Roger is bored and wants to ramble on


The Countdown Has Started!

And I’m late to the game. Six days… or is it five?

The good folks at Big Finish Games have made a short demo version of “The Tesla Effect” available here.

If, after playing the demo (and you’d better hurry), you want more, you can pre-order the game from that page for $17.99, save a couple bucks, and get a FREE copy of the greatest Tex Murphy adventure ever, “The Pandora Directive.” If you snooze, you lose. (Note: I can spell lose correctly. Mrs. Richardson taught me that in the sixth grade. Everybody else was sleeping and still thinks it’s spelled “loose.” WRONG!)

I discovered Tex in a game demo for “Under A Killing Moon” on a CD from a long-dead magazine a LONG time ago, and I’m hooked. I had my first computer then. I had an Intel 486-33 processor with an astounding 4 megabytes of RAM. Wahoo! It was a pain to use because I cheap-charlied the hard drive and bought only 255 megabytes. But then again, they didn’t make a hard drive that could hold all the programs I wanted to install. I still have that computer, by the way, and it does work when I have a fit of nostalgia.

I also paid a LOT more than $17.99 for “The Pandora Directive,” not to mention “Under A Killing Moon”, and they were worth it. Now you can get two games for Cheap! If you act now! BUT, read the fine print before you act.

Your mileage may vary. You may not like Tex. I do. You get that, right!

Note: This breathless hyper-partisan Tex Murphy fan reserves the right to downgrade “The Pandora Directive” from the status of “greatest Tex Murphy adventure ever” after he finishes playing the Tesla Effect at least three times. I am hopeful that the Tesla Effect will become “the greatest ever.”

Very big important note: You have to have a computer with a real video card in it. Computers with video on the motherboard DON’T CUT IT. I know; I tried six of them, including a brand new Dell Optiplex 9020 with umpty bigabytes of memory, and a bazillion-core processor, but on-motherboard video. Please note the ridiculous exaggeration. Perhaps the issue is that the beta-test segment did not include the trilobytes of crap that Microsoft requires for each program that runs on their computers. We’ll see.

Anyway, 32-bit Windows XP, 2 gigabytes of RAM and at least a dual-core processor will work. Meaning a computer built some time in the past 5 years, but ya gotta have a REAL video card! I put a Diamond Radeon HD6450 into an ancient Dell Optiplex 330 running 32-bit XP with 2 gb RAM and 400,000 or so XP updates, and it worked. Pay attention, not all PCI-Express cards are alike. They screwed with the “standard.” Newer PCI-Express cards will not fit into older cases because they really take up TWO slots. That was a $90 lesson for me. I bought a PCI-Express 2.0 compliant card and it would NOT fit into the case that was PCI-Express 1.0 compliant. The slot was fine; the card was HUMONGOUS and bashed into other parts inside the case. I’d have to use a saw to cut a chunk out of the motherboard to get that card in the case. Anyway, for those of you who are not in the habit of hanging on to perfectly functional and useful electronic equipment that software manufacturers don’t want you to use anymore because you won’t deplete your bank account buying new software you neither need nor want, you shouldn’t have a problem.

That’s a lot better than games in the mid-90s when you needed a custom-built computer that was less than four weeks old with more RAM than NASA used in the entire Mercury/Gemini/Apollo space programs combined. It would have taken a Cray helium-cooled supercomputer in 1995 to run the Tesla Effect today.

To the people at Big Finish Game… THANK YOU!

Oh, by the way. I saw a Tesla electric car plugged into a charging station by the Jack in the Box restaurant today, and it wasn’t on fire. Those sparky cars scare me.

Someday we’ll all be driving a Speeder like Tex. Perhaps I should say “you’ll.” I’ll be dead by then.

Tex Lives! Soon!

I finally got the beta test version of the Tesla Effect (aka The Fedora Project) running on a computer. I do hope they get that issue solved before the game is released on April 22nd. Fantastic. Based on what I’ve seen in the short test version, it has been worth the wait.

Check out the latest teaser at Big Finish Games

Crazy, Where Did 2013 Go?

Tex Murphy is about to come out of his long coma according to his alter-ego Chris Jones, and those of us who dropped crazy amounts of cash on this Kickstarter project will soon be immersed in exploring the beta version of the Tesla Effect. Well, if it works on ancient computer hardware/software, that is. It had better! All I have is ancient crap.

2014 is the last model year for the Toyota FJ Cruiser, so I had to get mine while it was still 2013. Huh? Right! 2014 vehicles are built in 2013. When I bought my 1998 Pontiac (RIP) Grand Am in early 1998, they were hard to find. Pontiac wasn’t making 1998 cars in 1998, they were… not making anything because the union workers needed a long unpaid vacation, not to mention the fact they were trying to figure out how to build 1999 model cars that were different from the 1998 models, and that was in 1998. I had my choice of white or black. Yuck! I chose white. Like choosing vanilla instead of chocolate; maybe I should have chosen chocolate.

Somewhere around 2006 or 2007, I was on my way from Quincy, Illinois, to Barry, and I saw this marvelous machine near the Sonic restaurant, and I thought, that’s one cool machine. I want one! Well, finances said forget it, and my Grand Am was in great shape so time funs when you’re having flies. Flash forward to the GREAT GLOBAL WARMING DISASTER OF DISASTER FOREVER AND EVER AMEN WHERE ALL HUMANS DROWN AND DUCKS RULE, so I thought I’d better get a four-wheel drive machine before those boiling hot glaciers came screaming down the valley at 900 miles an hour. I sure didn’t want to be boiled alive in a glacier, so I’d better be able to outrun them. Idiots scream about global warming, and I’m freezing my ass off. It ain’t warming if you’re FREEZING!

“It’s snowing.” Run for your lives, it’s global warming!
“It’s 104 degrees.” Run for your lives, it’s global warming!
“It’s normal.” HORROR OF HORRORS! WE’RE DOOMED! IT’S GLOBAL WARMING! We’ll all die in 5 years. No, wait, 10 years. Hold on, maybe it’s 20 years. Was it last year? Oh guru of the Cult of Global Warming, what is the current talking point? I’m confused! When is the GREAT GLOBAL WARMING DISASTER OF DISASTERS going to kill all of us overnight? Oh! Tuesday? You’re sure about that? Really?


Which of you reading this now remember in the 1970s when the SAME PEOPLE now screaming about global warming were screaming about the next ice age starting before the year 2000? I do. Bah! It’s all about getting stupid politicians to give them millions of dollars to study the catastrophe du jour. When the bucks run out, it’s time to create a new life-ending disaster to keep the dollars flowing. Otherwise they’d have to get a job at Wal-Mart as a greeter, or work at McDonalds cleaning tables. Remember this everytime you see a poll: Figures don’t lie, but liars can figure. Thank you, Richard Helm for that piece of wisdom.

For example: Cancer is caused by saccharine. We know this conclusively because we ran over a mouse with a dump truck loaded with 10 tons of saccharine and after testing the squished mouse we saw it had CANCER! HORRORS! Give us 10 bajillion dollars to study this conclusively demonstrated, inarguable link between saccharine and cancer. Oh, by the way, we have a 4 week seminar planned for the Bahamas this fall. WINK WINK, WOULD YOU LIKE TO JOIN US?

We now resume our irregularly scheduled ramblings…

So, after 15 wonderful years of driving the best car I have ever owned, I got my 2014 FJ Cruiser in 2013 while they were still available. I had my choice of Puke Orange, Army Green, Sand, Puke Orange, Army Green, Army Green, or Army Green, not to mention Army Green. Well, Mr. Salesman, I want Cement like this brochure, or even Papa Smurf Blue. Sorry, that was Sooooo last year; how about Army Green?

I chose Army Green.

Why abandon my beloved Grand Am? Well, at 137,000 miles and 15 years, it has entered the nickel and dime stage of car life (or is it hundreds and thousands stage?). And then there is the fact that I have gotten older, and it is getting harder to fold, spindle, and mutilate myself getting into a vehicle where my ass is dragging on the pavement. That goes hand in hand with all the folks who are driving vehicles about 9 feet higher than a Grand Am. I couldn’t see anything in front of me anymore. Even my 91-year-old father liked the FJ over the Grand Am because of its hand-hold so he could hoist himself into the seat. Gotta love that. When I was a kid, I wanted a hot-rod Dodge Challenger/Charger (you choose) and a Jeep CJ5. So I’ve had the Challenger substitute in the Grand Am, and now it’s time for the CJ5 substitute in the FJ Cruiser. The FJ is a much better choice, I must say.

I understand why Toyota dropped thew FJ Cruiser since the last year’s sales records showed a total of 13,000 or so sold. In its short life span, I think there are less than 250,000 on the roads today. I am happy I have mine.

The point of all that is that since I will be paying for this new vehicle for the next lifetime or so, I won’t be able to take the cruise to Gardner Island in the summer of 2015.  But, if you have a loose 10 grand or so looking for a place to park, that is not in Obama’s bank account, check out this site: Betchart Expedition cruise to Gardner Island

No, you won’t find Amelia’s bones; they were found long ago. But what a great journey. I’ll have to win a lottery if I expect to be on it. And the fantasies go on and….

That’s why I call it my ramblings. I never know where I’m going but I enjoy the ride. I hope you do too.’

Maybe I should add some music. Here’s a song by a JJ Cale and improved by Brother Phelps. Anyway The Wind Blows. I am NOT responsible for Google’s annoying advertisements. I don’t like them either. I wish they had a timer that would show the nanoseconds it takes for victims to click the Skip Ad button.

Hard To Keep Up

Blogs are like children, I think, since I don’t have any children, but they have to be constantly fed. This blog is malnourished at best.

I have been keeping up with Project Fedora, the code name for the next Tex Murphy adventure. It has a real name now, “Tesla Effect.” I confess, I did not like the name at first because I couldn’t imagine why they would be making a game about electric cars. Then I looked up the name Tesla. Interesting stuff. Nikola Tesla would probably be suing the car company for stealing his name and ruining his reputation, if he were still alive, that is. The good folks at Big Finish Games recently showed a trailer of the game at the Salt Lake City ComiCon (or is it Comic Con), and I now see the name as stroke of semi-genius. Look up Nikola Tesla, then watch the trailer at

The game will be in a far more serious mood than I prefer, but I am really looking forward to the experience of playing it.

From Chicago to Amarillo

I have a personal private blog I use for free-form therapeutic thinking. On rare occasions, I write things that will not offend the rest of my fellow citizens of the known or unknown universes.

“Really,” you say. “Then those posts must be really bad compared to all the garbage I’ve read on your blog so far.”

You are so right. But here’s something that I cleaned up and is rated G.

And then Peter Cetera said, “…sometimes you dressed goofy, looked weird, and did stupid things that you’re embarrassed about, and yeah…*”

Well, Pete old boy, you didn’t have to be a rock star to dress goofy, look weird, and do stupid things. That completely sums up my childhood. As for those stupid things… I tried to patent them, but they were invented 42 million years ago and are in the public domain. The patent office will give a patent for the color brown, but they won’t patent wearing high-water green jeans in grade school.

“Are you ready,” he said?

She smiles a becoming smile, nods, and Peter sings…

and I cry, and I feel… old and young at the same time.

That was Sasha Cohen and Brian Boitano in 2008.

The album Chicago 16 was released in June 1982. I was leaving Bravo Battery, 4th Battalion, 1st ADA, of the 11th ADA Brigade (Fort Bliss) for the 59th Military Police Company in Germany. I was only peripherally aware of music at the time, although I did see Susan Raye sing at the Caravan East, and heard Terry Stafford sing his original song “Amarillo by Morning” on KHEY. I later heard “Hard To Say I’m Sorry” in the movie, “Summer Lovers.” The movie is NOT rated G. It was rated R, but that was under the seriously relaxed criteria for R movies of the time. I think the MPAA would rate it PG today.

For those of you born yesterday, Peter Cetera was the bass player and singer for the group “Chicago” from 1969 to 1985. Since then he has charted his own path through the private and musical worlds. He has only improved with time.

*Okay! The quote is from this interview. It’s 27 minutes long.

If I Could Ask One Question of…

Roy Clark, it would be…

Rats. I’d need two, but here’s the one I discarded: “Roy, how did you get your fingers to move so fast on that guitar fretboard?”

Don’t answer that. That’s not it. I suspect all you great guitar players figured out how to wire the strings to zap you with electric shocks if you didn’t keep up with the tempo.

No. Here’s the real question.

“Roy, did you ever sell all 50,000 copies of your “third” album from the trunk of your blue Nash in that Las Vegas parking lot?”

I mean, really, it’s been bugging me since I heard your album “Roy Clark Live.” It’s interesting that my 33 1/3 LP lasted longer than the hotel where the album was recorded: The Landmark. It was a famous Hollywood star in its day, from a cameo in “Diamonds Are Forever*” (at age two) to that piece of crap one-line joke (on its death bed and burial) that took two hours to get there… “Mars Attacks.” Okay, so the movie was only 106 minutes; that was 100 minutes and $5.50 too much. Even though I liked Roger Whitaker, I did enjoy the one-liner at the end. Reminds me of the joke about the moth…

Hmm, maybe I should pre-empt some violence. After taking you on a long buggy ride, the punch line is, “Have you ever seen a moth ball.” Of course, the person flirting with death meant… “moth bawl.” They should have blown up the movie instead of the hotel. It wouldn’t even have made good ukulele picks.

Well, at least I have learned “Streets of Bakersfield” on my bass (it’s all quarter notes). Now all I need is a band with which to play it. Give me a couple months and I’ll have “Are You Sure Hank Done It This Way” down pat. If I can only figure out how to stop the strings from making noise when they aren’t supposed to make noise.

I think Roy lives in Tulsa these days. I’ll be there later this year, maybe I should look him up. He’s 10 years younger than my father, who is seriously P.O.ed that he can’t build houses and run marathons at 90, but is otherwise doing okay.

*It was the exterior elevator scene, which cut to a sound stage somewhere in England.

Is It Springtime Yet?

Wow, months go by, and one day I wonder where they all went…

The Fedora Project is proceeding quite well from what I read on the exclusive backer’s blog. I submitted my photo for the game a long time ago, and I’m getting anxious to see where they put it. Will I be a mutant? Nah! Everybody’s thought that about me from birth; me too. They keep asking me what planet I came from, but I’m not sure. My folks didn’t tell me. I really hope it’s not on an “evil Tex” path because I’ll never find it that way. The next challenge is to figure out which photo I want to be used for the poster with Tex Murphy. I have some ideas about that, but it will have to be a secret for now.

As a high level backer, I’ve downloaded and played through the two Rita James episodes from Big Finish Games, (BFG) “Escape From Thunder Island,” and “The Race To Shangri-La.” I highly recommend them. Each game took three or four evenings in two or three hour shots, or, perhaps more, it’s easy to lose track of time playing these games. (Note to people who can’t spell: lose means it’s lost – gone – you can’t find it;  loose means it’s running free or it’s rattling around in the scuppers making noise you don’t want to hear. For example: Did you lose them? Yes, I lost my marbles, and I don’t know where they are. Is it loose? Yes, it’s rolling around in the scuppers making a terrible noise.) This grammatical interlude is brought to you by the memory of Bob McGiffert, former/late UM professor of Journalism. Also note: Journalism is the ancient and long dead art of reporting the news in an impartial manner. The last known commission of an act of journalism was some time in the 1950s, although this is only a rumor. The occupation of Journalism has been replaced by “social justice” and “social engineering.” See also: local newspaper, network “news.” I know: I have a university degree in “journalism.”  During my years at J-school there were two token journalists and umpty-something social engineers.

And now back to our irregularly scheduled ramblings.

Of course, you can spread these games out over more evenings if you want to, but I found the stories compelling enough to keep at them long after I should have gone to bed. The crazy thing is I’m not sure where anyone can get them. The Big Finish Games web site doesn’t seem to have a way to buy them. Hmmmm. This place may have “Race To Shangri-La.” 10 bucks.

I also played the BFG Jess Silloway game, entitled “3 Cards to Midnight.” I truly regret that I cannot recommend this game. The Tex Murphy and Rita James story lines are fun. Rita James certainly is fun; I love that dimwit: Tex is fun if you are, but that’s up to you. Jess Silloway is not even close to fun or satisfying. I was definitely uncomfortable with its occult basis. As a Christian, I found it unsettling and unsatisfying. I played the easy wimp route, and that was more than I should have. We  have enough trouble in this world without trying to pretend that Satan is the good guy. Satan is why bombs blow up in Boston. Satan is why the World Trade Center is a hole in the ground. “He who has ears, let him hear.”

Give me a minute on the reference; my bookshelf is a mess. I can’t find my King James version, only the New International Version that I read in Papua New Guinea.

Okay, got it; in many places. It seems it was one of Jesus’ favorite exhortations to people who refused to listen to truth. Start with Matthew 11:15. I think the point is that the truth is not always what you want to hear. Satan is always trying to bypass your brain to tell you that what is undeniably true is a lie. Perhaps that is why Jesus said it so often.

… and then you readers wonder, “why did I read this?”  Because I Just Come Here For The Music. Ahh, the lovely Allison Krause.

And now that I have you in my clutches, BWHAHHH HAHHHH HAHHHH, Why don’t we Imagine That. Don’t walk, RUN out to your local music store and buy Don Williams’ latest album, “And So It Goes.”

For those inclined to torture themselves with my ramblings, stay tuned for me playing the bass to Dwight Yoakam’s and Buck Owens’ version of “Streets of Bakersfield.” Oh wow, that means setting up a goober tube channel and buying a decent vidcam doojingle, but I think I have to do it. You will regret it, but remind yourself that it could be much worse; I could try to play the mandolin intro to “Streets of Bakersfield.” I can’t even play the mandolin part of Rod Stewart’s “Maggie May,” but that would probably be sweet music compared to “Streets of Bakersfield.” Better get that Fender MandoStrat soon.

Mandolins, Stratocasters, Telecasters, Bassmasters, etc. My fingers rebel. Don’t do this to us, they say. We are old and slow, and the Irish Washerwoman is but a pleasant memory of our youth. Yet my super duper el cheapo Metallic Blue Squier Precision Bass sings Siren songs to me… “come play me… I’ll make you a star…” To which I reply….[deleted] and I did too. But I’m catching on to old Mr. Root Fifth with his chordal notes. I’ll have him nailed in a week or so.

My coworker says I have to name my musical instruments. I am not sure why; Eric Clapton has something to do with it. Anyway, the bass is “Wump” because it sits on its wump most of the time. The Fender Stratocaster (Midnight Wine with Rosewood fretboard) is “Sleeping Beauty” because it is beautiful and spends most of its time sleeping. The Metallic Blue Squier Telecaster (it’s super-duper cheap, but it sounds great) is named Mug; you get the picture. Third note or whatever: The metallic blue on the Indonesian-made bass is not the same as the metallic blue on the Chinese-made Telecaster. They’re close, but noticeably different. Dear Mr. Squier Fender Corporation, take a lesson from the folks at Gatorade. Send your people around the world to make sure the colors match; it’s important. I mean, really, would you give Buck Owens and the Buckaroos instruments that didn’t match? That’s like Marty Robbins singing “A White Sport Coat and a Pink Crustacean” in a Hawaiian shirt, short pants, and deck shoes. The last time I was was in Indonesia, the exchange rate was somewhere near 1750 rupiah to the dollar. Now I think it’s somewhere in the range of 247 googleplex rupiah to the penny. They were using aluminum for coins of less than 100 rupiah; I have some in my collection.

Still with me? Now you know why I call this Roger’s Ramblings.

I haven’t come up with a name for the mandolin. It is simply “my mandolin.” It’s lovely, so I should call it Olivia, after my first and only true love whom I never met and who doesn’t know me from whale poop in the Marianas Trench. The problem is that Olivia is from Manchester, England, by way of Australia, and my mandolin is from China by way of steam ship, diesel, row boat, cargo container on a canoe, whatever. Definitely not as romantic. But Olivia it is from here everafter.

Have a nice day, and a better tomorrow. That’s not the correct name of the song, but I did say RUN to get Don Williams latest album.

2012 in review

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The new Boeing 787 Dreamliner can carry about 250 passengers. This blog was viewed about 890 times in 2012. If it were a Dreamliner, it would take about 4 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

Music… Again… Still?

“Take My Breath Away.” Have I been here before? But it’s so delicious, indulge me. I’m old, sort of, can’t remember. And distracted by my model railroad, etc. Ooh, the old man’s babbling again. Hide the children!

I’ve found two versions of the song, and I can’t decide which is better. I think they are both great versions of the same song. Usually, I think the original is the best, but on occasion a different rendition is equally appealing, and sometimes the redo is so superior to the original version it is a shame the original was ever heard outside of a shower stall. (see “Little Wing” – Jimi Hendrix [original - for the youngsters] and The Corrs [the mega-superior redo].)

With “Take My Breath Away,” maybe it’s simply because the music is so good it’s difficult to screw it up. It’s not that it hasn’t happened before; the list of screwed up songs is extremely long, but I haven’t yet heard (and don’t want to hear) a lousy version of Take My Breath Away. And here are the contenders…

The amazing original artists… Berlin

and the beautiful challenger Jessica Simpson

(Sorry about the stupid commericials. I don’t control that. I wish I could.)

I love Terri Nunn’s voice. It send chills up my spine on this song, but then I also love Jessica’s voice for its different quality. I can’t choose; they are both fantastic versions. No, I am not in love with them; I just like their voices. Olivia is my forever love, even though I think she’s nuts now. Woooh, crazy dude. Get the duct tape! Tie him up.

Hey, the movie this song was shackled to sucked, but that’s another story to be dealt with another day. But, okay, pop quiz. How many of you when you were watching the movie, for the first time, instantaneously knew without question or doubt the millisecond you heard the call sign “Goose” that that character was dead meat?

OKAY! Every living human on planet Earth with at least one functional brain cell knew that the “Goose was cooked” the millisecond he was introduced. I thought so. Why else would they name him Goose? I don’t think I embarrassed myself by laughing out loud at that one as much as I did when I watch “Star Trek – The Motion Sickness” at the Fox Theater. I was thoroughly bored until Captain Kirk slapped his hand on Spock’s shoulder and said in unbelievable tones, “Spock, we need you.” I was howling. If I had been in an aisle seat, I would have been rolling in the aisle. I quickly realized that not one other person in the theater caught the homage to 1930s slapstick humor, so I stopped laughing out loud. I guess they thought I was a heretic. The Marx Brothers would have been proud of that scene.

I really came to hate most movies in the 80s. I eventually referred to them as “dead girlfriend” or “dead buddy” movies. It was so easy to rack up the body count in the first few minutes of a movie. The closer the character was to the hero, the more certain the character was dead before the end of the movie. It was only a matter of how violent the death would be.

There were, however, movies worth watching in the 1980s, but there weren’t many. It’s too bad that Hollywood et. al. have only produced a total of a dozen movies since 1990. You’d think someone with an old, but functional, double-8mm camera and a Keystone 500-watt movie light would be willing to shoot a blockbuster movie. It’s obvious the movie studios aren’t interested anymore. Of course, it would be tough to get the film developed. I have the light and camera, a Bell & Howell Two-Fifty-Two, but it doesn’t work any more.

This one belonged to my late aunt. Somewhere in my collection of junk I have a 50′ reel with “Terror at the Square Root of 50,000 Feet” on it. It was a “DB Cooper style” hi-jacker flick I made with some friends using this camera. We spared no expense. The Boeing 747 we crashed in the snow was a Revell kit, and the flames were supplied by wood burning in the fireplace. Big budget stuff.

Oh, another note, when I heard the name “Jessica Simpson” a long time ago I thought she was Bart’s sister. I wasn’t about to waste my time with an idiotic cartoon character. Foolish me. Sorry, Jessica (not Bart’s sister) Simpson.

As Max said, “For Stewie!”

We’re all ‘Slipping Away.’

The Bomb, The Pig, and The Pumpkin

One of the many things I wish is that I were a story teller. So many people have the gift of telling (and embellishing) stories of things that happened in their lives no matter how unpleasant the situation may have been.

The title of this post popped into my head a few months ago, and I had to laugh. Most people might think it would be a story about a homicidal swine in a garden, but they would be wrong. The Bomb wasn’t a bomb, The Pig wasn’t a pig, but during cold winters it certainly was a pig of another kind, and The Pumpkin was just orange. No, this story would be one of automobiles.

The Bomb was a 1950s Pontiac Chieftan a friend’s father owned. During our high school years, it took us to many basketball games and other events around town. But as with many a twenty-year-old car, it was not in the best condition. I hope I never forget the frozen night after we watched a basketball game at the university and it wouldn’t start. One of us got the bright idea of pouring some gas into the carburetor to prime it. Oh boy, that’ll do it! Someone else turned the ignition key, and the Bomb nearly lived up to its name. Flames blew out of the carburetor and started burning various other pieces and assorted parts.

So, what does a group of wannabe rocket scientists do? Why, break the ice on puddles and throw water on the fire, of course. Everybody knows you can’t put out a fire with snow. Well, water doesn’t work either, I am here to tell you.

After a few frantic moments of wondering whether it was time to run, the fire died down. I don’t remember what we really had to do to get it running, but we got home with a story to tell. NASA must have heard about it so we fledgling rocket scientists started thinking about different careers. Memory fades after time, but I think the last time I heard of The Bomb, it was terrorizing Cadillacs on the Dan Ryan Expressway in Chicago. It cleared traffic faster than Dick Tracy.

The Pig was a Chevrolet (I think it was an Impala) that another friend drove. It seemed to work just fine in summer, and like most cars in the 60s, it had great flat fenders that were butt-friendly. In winter, though, it was a pig. I suspect it needed the gas and water treatment to give it an attitude adjustment, but it was a 1960s Chevy, not a 1950s Pontiac. Parents weren’t too amenable to their children blowing up cars that weren’t even 10 years old. The Pig provided great courtside seating during those many games of basketball in the driveway.

Somewhere I would like to think that someone saved a copy of Mad magazine in which they had a drawing of the perfect car. The big fenders would have contoured dents for the many butts that occupied them. I seem to recall the radio antenna was a coat hanger. Not a straightened out coat hanger, but one still in its original shape. Whoever drew that cartoon must have been spying on us.

The Pumpkin was an orange Pontiac Catalina. We didn’t get to use it much, but then I don’t think it moved much. It shared driveway space with the Bomb. I don’t have a story to tell about it, but since it had a “name” it’s part of the story of growing up. My first car was a 1966 Ford Galaxy. It didn’t have a name, and I don’t want to tell the story of what happened to it. It’s embarrassing.

This really isn’t the story I would tell if I were a story teller, but the loss of a friend who was there that frozen night, and with whom I shared an adventure to Papua New Guinea,  seems to compel me to write about memories. We all think we will be able to reminisce about these stories after we have retired, but reality seems to have a different agenda. I guess the moral is to share the memories with your friends while you can. You may not get the chance again.


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