The Cumberland Post

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

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Day 1: On the Road

This Marriot Motel has a nice easy to use wireless set up, so I thought I'd see if I could post something about our trip today.

Left around 10 a. m. We're retired. We rolled out early at somebody's beck and call for over 30 years, so now we don't get up early for nuttin' or nobody.

Somewhere before Atlanta (or after it, I can't remember which) we saw a road sign that said "Hell is real." Actually, I do remember. It was before Atlanta. Had to be. I guess it was a kind of warning about the traffic and all. Yeah, that was it.

Got a Garmin GPS a couple of months ago. First time to use the thing . It's fun. Or was, after I finally figured out what the big word "Go" positioned right in the middle of the screen meant. Smooth sailing after that. And she (Virgileena?) of the knowledgeable voice led us through all 9 circles of Dante's Atlanta with nary a hitch. Sorry, but somehow my English teacher button got pushed. Or it could've been the pinto beans I ate for supper.

They seem to have a lot of pecans down here in Tifton, GA. That's where we're spending the night.

Tomorrow we enter the Gator state. Hope we don't see any.

Yore humble correspondent,
Dapper Dan

Mickey Mouse

Time for a little time off. Orlando beckons. Joyce and I will be with family and with this guy for the next few days...

Fifty-one years ago this Sunday (August 14), Joyce and I were married. I did a fairly long post last year for our 50th anniversary, and if you want to check it out, click on my Cumberland Post archives, August of last year. It's called "50 Years."

On our vacation, we will contemplate the fate of the BB (Black Beauty), the 2000 XK8 that's been a part of our lives for the last three years. I love the car, but I'm inclined to sell it. I don't drive it near enough, especially in winter. Here's a nice pic of Joyce and the BB taken last year about this time.

I'll check into the usual blogs while I'm gone, but probably won't comment or post any. Take care, and if the Lord's willing and the creeks don't rise, I'll see you back here in a little over a week.

An Opportunity?

The world seems to be in chaos. From the economic morass here in the U. S. to the British riots, Is it good news or bad news?

Ann Coulter comments on the British riots...
I guess we now have the proof of what conservatives have been saying since forever: Looting is a result of liberal welfare policies. And Britain is in the end stages of the welfare state....If Britain of 1939 were composed of the current British population, the entirety of Europe would today be doing the "Heil Hitler" salute and singing the "Horst Wessel Song."
The sociologists,of course, will say that the rioters were poor impoverished youth who were striking back at their rich oppressors. Coulter thinks the riots expose the consequences of a debilitating and demoralizing welfare state.

The Hoover Foundation scholar, Victor Davis Hanson, says that in the U. S. the economic problems underscored by the recent debt crisis are the consequence of our turning over the reins of government to the Technocrats for the past 30 years. Technocrats are individuals with high academic standing who possess some "specialized" knowledge. They are elected to or appointed to various government offices and because of their "specialized" expertise expect to be (and have been given) tremendous political power. He gives several examples: Barack Obama, Eric Holder, Larry Summers, Peter Orszag, Robert Rubin, Steven Chu, Timothy Geithner, John Kerry, John Edwards, Al Gore, etc. As the U. S. sees its credit rating downgraded and it staggering debt growing at an unsustainable rate, the utter and complete failure of this reign of Technocrats is becoming clearer daily. 

But Hanson says these unstable times are exciting and filled with potential. In  "A Tottering Technocracy," he says...
We are living in one of the most unstable — and exciting — periods in recent memory, as much of the received wisdom of the last 30 years is being turned upside down. In large part the present reset age arises because our political and cultural leaders exercised influence that by any rational standard they had never earned.
 In "The Best Opportunity for America in Fifty Years" Vincent Emilio writes...
This recent debt ceiling debacle is just a harbinger of things to come.  This is the first time in my lifetime that the tone of the public is "smaller government."  The people are finally realizing government is not the solution.  Government is the problem.  This is the best opportunity conservatives will ever get to change the tide.  It's a great day in America!  Change is coming and this time it will be a change for the good!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

1957: Come and Go With Me

I was 17 and life was definitely good. The cars were cool and the music rocked. Ford actually sold more '57 model Fords than GM sold Chevys during that year. My friend Wynne's father got a new powder blue '57 Fairlane 4 door. Straight shift, 245 hp T Bird V8. It would go.

I had a cash flow problem until I found work that summer at a dry cleaners as their curb boy. I kept that job all through my senior year, '57-'58. It seemed to me that Ford was doing okay, because at work, I was surrounded by Fomoco owners. One of the woman clerks had a '55 Ford and the other curb guy had a '54 Ford convertible. The boss's son, the manager, had a '57 Country Sedan.

But the boss guy himself, who smoked big stogies right down to the nub, drove a massive blue '57 Olds 88 4 door hardtop.

Another friend's dad (Wayman) bought what would become most everyone's idea of a '50s classic car,  a black '57 Chevy convertible with the fuel injected 283. I can remember the night he picked me up and gave me a ride in it, and my memory of one part of the ride, for some reason is as clear as if it happened yesterday. I remember we crossed Gallatin Pike at the red light on McGavock. Wayman was just easing it across, and cars on both sides of the Pike were stopped for the red light, the people inside checking out that sleek black beauty. The street lights and the neon were shining off of that thing something fierce. I was sitting in the vinyl red/silver passenger seat. The dash board was gleaming. It was a moment. One of those moments. And, even though I didn't own the car, I was a part of the scene. A conscious part of the beauty. I wouldn't trade that for a thousand American Graffitis. It's a good movie and all, but I think you know what I'm talking about.

Here's a Chevy commercial I may have seen one night while watching the old 17" b and w Motorola console.

And here are three songs I definitely remember from 1957. If you're one of my regular commenters, these are all going to be too old for you. But, trust me, they are all good. First, "Little Darling" by the Diamonds. I can hear this now, coming out of the radio in somebody's white '57 Fury as it rumbled slowly around the Krystal.

This one got a lot of airplay back in '57: the Everly Brothers first hit with Cadence records, "Bye Bye Love." Very influential harmony. This video is from 1964.

And finally, the Dell Vikings' "Come and Go With Me." I know some of you remember hearing this one. Hope you enjoyed this little trip back to 1957.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Maher Has Buyer's Remorse?

Speaking of hefty females in politics...

Liberals are beginning to pine for Hillary. Follow this Breitbart link and listen to Bill Maher and his guests as they discuss Obama's current status after the debt ceiling deal. It's just a little more than 2 minutes long.

In poker, players try to look for other players' tells.

In the big political poker game of one card draw between the Repubs and Dems, would Maher saying he has buyer's remorse and then posing the question "would Hillary be better?" and the astrophysicist guy's answer (he says "yes") be a kind of tell that they (the Dems) finally know they have a weak hand?

The card they've got in their hand is Obama, who's like the 6 of clubs (not spades, ain't going there) and they're wishing they had a Queen like Hillary.

Ain't politics fun?

UPDATE: Regarding the United States' current debt, Bob Bell sent me a little note from Dave Ramsey this morning...

From Dave Ramsey, radio talk show host, Nashville, TN:
If the US Government was a family, they would be making $58,000 a year, they spend $75,000 a year, & are $327,000 in credit card debt. They are currently proposing BIG spending cuts to reduce their spending to $72,000 a year. These are the actual proportions of the federal budget & debt, reduced to a level that we can understand." - Dave Ramsey

Sunday, August 7, 2011

A Lost Balloonist and the Debt Crisis

My friend Bob Bell sent me another good one yesterday...

A woman in a hot air balloon realized she was lost. She lowered her altitude and spotted a man in a boat below. She shouted to him, 
"Excuse me, can you help me? I promised a friend I would meet him an hour ago, but I don't know where I am." 

The man consulted his portable GPS and replied, "You're in a hot air balloon, approximately 30 feet above ground elevation of 2,346 feet above sea level. You are at 31 degrees, 14.97 minutes north latitude and 100 degrees, 49.09 minutes west longitude. 

She rolled her eyes and said, "You must be a Republican. 

"I am," replied the man. "How did you know?" 

"Well," answered the balloonist, "everything you told me is technically correct. But I have no idea what to do with your information, and I'm still lost. Frankly, you've not been much help to me." 

The man smiled and responded, "You must be an Obama-Democrat." 

"I am," replied the balloonist. "How did you know?" 

"Well," said the man, "you don't know where you are -- or where you are going You've risen to where you are, due to a large quantity of hot air. You made a promise you have no idea how to keep, and you expect me to solve your problem. You're in exactly the same position you were in before we met, but somehow, now it's my fault." 

My comment:

This little joke can be applied to any number of situations but let's take the recent budget "crisis" as an example. 
"You made a promise you have no idea how to keep." 

The money borrowed to provide bailouts and economic stimulus is at the core of the promise the liberal Democrats in congress and in the Obama administration made to the country that they could end the recession and create new jobs.

Of course, that didn't work. The recession worsened and joblessness is still above 9%. 
Since the plan didn't succeed, "You expect me to solve your problem."

To solve their problem, they expected (demanded) that the Republicans in congress capitulate to their demands to raise taxes (increase revenue).

"Somehow, now it's my fault."

Conveniently forgetting the four trillion dollar debt burden they added in 2008-2009 which created the problem, they now say the Republicans in congress are terrorists who held a gun to their heads and refused to let them raise taxes.

The joke is funny. But the reality is anything but.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Remember the Voyager Gold Record?

It's Sunday and we've been getting some much needed rain for most of the morning. So, here at the CP, we're feeling a bit of a melancholy, reminiscing vibe.

In my teaching days, one of my favorite classes was a Composition III class that featured readings from Science Fiction. SF (true fans always use this designation rather than Sci Fi, which is more of a movie sort of term) had been one of my first reading passions since my early teens, so the course was a natural fit. We had a great text book chock full of fantastic and thoughtful stories; these stories and other class materials provoked discussions on all sorts of topics. Over the years I received more positive comments about that class than any other.

Around 1979 or 1980, some of our discussions focused on the two Voyagers which had been launched in 1977. If you remember...

Voyager 1 and 2 both carry with them a golden record that contains pictures and sounds of Earth, along with symbolic directions for playing the record and data detailing the location of Earth. The record is intended as a combination time capsule and interstellar message to any civilization, alien or far-future human, that recovers either of the Voyager craft. The contents of this record were selected by a committee chaired by Carl Sagan. (FROM WIKIPEDIA)

I made a cassette tape of some of the music on this record which we played in class. One of the selections on the tape was Beethoven's String Quartet in B-flat Major, Op. 130, Cavatina...

The Cavatina ... was chosen as the last piece to be played on the "golden record", a phonograph record containing a broad sample of Earth's common sounds, languages, and music sent into outer space with the twoVoyager probes.[2]  (FROM WIKIPEDIA)

Another piece on my cassette was Blind Willie Johnson's "Dark Was the Night."

In addition to the music, there are other things as well on the record, including greetings from the earth in 55 different languages. (But note that the language on the label is English.) My guess is that the committee putting together the material on the record went to an LA High School and interviewed the first 55 people they met. I'm joking. But the lack of forethought here is also a joke. PC diversity triumphed any desire for clarity. Can you imagine an interested alien listening to this cacophony? It would probably sound like the tower of Babel. As early as 1977 (sigh), PC was in full bloom in academia. I know because I lived in that ivory tower and wore the rose colored glasses myself back in the day. 

If you want to read an interesting commentary on what's on the Gold Record and how this material differs from two earlier "time capsules," read this article at the david szondy site. Here's a paragraph from the article which I found to be particularly refreshing. The beginning of the quotation refers to some earlier American "time capsules," one from 1939 and another from 1964 in which the confidence and pride of the people preparing them were quite evident.  

The Voyager records, on the other hand, lack any real confidence.  The committee that put together the records weren't even certain what their civilisation was beyond a massy dough of humanity that was indescribably insignificant when measured against the Cosmos or any beings that might find that Voyager doohicky.  The contents were carefully chosen not to be American or even Western, nor to reflect any ideology; at least, not any ideology that didn't sit comfortably with the Berkeley faculty lounge (sexism was a big no no).  The images and sounds turned their backs on the culture that created them. They are in the Western tradition, but they are not Western. They are certainly not American. They are Internationalist; not of the confident FDR or JFK type meant to civilise the world, but of an insecure, Carteresque, "What do you guys think," UN sort. The committee's message was more along the lines of “Hello. We’re here. We look like this, except some of us look like that, and here’s some kids, trees, leaves, and things, and the UN General Secretary will be along in a moment to say ‘hi’.  Sorry to bother you.” 

Finally, here's the complete list of music included on the Gold Record.

Friday, August 5, 2011


I've always been interested in fast cars, but my experience at the drag strip is limited. I went to the Union Hill dragway several times during my senior year in high school and one time I raced my family car, a '54 Dodge Royal (4 years old at the time). I raced under the name of Wild Bill Cody and in the first race was placed alongside one of those hot but stock '51 Oldsmobiles. The Olds left me so far behind that I turned off the track before the finish. The announcer said, "I guess Old Wild Bill is headin' to the corral." I hung up my spurs after that one.

But later that spring, I did see the Green Monster (a jet powered dragster) run. People today use the word "awesome" a lot. They don't know nothing about awesome until they've seen and heard something like that. But I'd use that word to also describe the top fuel dragsters running today.

My friend Bob Bell sent this to me recently about top fuel dragsters (like the one in the video above). Read it and I think you'll agree that it contains some pretty awesome information.


One top fuel dragster 500 cubic inch Hemi engine makes more horsepower than the first 4 rows of stock cars at the Daytona 500. 

It takes just 15/100ths of a second for all 
8,000+ horsepower of an NHRA Top Fuel dragster engine to reach the rear wheels. 

Under full throttle, a dragster engine consumes 1-1/2 gallons of nitro methane per second; a fully loaded 747 consumes jet fuel at the same rate with 25% less energy being produced. 

A stock Dodge Hemi V8 engine cannot produce enough power to drive the dragster's supercharger. 

With 3,000 CFM of air being rammed in by the supercharger on overdrive, the fuel mixture is compressed into a near-solid form before ignition. 

Cylinders run on the verge of hydraulic lock at full throttle. 

At the stoichiometric (stoichiometry: methodology and technology by which quantities of reactants and products in chemical reactions are determined) 1.7:1 air/fuel mixture of nitro methane, the flame front temperature measures 7,050 deg F. 

Nitro methane burns yellow... The spectacular white flame seen above the stacks at night is raw burning hydrogen, dissociated from atmospheric water vapor by the searing exhaust gases. 

Dual magnetos supply 44 amps to each spark plug. This is the output of an arc welder in each cylinder. 

Spark plug electrodes are totally consumed during a pass. After halfway, the engine is dieseling from compression, plus the glow of exhaust valves at 1,400 deg F. The engine can only be shut down by cutting the fuel flow. 

If spark momentarily fails early in the run, unburned nitro builds up in the affected cylinders and then explodes with sufficient force to blow cylinder heads off the block in pieces or split the block in half. 

In order to exceed 300 mph in 4.5 seconds, dragsters must accelerate an average of over 4G's. In order to reach 200 mph (well before half-track), the launch acceleration approaches 8G's. 

Dragsters reach over 300 miles per hour before you have completed reading this sentence.. 

Top fuel engines turn approximately 540 revolutions from light to light! Including the burnout, the engine must only survive 900 revolutions under load. 

The redline is actually quite high at 9,500 rpm. 

Assuming all the equipment is paid off, the crew worked for free, and for once NOTHING BLOWS UP, each run costs an estimate $1,000.00 per second. 

The current top fuel dragster elapsed time record is 4.428 seconds for the quarter mile (11/12/06, Tony Schumacher, at Pomona , CA ). The top speed record is 336.15 mph as measured over the last 66' of the run (05/25/05 Tony Schumacher, at Hebron , OH ). 

Putting all of this into perspective: 

You are driving the average $140,000 Lingenfelter 'twin-turbo' powered Corvette Z06. Over a mile up the road, a top fuel dragster is staged and ready to launch down a quarter mile strip as you pass. You have the advantage of a flying start. You run the 'Vette hard up through the gears and blast across the starting line and pass the dragster at an honest 200 mph. The 'tree' goes green for both of you at that moment. 

The dragster launches and starts after you. You keep your foot down hard, but you hear an incredibly brutal whine that sears your eardrums and within 3 seconds, the dragster catches and passes you. He beats you to the finish line, a quarter mile away from where you just passed him. 

Think about it, from a standing start, the dragster had spotted you 200 mph and not only caught, but nearly blasted you off the road when he passed you within a mere 1,320 foot long race course. 
(They currenty race to only 1000 ft. in 3.85 seconds at 317 mph in an attempt to slow them down, making it more possible to stop more quickly and making the runs seemingly more safe on shorter tracks.)

...... and that my friend, is ACCELERATION!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Give My Love to Rose

This is probably my all time favorite Johnny Cash song. It's like a mini short story; the few words say a lot, but there's also much left unsaid. I'm not sure when this particular version was recorded, but I suspect it was later in his career. His voice sounds older and quite weary (which suits the story). The pic used by the poster, however, is one from his earlier days--I'd say late 1950s to late 1960s.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Things Have Gone to Pieces

There are at least a couple of ways of looking at the debt crisis resolution.

You could say the same thing people were saying before the agreement was achieved: Things have gone to pieces. In other words, this compromise agreement is just one more thing gone wrong. It doesn't do nearly enough. We're bankrupt in more ways than financial and this toothless bill just shows how far we've fallen.

On the other hand (to echo the famous Randy Travis tune), you could say this is the first step up out of this cesspool of over indulgence we (via our elected representatives) have spent ourselves into. This bill will help seal Obama's defeat and lead to fiscal conservative majorities in both houses; then we can then set about reducing the size of the federal government on a much larger scale.

What's your view? Are you with George Jones (see the video below), or do you see this as a small but significant victory?