The Cumberland Post

The Cumberland Post
My Backyard, Six Miles from the Cumberland River

Monday, November 29, 2010

Cyber Blue Monday

"Monday is a mess." "Was it worth it for the times I had?" Long before there was Cyber Monday, there was this. Keep rockin' Fats.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Buick Hotrods for Hotrod Hearts

Hotrod and Buick? In the same sentence? I know. Because of Buick's stodgy, "Old Folks" car image, it's almost an oxymoron. But take a gander at these pics, my friend, and see if you don't agree that there is such a thing as a Buick Hotrod.

The first Buick beauty is a 56 with a custom 58 grille. Being a child of the 50's (actually I was a teen then), I do love my chrome, and the 58 Buick grille laid on some serious amounts of the shiny stuff!

This looks like a chopped 51 fast back to me. Heavy chrome teeth! Sweet.

And the obligatory Buick load of chicks. A yellow 53 (Special? Super?) with its portholes shaved away.

Next, a hopped up Buick Nailhead V8 powering a big open rod. Wiki says,"Buicks first generation of V8 lasted from 1953 through 1956. It was an OHV/pushrod engine like the then new Oldsmobile 'Rocket V8' engine. This engine became known as the 'Nailhead' for the unusual vertical position of its small-sized valves—which looked like nails."

And if you listen to John Fogarty's "Hotrod Heart" carefully, you'll hear that he's singing about a Buick. Hearing a song like this makes you forget about all those "Bad Moon Risings." The beat and rhythm and lyrics make me want to pop the top on the Jag and hit the road. The sun's okay today, but it's a bit cool for drophead motoring.

Hey, there's one more custom Buick after the song. Don't miss this beauty.

Take a long look at a senusous custom car built in the late 40's by a mechanical engineer named Norman Timbs and featured in Motor Trend and Popular Mechanics magazines at the time. It has an aluminum body and a straight 8 Buick engine. This Buick, which was recently found and restored to its original condition, has been called a Muse to those who love cars. I can see why.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Recently Viewed DVD's: No Way Out and The Dark Beginnings of Sherlock Holmes

No Way Out


106 minutes

Netflix Summary: When rabid bigot Ray Biddle (Richard Widmark) and his brother Johnny (Dick Paxton) are admitted with gunshot wounds to the county hospital's prison ward, they balk at being treated by black physician Luther Brooks (Sidney Poitier, in his film debut). But the racial tension only escalates after the doctor performs a procedure meant to save Johnny's life -- and he dies on the operating table. The lead doctor at the hospital is portrayed by Stephen McNally and the supporting cast includes Linda Darnell.

My comment: A powerful movie made long before the sinister concept of Political Correctness turned most movies and novels into squishy soft pablum, No Way Out tackles all of the issues related to race at that volatile time and which still plague American society. So many people have been called racist and so many events given that hideous label, especially in the last decade (thanks to the race baiters), that many people (black and white) today don't really know what the term means any more. Viewing this DVD will remind you of what real racism is and, in comparison, also put the lie to many such claims made today. The great Richard Widmark gives a superbly vicious, and uncompromising performance as the ugly bigot; Linda Darnell is stunning as the doomed woman from the projects; and a very young Sidney Poitier is exceptional in his debut role. 5 stars *****
Murder Rooms: The Dark Beginnings of Sherlock Holmes

2001NR 3 discs

Netflix Summary: Behind the crime fiction of Sherlock Holmes, the young Arthur Conan Doyle (Charles Edwards) and Dr. Joseph Bell (Ian Richardson) formed the true sleuth alliance of mystery investigation.

My Comment: This British TV series with very high production values is based on the premise that Arthur Conan Doyle had a real life model for his famous Sherlock Holmes character: Dr. Joseph Bell. The episodes in this series are (from last episode to first):

– The White Knight Stratagem (2001)
– The Kingdom of Bones (2001)
– The Photographer's Chair (2001)
– The Patient's Eyes (2001)
– Dr. Bell and Mr. Doyle, The Dark Beginnings of Sherlock Holmes (2000) Robert Laing plays Doyle in this, the first one; Charles Edwards takes over the role in the other 4 episodes.

The Dr. Bell and Mr. Doyle: Dark Beginnings episode is one one disc (the first one you should view). The next two are grouped together on one disc, as are the last two. Three discs in all, and they should be viewed in order. Joyce and I really enjoyed this series. The late Ian Richardson is great as Dr. Bell, who serves as the model for Sherlock Holmes and as the mentor to Doyle; actors Robin Laing and Charles Edwards are more than up to the task as his apprentice and developing mystery writer. As noted earlier, the production values are excellent and the episodes all make for great viewing on a cold winter night. It was so good we wished there were more. Five stars. *****

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Obama Changes Black Friday

Not much politics lately for me, but I think I'm ready to jump back into the mud. I did quite a few faux news stories and satirical pieces in 2006-2007 on a blog on Blogstream. I think I'll try a few in upcoming posts. They'll always be preceded by the Super Faux News masthead. Wouldn't want to confuse anybody. Like the SFNN logo says: News so fake, you'll think it's real!

Super Faux News
and Political Satire
News so fake, you'll think it's real!
A Service of Super Faux News Network



by Senior Staff Writer William Balderdash

Washington, D. C. November 24, 2010 (SFNN). President Obama today issued a fiat making bold changes in the national sales day known as Black Friday.

This major change comes after a year long study conducted by a multi racial commission on the issue. The commission was headed by activist minister Al Sharpton; others on the commission included Rev. Jesse Jackson, Rev. Jeremiah Wright, Prof. Henry Gates, and Barbara Streisand.

"After an extensive year long study by this commission, I'm changing Black Friday," said the President. "For far too long Aftican Americans have suffered from the racial bias built into the name of this holiday. That is changing. From this point on, the only people allowed on the streets or in the stores on Friday will be Aftican Americans. After this historic decree, the Friday after Thanksgiving will truly be Black Friday."

"Black Shoppers," the President continued, "will be able to purchase any and all items for 5% of the retail cost.  Other shoppers, including Hispanic, Asian, and white shoppers, will be allowed to make purchases on Saturday; store owners and corporations will be required by law adjust their prices upward to a maximum of 250% to compensate for their racial redistribution reduction on Friday. Black Shoppers should note that this decree includes Cadillac, Buick, and Chevrolet automobiles. Your government owns this company now, and your purchase of one of these fine motor cars will help build profitability."

In a side note, the President said Muslim American leaders had negotiated and secured a 10% purchase rate on Black Friday also. "Since 9/11 our Muslim brothers have endured unspeakable discrimination and bias; our agreement will help restore some modicum of justice to our current unpleasant capitalistic system that someday soon will be replaced."

"This Black Friday thing is a brilliant move," said former DNC chair Howard Dean. "It will ensure his reelection in 2012. Nothing like a good giveaway to bring out the base."

GOP leaders, however, think otherwise. Karl Rove, former Bush advisor, calls the Black Friday change "reparations in disguise." Radio conservative Rush Limbaugh wasn't so discrete: "This abomination is another crapload of socialism/communism by Commisar Hussein."

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Black, White, and Blues

I became a teenager in 1953. That year and on through high school in 58, I listened most every night to 50,000 watt WLAC radio in Nashville. They had these 4 DJ's, "the 50,000 Watt Quartet," who played black R&B records everynight. I listened to all of them, Gene Nobles, Herman Grizzard, John R. (Richbourg), and Bill "Hoss" Allen, but I especially like Hoss because he played a lot of the stuff I liked. Especially Jimmy Reed.

Jimmy Reed was the first bluesman I ever heard and took notice of.

And the guitar line he plays on many of his songs, which is especially clear on "Baby What You Want Me To," is the first thing I learned on the guitar. I'll be the first to admit that I'm not very good at all on the guitar, but I can still knock that one down.

One writer says that there's simply no sound in the blues as easily digestible, accessible, instantly recognizable, and as easy to play and sing as the music of Jimmy Reed. In my case, the operative word here is "accessible."

Most of the radio ads on the WLAC R&B shows were for products with a Black appeal. One I remember was Royal Crown Hair Dressing. It's still being produced, only now it's hyped as the "Legendary R&B Pomade," probably because of its association with those old radio shows on WLAC. My high school friend Jimmy D and I used to cat around in his powder blue 53 chevy Bel Air convertible singing the ditty they used. We even improvised a few other lyrics that implied other uses for the pomade.

Hoss Allen, who was from Gallatin, TN, was raised by his grandparents and a black woman who worked for them. The black woman took young Allen to church with her every Sunday. He also had as playmates several black kids from her community; this eventually led to his love affair with black gospel and R&B.

When he retired in 1993, Allen said, "We also initiated a new sound to white kids who probably never would have heard it if it had not been for the power of WLAC."

Yeah. Blues. Emanating from Nashville. The birthplace of country music. So, there's more than one reason our town is called "Music City."

But back to Jimmy Reed and the Blues. The following passages about Reed are from the site:

*Blues music has had its individualists--performers with powerful, poetic feeling, tremendous instrumental virtuosity, or a unique sound. But the tradition has also had its Everymen and Everywomen, and one of these was Jimmy Reed, the most popular Chicago blues performer of the 1950s and early 1960s. Reed had a guitar technique that rarely varied, and his vocals were relaxed to the point where hearers couldn't always understand the words he sang. Yet Reed found a groove and stuck to it, creating a sound that any blues fan could identify after hearing only a few seconds of his music. That sound, moreover, influenced nearly every rock music ensemble that had a blues element in its style. Reed's music distilled the essence of the blues.

*Reed was a major player in the field of electric blues, as opposed to the more acoustic-based sound of many of his contemporaries. His lazy, slack-jawed singing, piercing harmonica and hypnotic guitar patterns were one of the blues' most easily identifiable sounds in the 1950s and 1960s.

*Reed placed 18 singles in the Billboard rhythm-and-blues chart between 1955 and 1961, more than any other musician. Well in advance of the 1960s blues revival, Reed's records crossed over to white audiences, and 12 of his records made the pop charts. His single biggest hit was "Bright Lights, Big City" in 1961, but several other Reed releases became blues standards almost from their dates of release. "Big Boss Man," "Baby, What You Want Me to Do," and "Ain't That Lovin' You Baby" were universally known among blues listeners and fans, as well as among the white rock bands who began to emulate Chicago blues in the 1960s.

Reed's "Baby What You Want Me To."

And "Big Boss Man." The sentiment in this song is something almost all of us have felt at one time or another.

Monday, November 22, 2010

A New Border Issue

My friend Jeanne sent me the following piece from The Manitoba Herald; it's a nice piece of satire by Clive Runnels.

Canadians: "Build a Damn Fence!"

The flood of American liberals sneaking across the border into Canada has intensified in the past week, sparking calls for increased patrols to stop the illegal immigration. The recent actions of the Tea Party are prompting an exodus among left-leaning citizens who fear they'll soon be required to hunt, pray, and to agree with Bill O'Reilly and Glenn Beck.

Canadian border farmers say it's not uncommon to see dozens of sociology professors, animal-rights activists and Unitarians crossing their fields at night. "I went out to milk the cows the other day, and there was a Hollywood producer huddled in the barn," said Manitoba farmer Red Greenfield, whose acreage borders North Dakota. "The producer was cold, exhausted and hungry. He asked me if I could spare a latte and some free-range chicken. When I said I didn't have any, he left before I even got a chance to show him my screenplay, eh?"

In an effort to stop the illegal aliens, Greenfield erected higher fences, but the liberals scaled them. He then installed loudspeakers that blared Rush Limbaugh across the fields. "Not real effective," he said. "The liberals still got through and Rush annoyed the cows so much that they wouldn't give any milk."

Officials are particularly concerned about smugglers who meet liberals near the Canadian border, pack them into Volvo station wagons and drive them across the border where they are simply left to fend for themselves.

"A lot of these people are not prepared for our rugged conditions," an Ontario border patrolman said. "I found one carload without a single bottle of imported drinking water. They did have a nice little Napa Valley Cabernet, though."

When liberals are caught, they're sent back across the border, often wailing loudly that they fear retribution from conservatives. Rumors have been circulating about plans being made to build re-education camps where liberals will be forced to drink domestic beer and watch NASCAR races.

In recent days, liberals have turned to ingenious ways of crossing the border. Some have been disguised as senior citizens taking a bus trip to buy cheap Canadian prescription drugs. After catching a half-dozen young vegans in powdered wig disguises, Canadian immigration authorities began stopping buses and quizzing the supposed senior citizens about Perry Como and Rosemary Clooney to prove that they were alive in the '50s. "If they can't identify the accordion player on The Lawrence Welk Show, we become very suspicious about their age" an official said.

Canadian citizens have complained that the illegal immigrants are creating an organic-broccoli shortage and are renting all the Michael Moore movies. "I really feel sorry for American liberals, but the Canadian economy just can't support them." an Ottawa resident said. "How many art-history majors does one country need?"

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Cash and Steel

One of my favorite Johnny Cash tunes is "I Still Miss Someone." I first heard it in a Texas cafe in the late summer of 1958. That Fall when I began college in Tennessee, I caught it frequently on the only radio station in Pulaski. When I hear those first words as the song begins ("At my door the leaves are falling"), I'm always reminded of that season of the year, youthful loneliness, and the cyclical nature of human experience. Summer is ending, the year is ending. And if your romance has ended too, you look for a "darkened corner" while others party on.

Cash recorded several versions of "I Still Miss Someone." This is a later version that features a steel guitar, a most appropriate instrument, I think, to help express the youthful angst in these simple and beautiful lyrics.

Friday, November 19, 2010


Blog bud Buck at Exile in Portales has a post up today that stirred up some old memories. His post featured an ad for used BMW's which included a photo of a provocative young blonde. The ad was in English but the young Fraulein had a distinctly German or Bavarian look. Which got me thinking. About "Fraulein." The song.

First a little history. You've all heard of the "Nashville Sound." To refresh your thinker (mine needs that quite a bit lately), here's Wikipedia:

With country's youth market and radio clout disappearing, Nashville began mixing pop music elements into country productions to attract the adult audience. The Nashville sound was pioneered by staff at RCA Records and Columbia Records in Nashville, Tennessee, including manager Steve Sholes, record producers Chet Atkins, Owen Bradley, and Bob Ferguson, and recording engineer Bill Porter. They invented the form by replacing elements of the popular honky tonk style (fiddles, steel guitar, nasal lead vocals) with "smooth" elements from 1950s pop music (string sections, background vocals, crooning lead vocals), and using "slick" production, and pop music structures. The producers relied on a small group of studio musicians known as the Nashville A-Team, whose quick adaptability and creative input made them vital to the hit-making process. In 1960, Time magazine reported that Nashville had "nosed out Hollywood as the nation's second biggest (after New York) record-producing center."
The Nashville Sound later morphed into what was called "Countrypolitan," which magnified the pop elements even more.

When I was in my early and mid teens I listened to country music on the radio (WSM of course) while working on model cars. (They were wooden models for the Fisher Body Craftsman's Guild contest, a future blog subject.)  One song in particular I remember from that time period was "Fraulein," sung by the great Bobby Helms. If you think you've never heard anything by him, think again. You hear him every Christmas singing "Jingle Bell Rock."

The song also has meaning to me because I associate it with my wife, Joyce. We were in a first year German class together when we met, and she was the only female in the class. When the old, one-armed Professor (educated at Heidelberg University), called on her, he simply said, "Fraulein."

I'm posting two versions of "Fraulein." The first one by Helms, his first single by the way, from 1957. With its fiddles, honky tonk-beer joint style, and Helms' nasal delivery, this record has the more traditional country music sound that emanated from Nashville in the early 50's.

The other version is by a Perry Como voiced singer named Roy Drusky and was recorded in 1970. Drusky was pretty well known in the 1960s and 1970s. Drusky's smooth baritone made him a natural in the Nashville Sound/Countrypolitan era.

I actually like both of these versions of the song.

First Bobby Helms sings "Fraulein" in that older, honky tonk style.

Roy Drusky's smoother, countrypolitan version.

XF5F: Blackhawks' Grumman Skyrocket

Andy my boy, you are a smart young whippersnapper. That funny looking plane is a Grumman Skyrocket as you said in your comment. Here's another pic from a blogger named Murdoc along with his comment about the aerial beast.

Murdoc's comment: "Nicknamed by some the “Skyrocket”, this experimental Cat never reached production. However, fans of the comic book series Blackhawk will be familiar with it, as the fictional squadron flew them for decades."

Looking at the plane, you might guess that it's unusual design caused flight problems; that was not the case. Here's a quotation from a pilot who tested the XF5F against the F2A, F4F, XF4U, XFL-1, P-39, P-40, and British Hurricane and Spitfire:

"I remember testing against XF4U in a climb to 10,000'... I pulled away from the Corsair so fast I thought he was having engine trouble. F5F was a carrier pilot's dream ... opposite- rotating props eliminated all torque, and you had no engine in front to look around to see the LSO (Landing Signal Officer). Analysis of all data favored F5F, and Spitfire came in a distant second."

However, the navy decided on the tough little F4F Wildcat and Grumman never produced the Skyrocket.

But in the fantasy land of late 1940's and 1950's comics these odd looking planes flew on for years as the main mode of transportation for the character Blackhawk's crew.

Oh boy, Blackhawk. What a comic. When I was ten, in 1950, I remember getting a couple of these in a trade with a boy named Frank who lived on Greenland Avenue. I think I gave him a couple of Iron Jaws in exchange. They were great comic books for a ten year old. If I had those comics (the Iron Jaw and the Blackhawks) now, I could probably add a room to my house.