Saturday, November 28, 2009

Balancing Act

I feel like the last month I have been through the wringer and then stretched in every conceivable direction.  My thanks to each of you for understanding while this dog and pny show that I call my life has been unwinding.  Things should be getting better now that I have gotten beyond thanksgiving and moving towards Christmas.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Studebaker Update

I just heard from Mechanic and we have some bad news and some good news.

First the bad news.  EVIDENTLY someone at DAS attempted to jump the car when it failed to operate at some point in the transfer, and the didn't hook the jumper cables up correctly.  When they did so, it shorted out the electrical system on the Studebaker. 

The GOOD news is it all basic wiring and repairable, the battery is installed and the cooling system has been flushed and refilled. 

The bad news is that we're up to $350.

The GOOD News is that he also discovered that the break lights are out, the gas tank guage and the engine temperature guage are all non working, but they'll get fixed.  I say that this is good news because its all getting done and its basic safety stuff.

The bad news is that all of this costs money.

The GOOD news is that I set some aside.


The GREAT news is that the super structure of the car, once it went up on the lift, is OUTSTANDING.  Jeff said this thing is built like a tank and isn't all corroded up - Studebaker's are notorius rusters.  The car drives straight as an arrow.

So my mechanic has officially stated that for $2,500, plus the electrical repairs, I got a very solid car.  And he added "She ain't the type of girl that you fool around with; she's the type of old girl you take home to mother."  I'll take that.

So, after we get these little electrical things fixed she is ripe for the road.

But, he did beautiful work

What you see above is a man preparing a brisket, the one meat that is both universally Jewish, and a red neck delicacy. 

Better you see this than a picture from my Bris.

Why do I bring up my circumcision?  Well, yesterday was the 47th anniversary of my birth.  So it would follow that this coming Saturday would be the 47th anniversary will mark the covenant that my parents made with God for my well being by slicing off part of my penis on the seventh day of life.

Am I bitter?  You bet I am. 

As the story goes - according to my late great cousin (and God Mother) Joyce, the morning after my birth at Mount Sinai Hospital in Cleveland, my mother awoke to find three old Jewish men standing around her bed smiling.  Each, the story goes had a present for the baby.  One had a satin skull cap and prayer shawl, the other had a sterling silver rattle with a Hebrew letter on it symbolizing "to life!" and the third had a sterling silver mazzusah for the nursery.  Each spoke in broken English and each made a sales pitch for the business at hand on the seventh day.  My mother, drugged out of her mind, waved her hand at one of the men and the deal was done.

She picked, one Saul Shenkman.  A moil of great repute, and as my cousin Cousin Joyce pointed out, had a nickname on the street: Shaky Shankman.  Why Shakey?  Evidently Saul was in the beginning stages of Parkinson's disease.  "I can just imagine him serving a plate of Jell-O," Joyce said.

When I found this out several years ago, I confronted my mother.  "You gave of your only son over to man with a tremor?"

"What are you upset about.  You're here and in tact. The man did beautiful work.  Pediatricians admired Saul for his finesse."  Finesse?  I was a bit stunned: "finesse" is not a word that one usually associates with circumcision.

"And besides," she said, "it was easier for me to keep clean."  Boil any issue down and it always comes back to my mother and how its always about her needs.

Turns out I wasn't only one in the family to come under Saul Shenkman's artful hand.  He also had a go at my cousin Chip and my Cousin Brian.  Chip was adopted and I Joyce, Chip's mother, pointed out that the bris was done at their home.  I asked her, was it different for her when she handed her sons over to Shakey Shenkman.  "I was frantic.  But not because it was Saul so much as I was about the new carpet we had laid a couple weeks before.  And then there was the food.  Brisket. Oy."

While I am not one to bemoan the loss of things that I never knew, I am a bit honked about being snipped. In tact, I would have been in demand (wink, wink), but at the same point, how do you miss something that you never had?

And things could have been much worse than they turned out.  My two brothers - 13 and 9 years my senior - had been pestering my parents for weeks before I was born to name the baby Chauncey Oswald if it were a boy.  To be circumcised is bad enough.  But Chauncey Oswald?  

Seriously, what the fuck?

Still, I'm bitter. I just don't see why a male child has to go through this when it serves no real purpose. Its mutilation. What I want to know is: does God love me and more because I was circumcised?   Wasn't I made in his image?  Wasn't I perfect just like God intended?  Was it really necessary to Him, the Almighty and All Knowing that I lose part of my penis for Him to accept me?

Who knows; and God ain't talking.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Boo-Yeah! was a veritable rollercoaster of emotions yesterday:

YEAH! The wandering Studebaker arrived in Columbus and was delivered to my mechanic yesterday morning as planned.

Boo! She was very dirty from her three weeks on the lower rack of the car carriers.

YEAH! The mechanic got her fired up after recharging the battery.

Boo! But its a cheap Wal-Mart battery and she was stone cold dead this morning in the mechanics pen.

YEAH! But he's going to work on her this weekend and install a new battery.

Boo! But we got a good look at the inside.

YEAH! It can all be fixed.

Boo: She's a Monet.

Bottom line, and I am being practical, the car is going to need more cosmetic work than simple head on collision with a Clinque Tanker Truck.  However, life has taught me do not dwell in adversity, but instead plan for the a graceful way out.  So we have plan "A" and plan "B" in the works:

"A" - We keep her for the winter, safely tucked away in a garage and then wheel her out on a sunny spring afternoon and reappraise the situation.  If we do this, then I can use the winter to look for New Old Stock seat covers and then sell the car in June/July for a profit.

"B" - Trade the car for a silver Lark Regal sedan that I have been offered with a V-8 and A/C

So we're going to look at the V8 this weeknd and then we'll go on from there!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

My Studebaker Melodrama is reaching a Climax!

I knew that if I used the word Climax, you'd read this.

Well, it turns out that Miss Rose is but 40 miles from me as I type.  That is unless DAS has to make a delivery in someplace along the way - say, Kentucky.  Don't think I'm exaggerating dear ones - these people have allowed my Misty Rose colored Studebaker Lark Regal to wander all over God's green earth with no logic.

Anyway, she is within towing distance, and thats the most important thing imaginable.

She should get delivered to the local carrier tonight, and with any luck, should be dropped at the local gear shop in the morning to diagnose her malady that prevents her from running under her own power.  Hopefully they can fix that quick and I can get her home on Friday.  Wouldn't that be swell?

Oh, Rapacious Joy!

Found this and just had to share it!

Found this FABULOUS movie ad clipping about my Stepmonster at . It tickled me, so I am sharing it.  Believe me I have been far to obessed with my Studebaker Melodrama to be in the mood to scrounge around for original material. 

Whats notable about this film is that co-stars one of Joan Crawford's ex husbands.

You really should visit this blog though because there are many a gem to be found there. 

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Saab Story

She's come undone

First the bad news, my Studebaker won't get here until Friday at the earliest.  She's been to here to there to God know's where and DAS (Dependable Auto Shippers, but I think it means Dumb Ass Shitlickers) which has been promising November 18th all of a sudden pushed it back to the November 20th.  So she won't be here for my birthday on Sunday.


...if it could get any worse they tell me that she is non-operating.  Well, the car was certainly operating when you picked it up, you fuck-wits, I thought to myself.  I did reply "Oh," and then said "then maybe you should talk to my attorney..." No response. 

I'm seriously wondering if I will ever see my car, let alone be able to drive it.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

So full of irony

Hmmmm. Or should that be: Himmmm. Who would have thought that this 1927 billboard in Los Angeles California could so fully explain and express the real motivation on why single men would frequent the YMCA so succinctly? Of course their were the above board reasons why a man would want to go to the YMCA to meet another man - for the fellowship, of course. And then there is the reason for a man needing to meet another man for a different type of fellowship. The type where one strapping man would need the firm grip of another man to help through life's hard spots. The YMCA must have been on heck of an impressive erection to hold so many meanings for so many.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Couple days of R&R

Will be taking a couple days of R&R off while I recover from an episode of diverticulitis.  Its a chronic condition that I have lived with since 2003 so I am used this and know that my mind will be mush for the next few days.  See you on Monday if not before.  And remember - stay as sweet as you are!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Miss Rose - stuck in Texas

Well the latest on Miss Rose is that she is in Texas, loaded on a truck bound for Illinois. So she's moving in the right direction, but I want my car....

Anyway I found this fabulous 1963 advertising postcard on eBay and snapped it up because it is the correct model of Studebaker Lark, the Regal, which was anything but regal.  Still I think it looks snazzier than a Chevrolet Biscayne, and oh, so continental with its ersatz Mercedes grille.  Studebaker Packard had the US Distributorship agreement for Benz from the 1950s through the 1960s.  In fact many longtime Benz dealerships (in Columbus, Germain M-B came from Ed Potter M-B, which started out as Ed Potter Studebaker) today started out as Studebaker or Packard dealerships.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Teacher, teacher

While cutting the grass today I decided to try and remember the names of my teachers in Shaker, being that its been 32 years since I have been estanged from that place:

Mercer School
Kindergarten: Mrs. Bauter
First Grade: Mrs. (Grace) Smiley
Second Grade: Miss (Elizabeth) Vermullen (or was it Vermeullen?)
Third Grade: Mrs. Rankin
Fourth Grade: Mrs. McLaughlin
Fifth Grade, Mrs. Brack
Sixth Grade, Mrs (Blanche) Brown (first half of year)
Reading skills, Mrs. Golden, grades 2-6th

Oldman Transitional School (private school for kids with Dyslexia)
Sixth Grade, Miss Creed (second half of year)

Byron Junior High School
Seventh Grade Home Room and Art - Mr. Harmon
Seventh Grade, English - Dr. (Mary) Reilly
Seventh Grade, Wood Shop - Mr. Van Ness
Seventh Grade, Gym - Mr. (Larry) Frye
Seventh Grade, Math - Mr. (John) Federer
Seventh Grade, Social Science, Mr. Hawthorne
Seventh Grade, Science - Mr. (Mahlon) Franks/Mr. Gerwin
Eighth Grade, Communicating Arts, Mr. Mallin

Eighth Grade, Home Room, Mr. Bechtel
Eighth Grade, Mechanical Drafting - Mr. Tappenden
Eighth Grade, Science, Mr. Alt
Eighth Grade, English, Miss Beavers
Eighth Grade, Social Science, Miss. Urban
Eighth Grade, Reading, Miss (Sara) Bloomfield
Eighth Grade, Art, Mr. Richards
Eighth Grade, Math, Mr. Bailey
Eighth Grade, Phys Ed, Mr. Frye

Of, all the teachers, Mrs. Golden was my favorite and she's remained a family friend for all these years. Then Mrs. Smiley - everyone else just falls into semi-forgettable.

The least favorite? Its a tie between Second Grade's Miss Vermullen and Sixth Grade's Blanche Brown.

Miss Vermullen was just a crappy teacher. She was young and in way over her head and she didn't return the year after I had her. But my mother will always remember her as the teacher who called me "dumb, stupid and a slow learner." This despite Stanford Acheivement test scores that were off the grid. And then they discovered that I was so near sighted that I couldn't see the black board (which at Mercer were Green). Well I got my glasses and things improved.

While Elizabeth Vermullen never insulted me to my face, Blanche Brown did just that, and then lied about it. Brown and I got off to a bad start from word one, literally. On the first day she called my name and I responded with a "Yo" and was repremanded in front of the whole class. That would be the high water mark between her and I - things rapidly fell apart, one thing or another. At one time she tried to give me an "F" on a paper saying that I had copied someone else - my mother who was getting tired of Brown's BS had me hauled before the Principle to answer questions about my paper, which I might add that answered honestly and correctly. Dr. Miller restored my grade then things got really bad.

It started over the reading group. I was a lousy reader, but I had superior comprehension so Brown placed me in the top reading group at the onset of school. In December, she removed me without reason, in front of the whole class and moved me to the lowest reading group. When I asked why (also in front of the whole class) I was told not to question her. At home I told my mother what she said, but added something about my own feelings to the effect of "She must think I'm stupid."

My mother, still pissed about the Vermullen years, and having reached her breaking point with the woman she described as the "Yetti of Mercer School" went in for the kill while I stayed home from school. The next day I went back to school but got pulled from the bus line by Brown who wanted to know why I said that she said I was stupid. I said that I felt that way and it was because she docked me the reading group levels. She stated that she wouldn't stand for a liar in her class; thats when I sealed my fate: "You're a bitch."

You could feel the chill fall over the room. We were, how do you say it, "done".

Before you could say Hi Ho and away we go, I was signed up for a private school and I was yanked from sixth grade.

In the end, it was the best thing possible for me. I loved being at OTS, even if I was terrified of the nuns. And Brown continued to terrorize the students, most of which have told me that she figered someone else to be her fall guy for the second semester.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Secondhand Rose, touring America!

Well we've been checking up on the Studebaker, now nicknamed Aunt Rose, and it is quite possible that she should have been named Miss Daisy because she is being chauffeured about. Aunt Rose, who was purchased from a man in Silverhill, Alabama, and is being transported to us by DAS at great expense, is making her way to us in a most circuitous fashion.

Thursday she left Alabama for Milton, Florida where DAS has a transport terminal.

Friday she sat in Milton, waiting, as many of us do, for ones name to be called.

Then on Friday night things got exciting - She was officially "in transport" which means she was loaded to a trailer with cars and her trip was underway.

So far today, Aunt Rose passed through Alabama one last time on her way to Biloxi, Mississippi. She then went Algiers, Louisiana, then onto Lafayette, Louisiana and at last check in was someplace called LaPlace Louisiana.

So if you look at the maps is now further away from me then when I bought her?

So we're wondering where fate will take her next. I'm thinking Texas; the husband thinks that the transport truck will, at some point sooner, rather than later, head North. I am dubious.

Toys that Made Us Gay - Fast Forward to 1:47 mark

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Studebaker Update: Good news, at least

Well Miss Rose Studebaker is in transport from Alabama, and I was finally able to connect with my insurance agent when I got the good news on insuring Miss Rose. 

Full coverage, exactly as I am covered on my Maxima, but with a classic car designation - meaning that I will drive her in parades, to car meets, to and from maintenance appointments with the occassion drive about to keep her in fit form - cars are meant to be driven and if left just parked all sorts of things (flat spots on tires, thickening oil, etc) go wrong - will only cost me a total of....$55 a half. 

Thats right. 

This car will only cost me a $110 a year to cover everything including comprehensive, liability, etc and so on through a major mutuial insurance company.  I just can't use her for a daily driver.

Now if the damned thing would just get here!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Damsels of Design

Photo courtesy of the GM Photo Store at  Now go buy a copy.
The women in this image were a team of 1950s talented GM automotive designers known collectively as the Damsels of Design. Back row - left to right are Sue Vanderbilt, Ruth Glennie, Harley Earl, Jeanette Linder, and Peggy Sauer. Front row - left to right are Marjory Ford Pohlman, and Sandra Longyear.

Yesterday I mentioned Peggy Sauer who was hired as a designer for Oldsmobile in the mid 1950s.  Peggy was part of a broader group, referred to as the Damsels of Design.  Harley Earl - GM's legendary Vice President of Design came up the idea and earl hired six women designers to add their input into the auto design world just as American's were accepting the idea that a two car family was going to be the norm, not the exception.

The women were given various tasks, and showed their talents, coming up with interior ideas, color combinations and suggestions for improved interior designs.

Unfortuntaly for Earl and the ladies, Earl's heir apparent Bill Mitchell didn't care for women in the mans world of auto design.  After Earl retired Mitchell and the "Damsels" parted company.  While Mitchell came up with some beautiful cars while Overlord of the design area, he did lay a couple two ton eggs that went a long way to damage GM's leadership, including the 1971 Buick Riveria, the 1974-76 Cadillacs and his swan song ode to pimps everywhere, the 1980 Cadillac Seville.

Monday, November 2, 2009

By appointment to her Majesty, the American Woman...

The 1955 and 1956 Dodge La Femme

Being that I am now the owner of a "Rose Mist" vintage car myself, I decided to go looking for other bits of automania from the 1950s and the 1960s that put the driver in the "pink" as it were.

I have known about the Dodge La Femme for years and seen one - just one - one time on the streets of Columbus about 25 years ago.  When I told my friend Jody it sent her into all consuming spasms of desire. 

And whats not to love?

The car was developed as a way of marketing to women at the time that most Americans - just not the well to do - were considering a second family car.  The thinking was, that cars were inherently male things, even though the men that drove them referred to them as "she" and "her", as in "she's a beaut!"

Oldsmobile (and did you know you rearrange that into spelling Slob Model if you lose the "i") actually went so far as to hire a woman named Peggy Sauer to their design team in the mid 1950s and marketed her as the female member of the design staff, which implied that poor Peggy was a token, and that she was given token work.  Poor Peggy.

SO the Dodge boys - a bunch of heterosexual brutes - came up with the idea that to make a car attractive to a woman, they had to "Fem" the damned thing out in "Fem" colors.  To make it ever so gay, they picked a total pallet of color that encompassed white, pink, orchid and another shade of orchid, and then some charcol (not black because that was a mans color) and then added in some gold trim for good measure.  All of this was splashed, bathed and applied to the regular old Dodge, and was christened the LaFemme, in script no less, just in case anyone got it wrong and thought that this was a mans car.

Inside the straight guys went even more over the top.  The figured that women expected a car to come with a matching parasol and raincoat, and a purse too.  Because that's what women want, right?

Wrong.  Its hard to sell a car in these colors just for a woman when the same colors are showing up on other cars.  And "pink", except for a few years in the 1950s simply isn't a popular car color, unless you're selling a lot of Mary Kay cosmetics.

Well, the car flopped, but it did so with great panache.  And , it turned out that women just wanted a car, and men didn't want to be seen driving the things.  So Dodge sold a few and then very quietly exited the business. 
Thank God for car collectors - else wise these cheery reminders of female oppression would have all gone to the trash heap. 

But if you see one, take a minute and really think about what it represents, and relish the moment.  These cars are rarer then rubies.  Just a handful survive.  And if you see a stout hearted fellow driving the thing, salute him.  "God love you!" call out, because that is something that the Dodge people never thought would be: a man with real balls to drive one.