Tag Archives: lifestyle

The love affair with automobiles

Hi readers.  Thanks for coming by for a read.

Experts agree that almost everyone born in the US between 1950 and 1960 was conceived in the back seat of a Ford, General Motors, or Chrysler automobile.  The overwhelming majority of the comparative few exceptions were mainly Studebakers because of the convenience of the suicide-style back doors opening forward to allow more horizontal legroom.   The highest percentages go to the 1949 Ford Club Coupe, the 1954 Chevrolet Sedan, and the 1956 Ford Crown Victoria.

But I’ve digressed.  My point is, almost nobody was conceived in a pickup or passenger car with a floor shift or bucket seats.  And nobody, not one pregnancy resulted from sexual congress in a hotrod.  Which is the reason parents allowed youngsters of the day to build and drive them.  A young man with a hotrod had little time or need to devote himself to the pursuit of female company.

Naturally the music industry approved this means of birth control and tried to the best of its ability to stimulate interest in and sing the virtues of coffins on wheels, speed, running from the law and other non-sexual avenues of endeavor for young men.

Red Foley’s, ‘Hotrod Race‘ was the first of these:

After a tasteful passage of time this was answered by Charlie Ryan’s, ‘Hotrod Lincoln‘, claiming to be the person driving the Model A who passed Foley and the car he’d been racing against in ‘Hotrod Race’.

George Hamilton IV, in “If You Don’t Know” attempted to combine an interest in girls and hot cars by driving a ’54 souped up Ford Deluxe with high compression heads and overdrive, which succeeded for speed but had mixed results with females.

The Beach Boys were a bit late off the starting line with “Little Deuce Coupe” in 1964 because the sexual revolution had come along allowing babies to be conceived elsewhere than the back seats of automobiles.  However, I mention it here to demonstrate the lingering nature of fads, once begun.  Long after hotrods were no longer needed to protect the virtue of young men in the US, the sound of a burned out muffler still caused a faster heartbeat.

Robert Mitchum followed the formula in Ballad of Thunder Road, combining fast cars and running from the cops with filling up the spare space in the automobile with mountain whiskey instead of females.  The song led to many a high-speed chase around the cities of America providing thrills to both police, and teenagers.  And frequently ambulance and hearse drivers.

When the Nash Rambler hit the market nobody mistook it for a cool aphrodisiac setting for launching future generations.  The car was considered ugly, though it appealed so a certain type.  But since it wasn’t for the one thing, it must be for the other.  At least in the minds of the music industry:

Although I doubt many children begin their long journey toward birth in modern automobiles now, there are a lot of similarities to the hotrod part of the 1950s love affair.  People love being seen in Hum Vees and dooley trucks.  Everyone wants a SUV.  And a person still sees the occasional racy sports car.

Mostly today the guys don’t roll up their pants cuffs, though, and some do find themselves attracted to women.

Old Jules

The man who couldn’t cry

Hi readers.  Thanks for coming by for a read.

Loudon Wainwright wrote and performed The Man Who Couldn’t Cry without making much of a splash.  Fairly typical of Loudon Wainwright, despite the fact he’s always had my vote for president or anything else he might want to do.

However, Johnny Cash is another man who has always had my vote and I’ll confess he does about as fine a job on the song as Wainwright.  As far as I know those two are the only people who’ve ever performed it.

Think about it.  We live in this amazing time.  The oldest, most musically astute of us probably couldn’t name more than a couple of 19th Century singers.  We know they sang and people loved their singing, Lola Montez, Lillian Langtry.  But we’ve never heard them do it.

For we 21st Century folks, though, Al Jolson’s still alive out there singing Mammy, Waiting on the Robert E Lee and Anniversary song.  In two part harmony with Lee Marvin singing I Was Born Under a Wandrin Star in Paint Your Wagon.  The Kingston Trio are their young selves being the Cumberland Three singing Civil War Songs, or as themselves rendering another South Coast and Seasons in the Sun.

It isn’t just the listening, either.  Incredibly, we can wander around on YouTube and watch young Lonnie Donnegan sing Jack of Diamonds and Chuck Berry perform Se La Vie Say the Old Folks.

A briefly popular song from 1961-62 used to run through my head, Dear One, by the Ravens.  I asked lots of people through the years if anyone remembered it with never a soul answering they did.  But there it is on YouTube.  Horrid song.  I can’t believe I loved it back when then was then.  But there you are.

But I’ve digressed.  I was listening to MP3 shuffling through songs, passing the time, and heard Johnny Cash singing The Man Who Couldn’t Cry.  I never recalled hearing it before.  Laughed and snorted, looked it up on YouTube to watch him sing it.  When Jeanne got home between jobs I played it for her to provide a laugh.

“Who’s that singing it?  That’s a Loudon Wainwright song!”

“Eh?  No, that’s Johnny Cash.”

“I know it’s a Loudon Wainwright song.  Look it up!”

Okay, spang robbed my macho.  Hell, until we met Jeanne had never heard of Loudon Wainwright.  [Nor a lot of her other favorite performers, I hasten to brag]  But here she is thanks to it being the 21st Century when all the singers of the 20th Century are still alive and young if they wanted to be, here’s Jeanne instructing me on whether that’s a Johnny Cash song, or a Loudon Wainwright song.

And the cool thing about that is the day is coming when nobody who loves Johnny Horton singing Miss Marcy will have been alive when Johnny Horton sang it.  People will probably dance to Al Jolson singing Anniversary Song and be as moved as they were in 1950.

At least as long as the Internet lasts.  Probably around December, this year.

Old Jules

Cats can’t sing either

Hi readers.  Thanks for coming by for a read.

Old Hydrox has become a frequent singer in his dotage.  Jeanne described the ones happening several times per night lately as ‘annoying’.  And I haven’t found a way to discourage him doing it, nor thought of any explanation.

I tend to think he misses being around several cats, possibly [especially] Niaid, his litter-mate who went on permanent mouse patrol slightly over a year ago in Andrews, Texas.  We were all together 17 years, so I’d imagine if a cat’s capable of ‘missing’ another creature Niaid is one of his night songs.

On the other hand, it’s clear Shiva is a part of all this.  He’ll walk over and sit on the floor in front of the chair where she’s sleeping and begin the serenade until he runs out of lyrics.  Sometimes it’s Sweet Betsy from Pike, other times Otis Redding or Roy Orbison.  Fortunately that usually happens during the hours of daylight.

The night songs seem to be triggered by dreams, or by Shiva creeping through the living room where Hydrox and I bed down.  She has to go by here on the way to the litter box, a few laps of water, or to check out the food dishes.  And there’s no way she’s getting past here without the keen ears of Hydrox detecting it, head jerking around to stare.

Usually he’ll contemplate what he’s seen until she passes on her return trip.  Then he’ll jump to the floor and follow her with his immortal prose or a few stanzas of Pretty Woman Walk on By.  Or My Girl.

If he had a better command of English and had ever shown any signs of being susceptible to reasoned argument or persuasion I’d try it.  But a whispered 2:00 am yell at him only results in a brief pause and stare.  Getting up and chasing him around also only gets me back under the blankets with my teeth chattering and him carrying on where he left off.

Maybe I misinterpreting the song.  Hydrox might just be saying, “This getting old is hell.  I surely do miss ambition.”

Cyrano de Bergerac remembering the moon.

Old Jules


Shredded ginger in oatmeal

Hi readers.  Thanks for coming by for a read.

I’ve told you plenty of times the lengths I go to finding miniscule sodium or no sodium food products to prepare for myself.  I’ve found a good many more since the last time I talked about it.

For instance, cranberries were on sale for a buck per bag during the holidays and knowing how heavily I use cranberries I loaded up Jeanne’s freezer.  Every day I put a handful into my breakfast oatmeal.  Adds zest.  But even that gradually becomes ho hum.

Naturally there’s a lot of ginger nodules around here because both Jeanne, and I cook with ginger.  She’s careful and skins hers before grating it.  I just chunk mine into the blender, fill that blender up with shredded ginger, then flatten it so’s it’s easy to break off inside the baggie when frozen.  [Gallon freezer bags work best]  So spang, pull it out of the freezer, break off a piece, and you can put a hefty ginger flavor to anything you please.

This morning I’m having ginger-cranberry oatmeal.  It hits the taste-buds a bit hard the first spoonful, but after that oatmeal becomes a someone you’d like to get to know better.

I’ve come up with a number of other items I’m planning to tell you about, even though there’s probably not anyone else here who’s fanatic about keeping salt ingestion below 2000 grams per day.  There’s stove top pizza, stovetop wheat buns, green chili Swiss cheese omelets [amazingly low sodium] huevos ranchero style.

And so on.  I’m going to try to remember to post some ingredients and methodology as the year rolls out and I find more of them or run new trials on the ones I’ve already invented.

I’ve got to find a replacement for Hatch green chili, by the way.  They had it in the grocery stores [outside them] here during harvest time, and I bought a few pounds to run through the blender and freeze.  But I’m running dry on them.

These were only partly roasted, but Jeanne’s son, Michael, roasted them in an outdoor barbeque for me.  I debated on peeling them and decided it’s time the world found a way to get loose from green chili skins without anything labor-intensive.  So I blended the bejesus out of them and turned out to be right.  They’re great.

Old Jules


Musical archeology

Hi readers.  Thanks for coming by for a read.

Hell, it’s already January.  Damned year is almost over and I’ve got a lot to do.  Jeanne had a box here with what’s left of my old hundreds of cassette tapes I converted during the 1980s from vinyl LPs.  I’ve tried to get as much as possible from the local library and InterLibrary loan, but some of it just isn’t out there.

I say it isn’t, but probably a lot is on YouTube and available from Amazon if a person pays for it.  But I donealready paid for this back in the day when music was music and everyone was glad of it.

Time was I believed my favorite bluegrass album was Jonathan Edwards and Seldom Scene, Blue Ridge.

However, I eventually found this one elsewhere digitized.  The library was also helpful finding old Louvin Brothers I didn’t expect to be available anywhere.

On the other hand, I once believed The Red Clay Ramblers were the best bluegrass ever and had a lot on cassette.  And today nobody’s ever heard of them for the most part.  The Johnson County Library doesn’t have any of their work.

So most of what I have by RCR on tape will be all I ever listen to in the future once I convert it to MP3.  Then there’s Ned Sublette’s early years, a guy I used to know named Jerry Sires, along with [not enough] other tapes Jeanne salvaged from my ruins after Y2K.

A new project for 2015 and the damned year’s almost gone already.  These things take time.

Old Jules

Post Christmas sunshine

Hi readers.  Thanks for coming by for a read.

There’s something new on the Universal Love front to begin pondering:  Hydrox and Shiva-the-cow-cat appear to be slouching into some sort of hanky panky.  They’ve been observed lying side-by-side on Jeanne’s bed.

These cats have known one another for more than a decade and never a kind word has passed between them.  Hydrox surprised me last year when he began licking the face and inside the ears of Tabby whenever she got aggressive, but Tabby was an entirely different matter.  What Shiva’s always wanted was to be left strictly alone by other cats.

Until now.  She’s the one jumping on the bed as the party of the second part, not the first.

Also, sometime around 2 am Christmas Eve I heard cat racing noises, sat up in bed and saw Hydrox run from Jeanne’s bedroom into the kitchen.  With Shiva in hot pursuit.  I shook my head and wiped my eyes in time to see Shiva race out of the kitchen closely pursued by Hydrox, back past Jeanne’s Christmas tree into her bedroom.

I’m convinced they’re teetering on the brink of a Christian Era.

And meanwhile Wavy Gravy Duff, managing editor over at Veterans Today did a wordy Christmas post bragging of his past life without being too obviously obnoxious nor untruthful.  For that matter, aside from Jonas Alexis there were no Jew baiting/hating articles during the Christmas truce.

g duff 2

wavy gravy

g duff

Soooooooo if we’re not teetering on the brink of a Christian era I think we’d better all start digging bomb shelters.

Old Jules

Miss World 1967 visits the troops

Hi readers.  Thanks for coming by for a read this morning.

Bob Hope used to do those USO shows every year.  In fact Al Jolson died in the aftermath of returning from a USO show in Korea.  Fact is, any Christmas entertainment that includes John Wayne jokes and nasty jibes at draft dodgers burning their draft cards is probably worth a rerun anytime anyone is singing songs about Peace on Earth, Goodwill to Men.

Ms. Welch, at least, is about reality, which every USO show should include a taste of.

As an aside, a lot of you probably didn’t know Clint Eastwood’s real identity was Andy Williams.  Here he is singing something I thought of as a favorite in 1963.

No Christmas is complete without Clint Eastwood singing Old Bilbao Moon.

Here’s wishing everyone a merry little war.

Old Jules