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Tags » ‘country’

the Navy jets that kids got to play on, back when kids were allowed to risk a scratch or scrape out side the home, in the park.

March 16th, 2018 by admin

From 1959 to 1993, Larsen Park hosted three different retired Navy jets, each donated to serve as imaginative play structures for the children of the Parkside District. The first was a Grumman F-9 Cougar reconnaissance plane from Squadron VC-61, driven up from Moffett Field in Mountain View with the cooperation of the California Highway Patrol and all the police department jurisdictions in between. The second jet, a Navy F-J Fury, replaced the Grumman in 1967. Both jets had ladders added to help kids climb into the cockpits. The third, and perhaps best-remembered jet, as it occupied the park for eighteen years from 1975 to 1993, was an F-8 Crusader.

But even though old-timers wish a real Navy plane could have been obtained, modern safety regulations and the prohibitive expense in taking on and remediating a real jet just made it impossible, even if the government had aircraft to give.

Also, San Francisco isn’t the Navy town it once was—many people object strongly to having an instrument of war in a public playground.

So now, something has been made to look the part, hopefully not just made of Nerf material, and the kids don’t really seem to mind the lack of authentic airtime.

But a Helicopter with blades? They’d go bonkers for a CH53 in the park, you just know it. Too bad the military wasted all those bombers and choppers in the graveyard in Arizona, instead of offereing them to public parks across the country for kids, and adults, to play in and on.

the Navy jets that kids got to play on, back when kids were allowed to risk a scratch or scrape out side the home, in the park.

unusual looking R/T, but it appears to be photo Modelo Gatuna, circa. 1970 by Tito Caula, one of the most important photojournalists in Venezuela

February 19th, 2018 by admin

odd hub caps, no trunk stripe, and a flat hood? Plus the front license plate…. weird.

photographer Tito Caula (Argentina, 1926-1978), who was part of the Urban Photography Foundation of Venezuela, whose photographs were of a landscape that was of a Venezuela that built itself after the dictatorship. They become moving witnesses of a society, of its time and its development

Caula settled in Caracas as an advertising photographer and documentary filmmaker from 1960, when he had to emigrate due to the difficult political and social situation in Argentina at the time.

After moving to Venezuela he bought a Graflex camera, worked up a photography laboratory in his house, became friends with Leo Matiz, managed his studio in Caracas, collaborated as a photojournalist in the magazine Élite, and won an award from United Press International for his photo of the Betancourt-Frondizi hug in 1961.

He also took pictures of the differences in the country. He went into the student protests, in the life inside the hospitals, et cetera. Its thematic axis was Caracas and it is interesting that, by then, Tito Caula managed to capture that cosmopolitan, plural, diverse and tolerant city. A Caracas that probably is no longer there but from which contemporary photographers have registered thanks to Caula. Recall that the oil boom of the seventies changed Venezuela.

Tito Caula combines technical skill and perceptive acuity, capturing significant and sometimes ironic aspects of the characters, events and places to which they gave their attention ” Photo Ernesto Ernesto Sábato, 1970

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unusual looking R/T, but it appears to be photo Modelo Gatuna, circa. 1970 by Tito Caula, one of the most important photojournalists in Venezuela

financing its municipal services from the pockets of unwary travelers…. aka the Selma Texas speedtrap of the early 70s

January 17th, 2018 by admin

Selma’s speed trap collected an esti­mated $168,000 a year, or more than $800 for every man, woman, and child who lived there. That’s 4 times more than even the state of Texas, as all the state taxes added up produced only $215 per Texan.

Despite their growing notoriety, Selma’s officials showed no signs of halting their lucrative operation. They even concealed the full extent of their activity by violating several Texas statutes, and, as Texas Monthly Magazine found, appearing prepared to wage a protracted legal battle to shield their municipal records from public scrutiny.

Located 16 miles outside San Antonio, along busy Interstate High­way 35, between Austin and San Antonio, next to Randolph AFB, Selma was perfectly situated for a speed trap, as the highway 1603 loop crosses the I 35 right on the town’s south city limit

Northbound travelers approach it over the crest of a long hill, at the bottom of which, under the 1603 highway bridge, cops had a speed trap

Created in 1964 under a wild west law that allowed for a fly by night hanging judge roadside courtroom type of town, Selma was carefully created to sidestep laws requiring oversight by the county and the state capital. Yes, seriously. It was founded back in 1847 as a stagecoach stop, and they picked up some legal loophole info along the century since

It was incorporated as a “general law” town under a statutory provision that permits as few as twenty people to map out some proposed town boundaries, allege that at least 200 people reside within them and petition county au­thorities to call an election. If the re­sulting vote favors incorporation, the new community is free to elect a mayor and aldermen, establish municipal ser­vices including a police department, and, if it wishes, set up a roadside courtroom to dispense its own brand of justice.

29 people signed the original petition to create Selma in 1964, 1/4 of them were all related, and the mayor was one of them.

The proposed city limits never extended more than a thou­sand feet from the highway, were 2 miles long, and may not have had many people to begin with, but no proof was required when getting incorporated, and 4 months later, Selma claimed to have over 600, which happened to be the minimum needed to qualify for title 28. A couple years later the census found only 207 people in city limits

The cops issued 500 tickets a month, they were for $35 for 65 in a 55. The common complaint about the Selma cops to the state attorney general was that the police add on an extra ten miles to the alleged speed, because the Selma prosecutor woudn’t prosecute drivers for going less than ten miles over the limit.

Failing to send a check for the speeding ticket, and then failing to appear in court, resulted in a 100 or 200 dollar “failure to appear” fine added on. Out of staters didn’t get the optional court visit to appeal, they could pay up, or post a bond. The court was only open one day a month, on a Tuesday, 1 pm. If they weren’t at the 1pm roll call, they forfeited the fine, if they were there, they’d have to wait outside all day, in Texas heat, or give up and pay at the handy window outside the court next to the line. If they did wait, they normally lost their case, and paid up anyway.

Then they ticketed the governor’s wife.

The result was House Bill 550 of the 1973 Legislature, which prohibited towns of less than 5000 population from using radar on Inter­state highways.

No one testified against it except a Selma police­man who unearthed a 1935 decision of the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals holding unconstitutional a legislative re­quirement that policemen in cities over 10,000 population wear uniforms and badges when making arrests. Selma interpreted this decision to mean that it was “beyond the authority of the legislature” to regulate small-town speed traps

Of course a list of other Texas towns includes Webster (pop. 3250), between Houston and Galveston in the NASA area. “A notorious one oyer the years,” according to a spokesman for the Ameri­can Automobile Association. There are frequent complaints that Webster’s speeding arrests tend to escalate into DWI charges. The town is currently under investigation by the U.S. Depart­ment of Justice for alleged harassment of an astronaut’s wife.

Think anything changed or improved in 40 years? Nope. People and cops still suck.
So does Selma, rapidly growing from 788 in the 2000 census to 10000 residents now, it’s moved it’s enforcement a little…

Not only is speed monitored along the access road (45 mph – do not increase speed until you are actually *ON* IH35!), but they will cite you for failing to yield (on the southbound access road), failure to come to complete stop (at intersection near Gillman Honda), crossing the double white line (northbound access road), etc. I was told by my policeman friend in NB that Selma PD are very heavy handed when it comes to vehicle searches

Similarly, Lumberton Texas has 75% of it’s police officers on patrol to issue tickets on highways 69 and 96

Lumberton police issued 22 tickets per day last year, third-most in the region behind Beaumont and Port Arthur.

and Selma’s speed trap is featured in the following

I’m just out of Austin bound for San Antone
With the radio blastin’ and the bird dog on

Kazimierz Piechowski, a member of the Polish Boy Scouts, and one of the first prisoners at Auschwitz went on to lead a daring escape, helping to steal the commandant’s car by impersonating an irate SS officer

December 18th, 2017 by admin

Mr. Piechowski was 19 when German forces swept through Poland and began killing priests, intellectuals and members of the country’s Scouting organization in September 1939, fearing — correctly — that the Scouts would help form the seeds of the country’s underground resistance.

He soon struck out on a circuitous route for France, aiming to join the displaced Polish army. But he was captured near the Hungarian border, imprisoned and sent on June 20, 1940, to Auschwitz, which had been opened a month earlier by the SS as a concentration camp for criminals and political prisoners.

Mr. Piechowski enacted his own unlikely escape plan in 1942, two years to the day after he arrived at Auschwitz. He had seen plenty of escapes halted by the electrified barbed wire and watchtowers surrounding the camp, and knew that 10 people were forced to starve in reprisal for each person who escaped.

But the calculus changed abruptly when a friend of Mr. Piechowski’s, Eugeniusz Bendera, learned that he was scheduled to be killed and suggested they flee the camp in an SS car. Bendera, a mechanic, had access to the vehicle. Mr. Piechowski, who was working in the warehouse, knew where to find a stash of uniforms and weapons that would allow them to disguise themselves as SS officers.

In an effort to spare his cellmates from retribution, Mr. Piechowski devised a plan in which he, Bendera and two others — Stanislaw Gustaw Jaster, a former Scout, and Jozef Lempart, a priest — would leave the main camp area by pretending to be part of a four-person work unit. If the entire unit disappeared, Mr. Piechowski figured, their block supervisor would likely be held wholly responsible.

On a quiet Saturday morning, they pushed a garbage cart through the first camp gate, under a sign reading “Arbeit Macht Frei” (”Work Sets You Free”). Three of the men scurried through a coal hatch inside the warehouse, and Mr. Piechowski led them to a room where they nabbed SS uniforms, four machine guns and eight grenades, according to historian Laurence Rees’s 2005 book “Auschwitz: A New History.”

The mechanic had picked the Steyr 220 – the fastest car in Auschwitz, there for the sole use of the commandant. “It had to be fast, because he had to be able to get to Berlin in a few hours. We took it because if we were chased we had to be able to get away.”

They jumped into the Steyr 220 and drove toward the camp’s main gate, greeting SS officers with a “Heil Hitler!” along the way, Mr. Piechowski later said. They had good luck pushing their garbage cart and taking the uniforms out of the warehouse, where SS officers failed to identify them, but at the camp’s outermost gate they were met with a closed barrier.

“Wake up, you buggers!” Mr. Piechowski yelled in German to the men manning the gate, he later told the Guardian. “Open up or I’ll open you up!”

The gate opened, and the escapees drove to freedom. The Nazis were incensed, says Piechowski. “When the commandant heard in Berlin that four prisoners had escaped he asked: ‘How the bloody hell could they escape in my own car, in our own uniforms, and with our ammunition?’ They could not believe that people they did not think had any intelligence took them [for a ride].”

Keeping away from the main roads to evade capture, they drove on forest roads for two hours, heading for the town of Wadowice. There they abandoned the Steyr and continued on foot, sleeping in the forest and taking turns to keep watch.

In revenge, Jaster’s parents were arrested and died in Auschwitz, and there were serious consequences for the remaining prisoners. “A month after we escaped, an order went out that every person must be tattooed [with their prison number]. The Nazis knew that an escapee’s hair would grow back, and that the partisans would make new documents for them. But when people saw the number, they would know that they were from Auschwitz. No other camp used numbering – it was our escape that led to it.”

When the communists consolidated power in Poland after the war, Mr. Piechowski was sentenced to 10 years in prison as an enemy of the state, according to the London-based Mail on Sunday newspaper. He was released after seven years. He later worked as an engineer in the Gdansk shipyard.

This short documentary follows the songwriter Katy Carr’s visit to Poland in August 2009 to meet Kazik, now 90, and have a direct window into his memory and experience of the last 80 metres of his escape, where he and the other prisoners have driven to the outside checkpoint of Auschwitz, and all their lives depend upon five seconds of daring and inspiration.

Kazik and the Kommander’s Car from Kazik and the Kommander’s Car on Vimeo.

Thanks Steve!

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Kazimierz Piechowski, a member of the Polish Boy Scouts, and one of the first prisoners at Auschwitz went on to lead a daring escape, helping to steal the commandant’s car by impersonating an irate SS officer

If you have to ask "what the hell is that" then I’m happy to say, it’s a Argentinian Torino, and ain’t it cool that we still have cars to appreciate that we’ve never seen or heard of before? Not just another Chevy!

December 13th, 2017 by admin

The Torino is an Argentinian car that was born in 1966, as a licensed redesign of the AMC Rambler by Pininfarina, produced originally by IKA ( Argentinian Kaiser industries), a partner with the Renault company that would eventually buy them out.

Mario Suárez and his son Francisco are responsible for restoring the original #1 and #2 Torinos from the three built to challenge the Europeans on their home turf in one of the most grueling races in the world. 84 hours of the 1969 Nurburgring endurance racing Marathon de la Route.

the #3 Torino resides in the Fangio museum

Fangio oversaw the IKA-Renault Torino effort at the Nürburgring and his son was among the team of of Argentinian drivers assigned to the three cars.

Fangio traveled with the team to the ‘Ring to guide the cars around both the Nord and Südschleife, and though the team would complete the most laps with their #3 car (the other two, #1 and #2, retired early), an assortment of time penalties would see the Torino finish in fourth place officially.

At the end of 84 hours, only one of the three Torinos finished, and though it completed the most distance, it was penalized because of the high decibels of the exhaust, and so a Lancia Fulvia HF finished as the winner officially.

That race represented a remarkable milestone in the Argentinian motoring history, and it proved the country could build cars that could compete with the likes of Porsche, Lancia, Ford, etc.

the #2 car, with the yellow nose, has an astonishing rebuild story:

Mario or his son decided to search in old magazines in order to find information about what really happened. In one from 1971 a driver called Juan Carlos Palma was said to have bought a Torino to compete in the TC series, and that the vehicle was the #2 car ran at the Nürburgring.

When searching for Palma they figured they could find his phone number by his mechanic that was also mentioned in the article. So, the number was got from him and then they called Palma.

With the license plate number that Palma had they went to the Registry to look for the report and

a mangled pile of bicycles in China, from the south-eastern city of Xiamen, with thousands of bikes from each of the top three bike sharing companies, Mobike, Ofo and the now-defunct Bluegogo.

December 6th, 2017 by admin

The large number of cycles on Chinese streets have led to scenes of clogged sidewalks no longer fit for pedestrians and piles of mangled bikes that have been illegally parked.

But the scene in Xiamen appears to be one of the largest amalgamations of discarded bicycles, with trucks unloading bikes from around the city.

China’s third largest bike sharing company, Bluegogo, has reportedly run into financial trouble, amid a wave of busts and consolidations in an industry that took the country by storm this year.

Bluegogo burned through 600m yuan (£68m) in investor funding in the year since it was founded by its youthful CEO Li Gang, deploying 700,000 bikes across cities in China.

At least three other bike sharing companies have also gone bust in recent months, although Bluegogo is by far the largest.

Read more here: 
a mangled pile of bicycles in China, from the south-eastern city of Xiamen, with thousands of bikes from each of the top three bike sharing companies, Mobike, Ofo and the now-defunct Bluegogo.

French illustrator Christian Lacroix better known as Christian Lax

October 25th, 2017 by admin

His father encouraged him from early childhood to copy the images of Tintin and got him his first little illustrating jobs: he had always dreamed of a successful career in comic strips for his son.

He made his comics debut in the magazine l’Automobile in 1975. His first album, ‘Ennui Mortel’, was published in 1982.

In 2005 Christian published under his artist name LAX ‘L’Aigle Sans Orteils’. A wonderful historical story in which he combines his love for the French countryside, its people and his personal passion for cycling and in particular the Tour of France. In 2009 he published the sequel, named ‘Pain d’alouette-Premier époque’.

He teaches comic strips at the École d’Art Graphique Emile-Cohl in Lyon and lives in the country with his family, in an old farmhouse he has done up and which serves as a base camp when he goes cycling.

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French illustrator Christian Lacroix better known as Christian Lax

Old horse wagon exposed after Detroit lake had a record low water level in Oregon in 2015 and ‘16

September 18th, 2017 by admin

Back in 1953, the 200 residents of the tiny town of Old Detroit deserted their homes after Congress approved a nearby dam, which, when finished, would flood the area to create the reservoir now known as the Detroit Lake.

But water levels at Detroit Lake were 45 feet lower than normal in 2015, approximately 143 feet below capacity, so low that people had to pull their boats out of the local marina.

In 2015, a historic drought brought the reservoir to its lowest summertime level in history, 1,511 feet in early summer and as low as 1,425 feet by autumn.

But Marion County Deputy Dave Zahn spotted old fashion wagon wheels that had been buried in the silt and mud.

“In late October when the lake was at its lowest I took the opportunity to walk the river line to see what’s out there, more of a treasure hunt,” Zahn says.

That is when he spotted the classic timepiece.

“We noticed it was a wagon, a horse drawn wagon. It had a plate on it out of Ohio.”

“That wagon was built for the country that you’re in,” said David Sneed, owner of the Wheels that Won the West collection. “With those extra spokes, the metal encased hubs, and the ‘Oregon brake,’ it’s built to engage rough terrain.”

The wagon was made by the Milburn Wagon Company in Toledo, Ohio, sometime around the turn of the last century. Milburn was one of the nation’s biggest manufacturers: in 1882, it was producing 600 wagons per week, the majority farm wagons, Sneed said.

This one could’ve been built as late as the early 1900s, but certainly not before the 1890s, he said. Becuase the hubs on the 16-spoke wheels – themselves much ballyhooed by Milburn for “having 12 more spokes than any on the market” – were patented by James Sarven in 1857 but not used on Milburn wagons until the 1890s, Sneed said

The surprisingly well-preserved wagon was seen by a handful of people in October, lying in the exposed mud of the old townsite when the lake drained to its lowest level in 46 years. Dave Zahn, a marine deputy for Marion County, photographed it right before rainstorms came and raised the reservoir’s level.

In a matter of days, the wagon was gone again, buried under many feet of water. Its appearance had been so brief that U.S. Forest Service archaeologist Cara Kelly barely had time to document its existence and no time to plan for preserving or removing it.

“Removing it would be very costly, and it would be almost impossible without ruining it,” Kelly said. “It was challenging just trying to get to it because it’s so buried. The mud around it was like soup; I couldn’t get to within 20 feet of it.”

While Zahn first spotted the wagon on October 29, he and Kelly decided to keep its location a secret, so as not to attract potential looters and vandals. According to a metal plate attached to the wagon as seen in some of Zahn’s photographs, the wagon was made in 1875 by the Milburn Wagon Company of Toledo, Ohio, which was one of the country’s largest manufacturers of wagons at the time. As Brooks reports, the lake bottom’s low oxygen levels almost perfectly preserved the wagon – ironically, its brief stint on land probably damaged it more than all the decades it spent underwater.

More here: 
Old horse wagon exposed after Detroit lake had a record low water level in Oregon in 2015 and ‘16

Country roads, take me home

September 3rd, 2017 by admin

Almost heaven, West Virginia
Blue Ridge Mountains
Shenandoah River

Life is old there
Older than the trees
Younger than the mountains
Blowin’ like the breeze

Country roads, take me home
To the place I belong
West Virginia, mountain momma
Take me home, country roads

All my memories gathered ’round her
Miner’s lady, stranger to blue water

Dark and dusty, painted on the sky
Misty taste of moonshine
Teardrops in my eye


I hear her voice
In the mornin’ hour she calls me
The radio reminds me of my home far away

And drivin’ down the road I get a feelin’
That I should have been home
yesterday, yesterday

[Chorus:Repeat x2]
Take me home, now country roads

the Prosperity Special

May 17th, 2017 by admin

the Prosperity Special was a train made up entirely 24 Baldwin locomotives, part of an order of 50, left on May 27, 1922. They “headed west out of the Baldwin Locomotive Plant to East St. Louis, took the Cotton Belt Line across Texas and was switched to SP tracks in El Paso.

Thousands of spectators lined the tracks to see an almost half mile long train made up entirely of new locomotives cross the country bound for California. A large sign was erected on the lead locomotive that read, ‘The Prosperity Special’.

The special arrived at Taylor Yard in Los Angeles in early June. Half of the locomotives would stay here and run heavy freights over Beaumont Hill and Tehachapi Pass. The rest of the locos went to Sacramento for duty over the Sierra Nevadas, the train stopped to take on water before the descent into Bakersfield and the trip up the valley to their new home in Sacramento.

A couple of years ago I posted this pic of the completed 50 at Eddystone, Pennsylvania: