite meal.  There's simply not too many items I won't try.  For cheapness, OK food, and late hours ambiance, nothing beats Waffle House.  Brendan and I have kind of a 3:30/4:00 am thing going on when helping transport him from work.  

Reasons I like early morning breakfast: 

  • People are friendlier at 3:00 am.  It's like a late night club and you are a member.
  • Lack of people adds an air of mystery.
  • Nothing beats the smells of breakfast at anytime, early morning just makes it better.
  • The feeling that a whole day yawns before you; it's empowering.  
  • Sometimes you get a show (hit up a Waffle House around 3:30 am on a Sunday). 
  • And sit across from that guy below.  He won't buy but he'll protect the Hell out of you.

14.  And finally, Mike is to gym what _________ is to ________.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Flashback Friday

We lived at 492 East Grove Street before heading kitty-korner to 515 Chambers.  The years were 1983 to 1988.  Here are some weather related pictures during that time.

I'm not sure of the year but this hail storm was considered a pretty big thing in these parts.  Most roofs in town had to be re-done.  It caused a great deal of damage and we kept a few of these stone sin the freezer for awhile.  They were golf-ball sized and smaller.  This is on the front porch looking east.  That fellow on the bike must have had a rough ride.  I don't remember but I wish I offered him shelter.

This was not the first flood that we experienced here.  The house sat at the lowest point in the street next to Cedar Creek.  When it rained hard and rained a lot we suffered.  These were taken from the back porch looking east and south.

My present Nikon was not the first fancy camera I had.  My first was a Canon Rebel back in the film days.  Then, like now, I relied on the camera's smarts rather than my own.  Once in a while I got a pretty good shot.  These storm pics were pretty neat to get.  From the South on the front porch looking north.  The bolt is just about over Judge Bulkeley's house on Chambers. 

Many sources say the Tampa Bay area is the lightning capitol of the US.  It may be, but the storms are less interesting and last a shorter amount of time than good ole Midwestern ones.*  I've gotten a couple of lightning bolts down here but I must be in the wrong place because I never see them.  The ones above are nice fat juicy bolts that really let you know they were here. 

*This text was written prior to the tornado strike that hit Washington.  I'll bet they have had their fill of "good ole Midwestern ones" and naturally the loss of life and property is a tragic side to storms that I in no way want to be part of or be near.    

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Wild Kingdom - Part 2

There's Mama!  Let's finish our walk at Sawgrass.  

I do believe he is eating something.  Which is how I spotted him, he lunged and caught my eye.

Hard to count but there were maybe around 15 little gators here under the watchful eye of Mom.

Some of the wildlife is on the boardwalk.

Thanks for joining me once again for a walk at Sawgrass Park Nature Preserve, where the trail must have been designed by a giggling 12 year old kid.