Archive | September 2015

All Things are Delicately Interconnected

robert t lane memorial
I have always held the feeling that all things are delicately interconnected. That belief that certain things happen for certain reasons at certain times and among a certain group of slightly more-often-than-not less-than-certain people.
 
I have come to understand this phenomenon with somewhat more clarity as I’ve aged and (gasp!) “matured” a bit. I’ve found myself in situations or places that were simply far more relevant to me or to who I was to become than could be left to pure chance, or that very often transcended mere “coincidence”, and have grown to really appreciate those moments for all that they are. I have developed a personal philosophy that within these chance moments we get a glimpse of what the meaning of life really is… And that if you;re lucky enough and smart enough, and have some patience to examine the facts, you can figure it all out. I’m nowhere near that level of maturity, but I sure as hell can make some good use of the first part of all that.

9-11 healing field

 
Case in point: This past weekend we visited the 9-11 Healing Field Memorial at Tempe Town Lake, and I was blessed with another of those moments, via a man I never met, nor will on this Earth. I learned a bit about Robert T. Lane. There, in a field of three thousand flags representing the victims of that terrible day, you could read a bit about each of the people who lost their lives at the hands of cowards, and gain a deeper understanding of the tragedy through the “human factor.” Of the thousands of cards, one just called out to me, and I understood why immediately.

memorial flag

 
He was a car guy.
 
And his memorial card read like something I’d write. The Mom who doesn’t quite get the car thing, and the guy who just wanted to build something cool. Along that way to building a G-Body, he became someone willing to risk his life for the sake of another. Unfortunately one path happened to supersede the other in the worst of ways.
 
He was a selfless hero.
 
I thought long and hard about that. Here I was, connected with a guy I never met… We were just about the same age at the time of his death, and this laminated card giving remembrance to him provided the insight to an answer I had been seeking over many months. Oh, I’m certain that one could come up with a connection for nearly anything, but this felt a bit more direct, and was tailor made for the situation I find myself in.
 
He managed to help a fellow car guy without having even been there.
 
Bigger than any of that was having the honor of sharing the memory of a hero I had never known before that moment. Having met a fellow car guy with whom I could relate to, and finding a connection through a chance encounter in the middle of a park on a humid Summer day… And coming to understand that I simply needed to look at a situation from another point of view to understand it, and get past it with clarity. I truly hope that if his family or friends happen upon this post that they know my appreciation for their lost loved one. It’s one thing to be remembered, but quite another to have the strength of character to continue to affect another after life is stripped from that individual. Mr. Lane is a hero beyond mere measure, and I had the opportunity to experience his greatness via the random action of reading a card on a flag pole.
 
All things are delicately interconnected indeed.
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Age and Snacking Habits

If it’s true that your tastes change every ten years or so, it bears mentioning just how much I presently enjoy pizza-flavored snacks.

HOWEVER: I should note that if I were ever served a pizza that tasted like any of these snacks, I’d be one pissed-off motherfucker.

The Changing Face of Language

We live in the scariest of times… We witness the revision of the present day alongside the careful editing of history. It strikes me as both odd and funny at once that “new” words are added to the English language, or worse, EDITED TO HAVE THEIR MEANINGS CHANGED.

The latter seems to coincide neatly with some politically-correct dickhead wishing to add a “softer” word to describe something, or worse, some degenerate who expects the world to alter their fucking viewpoint regarding some personal preference of this entitlement-seeker, and by commandeering an existing word and altering its meaning, or developing some fresh jargon to more adequately appease them.

For instance, with this Bruce Jenner in a dress bullshit… He is not a “woman” in any respect, be it “trans” or any other catchy, new-age bullshit prefix. If he took a transcontinental drive in a Trans Am to the Transamerica Pyramid Center while listening to a transistor radio as a friend in the passenger seat transcribed the transmissions of the radio show (discussing transmutation of water into wine), and mis-translating the hoots and howls of the transient illegal immigrants being transported into California, the situation would no more make him a “woman” than would lighting a Pop Tart on fire make it fucking Baked Alaska.

We’ve fallen into this wormhole, wherein we are expected, nay FORCED to bow to the whims and fancy of whatever brain-damaged spoiled brat deems as his or her (or, should you attend the University of Tennessee – that alone begs for me to seek mercy on your soul in the first place, you illiterate turd – the all-inclusive non-gender pronoun “ze”… what in the fuck?!!) “right” to some “respect”, simply by altering the fucking language. We are surrounded by these hashtag-using pukes on their giant phones who are so utterly disconnected to reality, yet so “connected” to social issues that they automatically assume that the two are directly interchangeable. There is no transference in this manner. You simply cannot be so far removed from reality that you can see fit to change it, simply because you “feel” something. It simply doesn’t work that way. Unless, of course, you have allowed the public school system to raise your kids, and you’re transfixed with fear that your offspring will go on a Twitter rant about what an awful sperm donor (or recipient) you are because you don’t understand them and these “feelings.” And if I cannot discern your gender, especially if you’ve taken steps to alter it to make that so, then please explain to me just how in the Hell it becomes my fault that you feel bad or misunderstood, or how I am not “paying conscious attention to your emotional state,” you freak? All of these fringe weirdos demanding “acceptance.” Here’s a thought: JUST LIVE YOUR FUCKING LIFE, AND STOP FORCING ME TO LOOK AT YOU. If I don’t see you, the chances are greatly improved in your favor that I won’t point and laugh at you. It’s as simple as that, honestly. That’s like dressing up as The Mummy for Halloween, but creating your costume from yellow feathers and beak, and then wondering why the other kids are calling you “Big Bird.” A little logic goes a long way there, cupcake. A decision to be “different” or your “inner self” is on YOU, and not me. Should you possess some “great strength and courage” to become your inner weirdo, then at least have the fortitude to take a few jokes at your expense. THAT is the sign of strength or courage… Not crying to just be loved, or protesting to force someone to accept your individual desire. Seriously. There we go, changing the meanings again. And to be frank, I don’t give a flying fuck if you like it, or if it makes you sad. I’ve never come to your door and forced you to gaze upon the Conservative white guy who enjoys punk music and guns and cars and women and B-movies. And I certainly have never forced you to alter your language or manner of thinking to accept with blind certainty that my selection of a lifestyle is protected by any law or otherwise. Force of a belief always meets resistance. That is an irrefutable fact. Going about finding acceptance via a less aggressive manner would breed infinitely more positive results, but it’s probably far less profitable. You’ll find a similar peace and far less self-inflicted suffering once you grasp that, you entitlement-age puke.

Certain words have EARNED their definitions and use and stature in the language. They command a respect for the things they are used to represent. And respect is earned, not forced upon anyone. And while I’m certain that the lily-livered liberal, entitlement-seeking generation we have now will change all of that in the future, you can bet your ass that it won’t be changing soon in my house. Even if your son drops by and threatens to hit me with his purse.

A Visit to the Shrine of Stein

max wedge master

While the Max Wedge reached its pinnacle in 1964, when the Stage III version was released, the legacy lives on in the garage of Mr. Jerry Stein. One of the most respected of the Stock Eliminator racers, Jerry managed to not only have a career as a Physical Education teacher, but raise a family as well, all while besting the bigger-budget ‘other’ makes on the track. As a young man, I had looked up to what Jerry was achieving, and simply marveled at what ingenuity and creativity, coupled with a deep understanding of the mechanics involved could produce. In Jerry’s case, it was success after success on the strip, netting him NHRA records, and a very impressive collection of trophies and accolades.

I was honored with the opportunity to visit with Jerry as a stop on the Dart Road Trip, riding along with another of my automotive heroes, Mr. Steve Magnante! Never could I have imagined riding shotgun with a walking encyclopedia of all things Mopar, but to stop with him and visit Jerry Stein, and see, in person, not one, but two of the Teacher’s Pet cars! It made for a number of raised-pulse moments with every turn and glance around Jerry’s garage, and certainly etched that afternoon deep into my brain. Rather than clutter what was indeed a tremendously visual visit to the garage of Mr. Jerry Stein, I thought it best to approach this entry much the same way as I did:

In quiet reverence of the incredible history and collection of rare and just plain cool parts and pieces contained within. Enjoy.

max wedge 426

jerry stein
The man himself, revisiting some great memories.

lightweight max wedge car and parts
Just a peek at a small portion of Jerry’s collection of parts and pieces… not to mention two versions of the famous Teacher’s Pet.

more parts
max wedge crossram manifold
While some may offer their eye teeth for one, Jerry has some Max Wedge intakes stacked like fire wood in his garage.

timing cover 426 max wedge
lightweight max wedge hood
max wedge car
door lettering
lightweight fenders
max wedge lightweight aluminum fender

Aluminum front end pieces? Yeah, Jerry has those, as well. Consider what seeing these did to my inner 14 year-old: I had only read about these as a car-obsessed kid… and there I was on a sunny NJ day, staring down a pair of aluminum fenders, resting atop a Max Wedge car, in Jerry Stein’s garage. With Steve Magnante. Mind blown.

Consider just how cool this is… Aluminum pieces used for weight savings back then would have been considered exotic. My Challenger has an aluminum hood, and the weight-saving materials on the Dart Rallye we drove to Jerry’s place, along with the technology on board, would have seemed far beyond exotic in the days of the Max Wedge cars. Having both the Dart and the classic racing parts and cars in one police was a study in contrasts to be certain, yet, the logical progression from drag strip to fuel-efficient thinking  and design seems quite natural. Following this visit, my mind has been working over-time on some ideas to combine the power-hungry Max Wedge days with the modern day Dart, but more on that in a future blog. At that moment I saw the aluminum fenders in question, it was as though I had peered back through time on a number of levels.

As an aside: Growing up, I was (and remain to this day) a custom car fanatic. Taking the aluminum front end story a step or two beyond the lightweight racing purpose, consider how, just a year after the Max Wedge cars dominated, the mighty Hemi was to return. I mention this simply because of the unique tie it has to my custom car appreciation: In ’65, the first Hemi cars were slated to become Max Wedge cars, much like the pair you see here. These were switched to become Hemi cars, and a few were shipped to the famous customizers, the Alexander Brothers in Detroit, to be converted to altered-wheelbase cars (having the wheels moved forward in the chassis for better weight transfer). My mechanized adventure in Jersey continued to scramble my gray matter. I was standing in the presence of history, and inching closer and closer, in terms of degrees of separation, to realizing so many of the car-crazy dreams of my youth. I was beginning to fear that the goosebumps may never go away, and that was just fine by me.

max wedge aluminum hood scoop

This selection of photos scratches the surface of our visit to Jerry Stein’s incredible collection of racing parts and history, and I truly hope that you feel as though we were there together. It bordered on overwhelming at times, attempting to mentally catalog all that was contained in that garage, as well as listen to Jerry tell some great and entertaining tales, and Steve pointing out unique parts and supplying facts and figures which brought that history to life… This was certainly a day that I’ll never forget, and hopefully you’ve seen a few things here that you’ve always wanted to see, and will never forget as well.

max wedge lightweight aluminum
NOS max wedge parts
headlamp rings max wedge
mopar valve cover stash
440 race block

Family man meets racer:

class champion stickers
more championship decals
two max wedge lightweight cars

Where’s Wally? In Jerry’s dining room. Many times over.

wally trophy
more wally trophies
car craft championship

Peering over the shoulder of a giant:

jerry stein max wedge

Bonus points if you can name this nifty little piece and what makes it so darned nifty:

damper

The past and the present in some wonderful harmony under a clear New Jersey sky:

two darts

This selection of photos scratches the surface of our visit to Jerry Stein’s incredible collection of racing parts and history, and I truly hope that you feel as though we were there together. It bordered on overwhelming at times, attempting to mentally catalog all that was contained in that garage, as well as listen to Jerry tell some great and entertaining tales, and Steve pointing out unique parts and supplying facts and figures which brought that history to life… This was certainly a day that I’ll never forget, and hopefully you’ve seen a few things here that you’ve always wanted to see, and will never forget as well.

Adventures in Self-Employed ArtistLand

I’m implementing a technique that seems common when people phone the Studio. When grocery shopping, I’m going to inform the first person I come in contact with that another store has this or that at a lower price. This may prove awkward in restaurants, Dentist offices, etc, but it would appear to be a fairly common practice, and may work in my favor (it fails regularly in the Studio, FYI).

I’m also going to start dropping names of the shopping cart attendants, meat department managers and so-on that I know around town, and sprinkling in a celebrity now and then for added punch.

I’ll leave out the names, and slightly change the subject to protect the moronic, but here’s an example:

“I totally know the Crest Brothers. I was friends with them when they invented toothpaste.”

“Um… I think you’ll find that toothpaste dates back to at least the 4th century AD in Egypt.”

“I meant the stripey kind.”

“Yeah, that was Leonard Marrafino in like 1955.”

“Uh… that’s what I meant. We called him ‘Crest’ ‘Big Crest’ was the MAN.”

“You called him two people before you were born? Was he a conjoined twin toothpaste inventor? That’s really neat, and pretty bizarre. You’d think they’d have featured his toothbrush on Mysteries at the Museum or something. ‘This double-ended tooth cleaning implement was the personal grooming tool of history’s most celebrated two-in-one inventor. What secrets could it hold, and why is one side worn slightly more than the other?’ I’d watch the shit out of that.”

*click*

Yeah, it’s a fucking adventure here every day.

Fear the Summer Crossover

fart battle
Much like Fear the Walking Dead, the concept of a Summer prequel sub-series is not necessarily a fresh concept. In fact, a little digging uncovers one created for The Love Boat in August of 1981.
 
Anthropophobic Anna (aired in Canada as Fart Battle) tells the back-story of a cruise director suffering from a pathological fear of human company, and fills in the blanks left between the cliffhanger at the end of season four and the never-again mentioned character Jose’, the lovable stowaway with the humorous speech impediment. Loosely based on the Japanese Anime’ Taijin Kyofusho: The Farting Hostess, it’s loaded with gruesome scenes of sea sickness, food poisoning and obscenity-laced public address announcements. The pilot episode, “Lei-ing Lo/Isaac’s Dark Secret/Origin of the Feces”, which opens with the cruise director strangling a guest with a flowery necklace, quickly turns to deeper subject matter including slave trafficking and a passenger who defecates on room service trays left outside of guest cabins. An interesting sub-plot involves a Plastic Surgeon who performs an emergency anoplasty on the stunt double for an “adult film” being filmed in steerage after she falls on a porcupine (speaking of animals, sharp-eyed viewers will recognize Jack Hana of the San Diego Zoo as “Kelly-6000”, the transgender robot). The Captain has to work hard to keep his knowledge (and involvement) in the clandestine filmmaking hidden from his daughter, who is aboard the ship to write her doctoral thesis on the sexual healing potential shuffleboard, with specific regard to septuagenarian television drama stars seeking to reignite a career long faded.
 
While never released on DVD, you will no doubt stumble across a bootlegged copy or two at fan festivals, often spoken about in hushed tones. ABC has worked diligently to erase all memory of the failed attempt to lure Summer viewers. If you happen to be fortunate to find a copy or two, try to grab one with the commercials intact, if not for the rarely-seen Ted Kennedy Oldsmobile commercial, then definitely for the promo spot for the quickly-cancelled network crossover event of the week, Dr. Moreau’s Fantasy Island Celebrity Challenge.

Gondola: Stick a Suppository Up Your App

gondola app

Brian’s Billion-Dollar Business Ideas #5,688,004: Whet Your APP-etite.

For the people who just need to share fucking EVERYTHING, and document each cup of coffee and meal and trek to Target and each time their dog wags its tail and they get the car washed and, well, go get the deal… Welcome to Gondola.

Sure, there are apps to track how many times you poop, and just how much, or even WHERE you’ve dropped dookie. But not one could tell you WHERE IT WENT once you pulled that lever.

Until now.

The Gondola app, via our unique suppository (developed with Garmin), can track your poo from the source to the waste treatment plant. Prefer to drop one in the woods? See if it gets disturbed for up to thirty days! Share the progress of your poop as it winds its way through miles of sewer on top social sites like Facebook, Twitter, and even Chaturbate! Tag your friends, and cheer that turd on. In-app purchases available from sponsors like Green Giant, Planters and Charmin. Ships with seven starter suppositories and sample Tweets.

Gondola: The world’s number two fecal finder.

Posting is Not Permission

Food for thought, should you be a douchebag Googling for artwork to steal and utilize on your car show poster, cruise night flyer, tattoo, shop logo or tees, Trapper Keeper, whatever:

The internet and subsequent search engines are just that… A system that is designed to seek information utilizing an algorithm by which to display said found information in a discernible manner via internet server-based software. That’s pretty much it. It helps you to LOOK for things.

What it IS NOT is a fucking catalog of FREE ARTWORK for you to pick and choose from for your own low-rent ass to use as you please. Otherwise, it would have a name like “Internet Catalog of Free Art for You to Pilfer, You Soul-less Cocksucker.” Simply because it’s online does not imply CONSENT FOR USE. We artists post work to hopefully show our skills and draw an audience… and thus business, allowing us to earn a living through our chosen media. With the digital age, posting online is a necessary evil. We don’t post it to provide some bottomless well of nice things for you to take. That’s no different than walking out of a store without paying for the chair you’re carrying, and proclaiming that you “found it” on the sales floor. And leaving the artist’s name on the artwork does not compensate for your theft, or suddenly grant you with some superpowers of kindness and elevate you to hero status. You’re a fucking thief and a low-life. I know it sounds weird, but I’d bet that not one artist has a mortgage company that accepts “But look, they used my name here!” as payment. Come to think of it, it works quite the opposite.

Thus, to my artist friends, I humbly suggest the following:

Each time we find a work of a fellow artist being used without permission, we attempt to contact the offending party and get that artist paid. Failing this, we utilize family photos of said offending party as raw material for a Photoshop-based “Porn-Off”, wherein we recreate filthy scenes of debauchery and utter inhumanity, starring their loved ones. We can then gather and vote for the best use, or most original back-story. If confronted, we stand by the claim that we “found those pics online”, and felt it only fair, as we included as much information about that person as we could at the bottom of each image we create.

Posting is not permission.

It’s No Breaking Bad, That’s for Certain…

There I am, watching The Love Boat, and it hits me: It’s not the sort of show you can just join midway through the third season. I’m completely lost at this point… The plot is all over the place.

I mean there’s a gopher loose on the ship, but then the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders show up, and then they’re all passing around this lamp with money in it… Next thing I know, there’s some horndog female Olympian who is skipping practice, but then a few episodes later on we’re back to football with this guy who may never play again, and just what in the fuck happened to Douglas Fairbanks Jr.? I mean, he was just on the boat!

…and don’t even get me started on the crossovers with other shows. Mrs. Brady, that fat guy from Eight is Enough… It’s a virtual mind-fuck trying to tie it all together from show to show. But challenge accepted.

Infographic Mastery Via Dessert

sweet potato pie

All of this “racial tension” talk, and nobody taking the time to look at the things that bring us all together and blur the lines put in place by some social constructs or other meaningless media-fueled bullshit designed to further divide. We’re all just people, really. And having never seen any of this “white privilege” stuff I keep hearing about in my own life, I figure I may not be 100% white. That in mind, I have created this sweet potato pie chart illustrating the things I enjoy from time to time that don’t quite fit the “white guy” stereotype.

sweet potato pie chart
Greater minds before me had speeches and rallies… I have a pastry. (look for a future post exploring the “Past Generations Compared to My Own: The Great Leader VS Guy Who Brings Dessert Popularity to Social Progress Importance Ratio”).

Looking back at this, I can make two key observations:
1. I should reverse the placement of “I’m Gonna Git You Sucka” with “Chicken and Waffles”
2. Green-colored sweet potato pie is far more disturbing to look at than purple-colored sweet potato pie

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