Why Is There A Goat?

Why indeed?

The question arose on the back court of the Exhibition Buildings in Melbourne this year as I was photographing this Dodge. The questioner was a woman who was photographing all the cars at the hot rod show….always a pleasant activity. She was as burdened down with extraneous photo gear – extra cameras, tripod, and lenses as I was free of them. I used my travelling Fujifilm camera with my travelling lens and…well…traveled…

She was genuinely puzzled by the ram on the bonnet. A surprise, because she had a North American accent and the look of a person who covers a lot of motor shows. I didn’t feel it my place to enlighten her, but left as I heard her buttonhole other people over the question.

As it turned out this time., this was one of the very few occasions when there would be a preserved Dodge on display – the RAC show in the park had very few cars on display – God knows why. I am glad that I got to see this one where it was, as the visitors to the VHRS are respectful of the vehicles on display – they don’t climb and smudge over them.

Isn’t it magnificent? The Dodge may not have carried the prestige of the Lincoln or Cadillac, but then again how much better did it penetrate the Australian market at the time. And how many more do we have to see at the end of the day.

I just wish that the makers of modern cars could take a style hint from the 30’s and bring back solid duo-colours. And bonnet mascots. Surely there is a place for meerkats or penguins or something…I wonder how she would have done with a meerkat?

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Blue Dreams

I am a fan of blue cars ever since my first one -a Renault 10 in light grey-blue in the late 60’s. It seemed to be the epitome of style and grace…in a small car. Since then I’ve owned other colours, but always looked keenly to see if whatever I wanted to drive could be had in blue.

This my attraction to this Chevrolet pickup a this year’s VHRS in Melbourne. It was on the inside, which means thee lighting was mixed – and I would have liked to see it out in the sun – but that doesn’t lessen the admiration for the paint job.

A restrained vehicle like this one is perfect for the dignity of the blue. I must admit that from the other side of thee floor I thought I was seeing a restored historical car rather than a rod. Closer inspection showed the lowering, rh shaving, and the other touches that have made this look so good. I love the whitewall and beauty ring treatment, but then I would love that on my little car if I could do it.

 There is a terrible temptation with something as nice as this – that is also a practical vehicle. The temptation would be to make a daily driver out of it and take it down to Bunnings and load the bed with MDF board and kegs of nails. And then where would the superb finish be?

Perhaps the best solution to this would be to make two cars the same – one for show and one for go. Yes, that’s the answer. Now all we need is Lotto to supply the question…

Life Goals For The Cynical

1. To feature as a particularly unsavoury entry in the Urban Dictionary.

2. To win the Oscar Levant Award.

3. To be black-balled simultaneously from entry into the Ku Klux Klan, the Greens, the Black Panthers, and the Myers Christmas Club.

4. To discover a new food ingredient to which people can become intolerant. As discoverer you get to name it. I am going to incorporate Shirley Temple into the name. As people are bring violently ill in the gutter they’ll be crying out ” Shirley Temple ” !

5. To finance a re-make of “ A Night At The Opera ” with a script that makes it into a serious social documentary. But I’ll still keep the stateroom scene.

Now, nearly everyone I know, with one notably cynical exception, will have to go and google at least one of those references to see what the joke is about. Thus I have done my part today for wider education in a post-literate population. It will last no more than the time that it takes for the next mental squirrel to scamper across their vision, but if I do it often enough they will eventually be curious enough to dial up a page on ” Brainy Quotes “.

And then I’ll have em…

 

How To Be Literal Without Being Literate

Go on. Try the experiment. I did, and I’m mopping up the benchtop right now.

Try typing in the good old phrase ” Taking your pigs to a better market “. The sentence that indicates that you are going to seek better recognition for your skills or a better remuneration. A phrase that is as old as the 18th century, if not older…

The first page that Google shows you is exclusively devoted to farming interests and the pork marketing sector. It is possibly of great comfort to rural people, but not to the literate…and I am starting to suspect that a great deal of the internet operates upon the same principles. I’m beginning to see what H.L. Mencken meant by ” Boobocracy “.

In a conversation with friends we reviewed the remarkable recent story of a rescue of trapped boys in a cave in Thailand – the drama and horror of it, the sad death of the Thai navy SEAL, and the sterling part played by the Australian anaesthesiologist in the eventual rescue. We agreed that the chap would make a great choice for the Australian of the Year.

But then we also speculated about the Elon Musk affair in connection with this…the foolish, impolite, and unsavoury publicity. And the likelihood of a Hollywood drama based upon it. I’m afraid we’re all cynics – we imagined the scriptwriters and studios of California turning what is essentially an Asian and Australasian story into something that could appeal to their home audience. Something simplified and nationalised for them…

Mr. Mencken, as you said many times…” You may be right…”.

Entertaining Sweet Poison

I have been reading a well-known web comic strip for a number of years – it is delightfully drawn with a number of quirky characters. The Sunday colour is magnificently done – Disney or Pixar at their best could do no better. The story lines some years have been as much fun as a Ghibli movie.

But every strip is attached to the artist’s personal life in some way – and some people’s personal lives take roads that I do not wish to walk. The case of Al Capp and Lil’ Abner is one such. I loved the strip, and still do when I see old repro books of it. So many of its characters are standard figures in my life – I knew the doubles for Mammy Yokum and Marryin’ Sam. I know the double for Joe Blftsxk right now – and I steer clear of him. I am still looking for Moonbeam McSwine…

Pogo by Walt Kelly was another. I collect such examples of his books and strips as I can find as they have a real echo of my childhood and youth about them. Kelly may have had his foibles, but he drew them into delightful creatures and amusing story lines without being crude or derivative. I don’t think anyone pulled or pushed Kelly in the political arena.

The current web comic artist has adopted political attitudes that are being pushed. I don’t think it’s affected his image work, but I do think he has set up a series of straw men and paper tigers to destroy for the benefit of other people’s opinions. In doing so he has lost mine.

I’m a mollusc when it comes to running away – a veritable bivalve. I shall not pull his plug until the end of the year. But if he continues in the way he has trended to…I’ll need to find another strip to replace him.

Breaking news: I have just canned the strip. And searched extensively for another to replace it – webcomics can be a very minimal artistic experience. But I’ve found one. It has a different world in it, but isn’t preachy. It is a funny comic strip.

Slugga Rye

The old movies were right. A slug of rye whiskey is the best way to solve the world’s problems. Or cause a bar fight.

The fact that a bar fight is the best solution to international tensions and the post-existential angst of shifting paradigms™ says a lot about the state of human relations. I find it a comfort in a changing world. The slugging and crashing of wooden chairs – the bartender ducking down below the line of fire – and the drunk being hurled through the window into the street gives me a warm glow. It’s been that way since kindergarten.

For a time there it was hard to find a bar in Perth that would serve straight rye. I tried the Victoria Hotel in Subiaco in about 2012 and got refused service at 1:30 in the afternoon based upon asking for a simple shot glass of whiskey with no water or ice . Apparently it contravened the state government regulations of Liquor, Gaming, and Making People Feel Uncomfortable. Times have changed, and I might have better luck in Perth today…though probably not at the Victoria Hotel. I’m not fashed – it’s hard to get parking in Subiaco anyway.

Most local Dan Murphys and Liquor Barons can now sell quite decent rye. There is still not the selection than a North American customer might find, but the situation has improved vastly. A home consumer* can feel comfortable.

The link between rye and prohibition is undeniable – just as it is with rough gin. That’s one of the attractions to it. It can be made into sophisticated and seductive solutions like the Manhattan or bashed down in shots like a cowboy or a gangster. It can be a highball anywhere on the North American continent. The Europeans probably look upon it with disdain, but what have they not? They would probably sneer at God and good health if they thought they came from the New World…

As an Australian who migrated from North America – a person who has not only one but two new worlds between him and the continental pig pen – I can celebrate the joy of rye whiskey. Smoother than scotch, devoid of the flavour of burnt moss. More masculine than gin, and more feminine as well. Possessed of a colour and an opinion that vodka never has. And free of the class snobbery of brandy. The only brother spirit is rum, and I say no bad thing about that. Rum and rye can sing together and damn the Governors!

*  ie a person not out on the roads. A person who can have another of the same and do it legally and safely. That second drink is the dangerous one – it either makes or breaks. Truth, sorrow, and appearances before the magistrate occur when the cork comes out for the second time. I only pull the cork twice when I am at home on front of my own hearth.

The Business Coach

I’ve seen two business coaches in my time.

One had air conditioning, six-wheel Bettendorf trucks, and a coloured bartender. It ran in the ” Empire Builder ” on the Great Northern Railway.

The other was a chap who couldn’t run a business himself but liked to tell other people how to run theirs. Of the two types, the GN coach painted orange and green was the useful one…

I note as well that there are coaches for any number of other endeavours; football, tennis, swimming – physical fitness – and ” life “.

I wonder about the last-named – do they pass out a set of instruction on a Xeroxed sheet? Do they shout at people through a megaphone? Do they have a whistle? Do they smell?

LIFE COACH INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Breathe in.
  2. Breathe out.
  3. Repeat for 90 years.
  4. Eat regularly.
  5. Excrete regularly. NOT NOW YOU FOOL! NOT HERE!
  6. Granville, ffetch a cloth…
  7. Sleep all night. If Mexican, sleep all day.
  8. Brush teeth twice daily. Yours or someone else’s.
  9. Wear clothing when outside.
  10. Do not drink alcohol made ” traditionally ” by anyone named Marko.
  11. Have a pet.
  12. Read books.
  13. Find a hobby.
  14. Find a mate.

That should about cover it and please leave the cheque for $ 4500 with the receptionist. You may have a boiled sweet from the bowl before you leave.

Note: the heading image was taken by Jeff Terry and I envy him the opportunity and skill to do such a fine job. I rode the Empire Builder from Libby, Montana in the 60’s and it was a class road all the way.