Tuesday, July 28, 2015

* PK Lookalikes (24)

Ben Stiller,
 Entertainer


Tarak el Moussa,
Real Estate Agent
Home and Garden TV

* 13 Months Ago: School Board



By Don’s Early Light:

Army of One Protests

Coach’s Departure


  • Retired Hartford school teacher Paul Keane sits along Route 14 on June, 20, 2014 in White River Junction, Vt., with a sign urging football coach Mike Stone not to leave. Keane is a member of the Hartford School Board. Valley News - Jennifer HauckRetired Hartford school teacher Paul Keane sits along Route 14 on June, 20, 2014 in White River Junction, Vt., with a sign urging football coach Mike Stone not to leave. Keane is a member of the Hartford School Board. Valley News - Jennifer Hauck
  • Hartford High football coach Mike Stone addresses his team during a break in an Aug. 24 scrimmage at Hanover. Valley News - Tris WykesHartford High football coach Mike Stone addresses his team during a break in an Aug. 24 scrimmage at Hanover. Valley News - Tris Wykes
  • Retired Hartford school teacher Paul Keane sits along Route 14 on June, 20, 2014 in White River Junction, Vt., with a sign urging football coach Mike Stone not to leave. Keane is a member of the Hartford School Board. Valley News - Jennifer Hauck
  • Hartford High football coach Mike Stone addresses his team during a break in an Aug. 24 scrimmage at Hanover. Valley News - Tris Wykes

  
White River Junction — Paul Keane is fed up, and he’s not going to take it any more.
The former Hartford High English teacher and current member of the School Board was so upset over the news of football coach Mike Stone’s resignation earlier this week that he took to the streets Friday to publicly show his displeasure.
First Friday morning and then again later in the afternoon, Keane manned his post on the corner of Hartford Avenue and Maple Street in White River Junction to show his support for Stone, the longtime Hartford football coach who announced earlier this week that he was leaving his post after 28 years.
“I don’t care if I’m allowed to do this or not,” said Keane, alternately waving to people honking their horns in support or waving a sign saying, ‘Coach Stone Please Stay.’
“I feel we were remiss in that we didn’t listen to rumors of Stone’s dissatisfaction.
 
“I should have asked the board to find out what we needed to do to keep him. I feel it was my inexperience that actually made him feel hung out to dry.”
Keane sounded the alarm in an email earlier this week when news of Stone’s resignation came public.
“I hope the chaos surrounding the rec bond did not push him into this,” wrote Keane.
It was a sentiment shared by many in the Hartford community. And the reason for Keane’s public stand.
The team’s weight room is now disassembled, forcing players to seek other avenues for their workouts — locations that charge for what once was free.
Then there was the problem with the bond that raised $3.25 million for constructing a new track, all-weather turf football field and field house. (A portion of those funds went to completing renovations at the middle school.)
In actuality, the recreation projects, all of which haven’t been completed — or even started — are now projected to cost closer to $4.55 million — the field house $1.55 million, the track and turf field roughly $3 million — a figure the voters couldn’t justify, signified by residents rejecting a $3 million supplemental bond at Town Meeting in March to make up the shortfall in funds needed to complete the projects.
Thus the road forward has been uncertain regarding what projects would be completed, leaving Stone and his football program out in the cold. The School Board, to this day, hasn’t decided how to expend the remaining funds from the original bond, which total $1.5 million.
“Mike would never say anything because he is such a gentleman, but we have heard about this for months ... that the problems with the field funding pushed him out.
“Maybe we can’t come up with the additional money,” Keane said. “But at least we can come up with a way to keep Stone. It’s just irritating to me that we would allow him to go without anyone trying to keep him. After all the thousands of kids he has affected, the way he has handled himself and represented the school ... now we’re going to throw all that away?”
   
Jessica Rushton felt the same way.
A 1988 Hartford graduate, Rushton was driving up Hartford Hill on Friday morning, when a vision caught her eye. It was Keane, sitting on a hard-backed chair next to his classic 1984 T-top Camaro Z-28. He was a sight that could stop traffic, with a broad-brimmed sun hat shielding his face, holding his large plastic sign.
Rushton had just been talking about Stone when she saw the sign. She immediately turned around and stopped to visit with Keane.
“I think it’s awesome what you are doing,” she told Keane. “He was my teacher,” she said of Stone. “He’s just the best.”
Rushton related a story of how she had left the area following Hartford graduation, returning three years ago. “I ran into Coach Stone at the store, and he remembered me by name — after all that time,” she said.
“My son is going into high school next year, and I’m just so upset he won’t have Mr. Stone as his teacher.”
A lot of people in town are feeling that exact sentiment.
And by the number of horns serenading him as the cars drove by — including Kevin Christie, chairman of the School Board, and Alex DiFelice, co-chairman of the Select Board — people in Hartford are feeling Keane’s pain, too. He hopes the support can start a local groundswell that might change Stone’s mind — or at least bring the matter out into the public eye.
“I just want to raise the issue and see what we can do,” said Keane. “If I can’t (lead the protest), let them fire me. I don’t give a damn. But friendship is more important than politics."
 
 
Don Mahler can be reached at dmahler@vnews.com or 603-727-3225.

Monday, July 27, 2015

* Cuba's Jurassic Parking Lot





                                                      
Vintage cars across the street from El Capitola in Havana, Cuba, on May 5, 2015. (Brian van der Brug/Los Angeles Times/TNS) Vintage cars across the street from El Capitola in Havana, Cuba, on May 5, 2015. (Brian van der Brug/Los Angeles Times/TNS)

Cuba, diplomatically unfrozen after 50 years, is more than an economic treasure for investors now that the Cuban flag flies over an embassy in Washington. It is an automobile time capsule. And it should be preserved as such, like the San Francisco cable cars, with vintage cars cruising alongside the modern vehicles that will flow into Cuba.
It’s an automotive Jurassic Park, with dinosaur cars long extinct in the rest of the world still roaming in a time warp created by the embargo that prevented Cubans from importing new American cars for 50 years. Ah, politics! Creator of such a strange beauty, at least beauty to my mind. Cubans had no choice but to make do with the cars they had in 1960, the year the embargo was imposed by the United States. The Ford Edsel, produced only from 1958-1960, squeaked in under the wire
Every time I watch a news snippet showing Cuban streets, I see the cars I grew up with. I can identify by sight instantly every car from 1949-1960 — practically the entire automotive inventory of Cuba’s traffic in 2015.
Cars were my life when I was a kid. Every September I would ride my bike a mile on Whitney Avenue and stand in front of Ekblade Oldsmobile’s showroom in Centerville, Conn., hoping to see the new model for the next year. Sometimes it took days of wasted bike trips before the new car appeared. But once it did, you had a preview of four other GM cars that were variations on the theme: Chevy, Pontiac, Buick, Cadillac. The same went for DeSoto: Once you saw that new model, the rest of the Chrysler models were simply variations: Plymouth, Dodge, Chrysler, Imperial.
I’ve heard that Hollywood studios each year purchase and save samples of every model of car, and have been doing it going back to the 1920s. But film industry automobile preservation doesn’t help average citizens much, even if they could go to a Hollywood museum and look at all those models, which as far as I know, they can’t.
Sixty years ago, my brother and I, constantly chauffeured to one place or another in my parents’ second-hand 1954 Nash (which happily I still see today on Superman reruns) would play the game of “Name the make and year of that car” as traffic drove by: ’49 Chevy stick shift; ’53 Buick, with dynaflow automatic transmission that almost growled (we called it super-slush, it was so slow); ’55 two-tone Ford with the long chrome checkmark dividing the colors (white and turquoise was sweet).
Or a ’56 Oldsmobile, hydramatic transmission (much faster than dynaflow); ’57 Plymouth, with the fantastic swept wings on the back looking like shark fins, and pushbutton automatic transmission; and, most fantastic of all — the ’59 Cadillac with gigantic swept wings and a wrap-around windshield back and front. If you owned that model it meant you were “rich,” driving what was sort of an American royal carriage. It also had two chrome “Mae West” front bumpers that really bumped. Today they would be politically incorrect.
The 1958 Oldsmobile was the most chromed-up car of all time: It seemed it had a musical score sheet minus a G-cleff sign in chrome on its fender and doors.
Does anyone know what I’m talking about? Go to Cuba and you will see.
That’s why I suggest that we baby boomers well into our nostalgia years create a new living, moving, chugging, sputtering, clunking museum called the Cuban Automotive Preservation Society (CAPS). It would be a kind of Car Disneyworld of Cuba, complete with dents and smog. As at Disneyworld, you would have to pay an entry fee, and then, a la Uber, you could order by cellphone a driver with the car of your choice: a ’49 Packard stick shift with a flat 8 engine, a ’56 DeSoto, with pushbutton drive, or a ’59 Cadillac convertible with its machete-like fins. Of course, Ralph Nader’s seatbelts would have to be added for safety.
Take a vacation to Cuba and ride real dinosaurs from my childhood. Walt Disney: Where are you when we need you?

Paul Keane lives in Hartford. He drives a 1984 vintage Z-28 Camaro T-Top.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

* Jurassic Park on Wheels in Cuba


 
 

Cuba, diplomatically unfrozen after 50 years,  is more than an economic treasure for investors now that the Cuban flag flies over an embassy in Washington.  It is a living (driving)  automobile time capsule. And it should be preserved as such,  like the San Francisco cable cars,  cruising (or rumbling) alongside all the  modern  vehicles which will now flow into Cuba’s auto market.


It’s an automotive Jurassic Park, with dinosaur cars long extinct in the rest of the world, still roaring away, the bizarre, time-warp creation of the embargo which prevented Cubans from importing new cars for 50 years.  Ah, politics! Creator of  such a strange beauty, at least beauty to my mind. Cubans had no choice but to make do with the cars they had in 1960, the year the embargo was imposed by the United States. The Ford Edsel, produced only from 1958 -1960, just squeaked under the embargo’s wire.

 
 

Every time I watch a news snippet of Cuban streets, I see all the cars I grew up with.  I can identify by sight instantly every car from 1949- 1960----- practically the entire automotive inventory of Cuba’s traffic in 2015.

Cars were my life when I was a kid.  Every September I would ride my bike  a mile on Whitney Avenue and stand in front of Ekblade Oldsmobile’s show room hoping to see the new model Oldsmobile for next year. Sometimes it took days of wasted bike trips before the new car appeared in the showroom.  But once it did you had a preview of four other GM cars which were variations on the theme of Oldsmobile, up or down:  Chevy, Pontiac, Buick, Cadillac. The same went for DeSoto:  Once you saw that new model, the rest of Chrysler models were simply variations on the theme:  Plymouth, Dodge, Chrysler, Imperial.

I understand that Hollywood producers each year purchase and save ten samples of every car and every model of car going back to the 1920’s.  Scenes in the 1974 Robert Redford film The Great Gatsby for instance used those cars on the actual  Riverside Drive, a block of which New York’s Mayor’s office closed for a day or two for Hollywood filming.

 
But that film-industry automobile preservation doesn’t help the average citizen much, even if they could go to a Hollywood museum and look at all those models, which as far as I know, they can’t.

Sixty years ago my brother and I, constantly chauffeured  to one place or another in my parents’ second-hand,  1954 Nash (which happily I still see today on Superman re-reruns)  would play the game of “Name the make and year of that car” as the traffic drove by: ’49 Chevy stick shift; ‘53 Buick, with dynaflow automatic transmission that almost growled (we called it super-slush it was so slow) ; ’55  two-tone Ford with the long  chrome check-mark,  on fenders and door dividing the colors (white and turquoise was sweet);


 
Or a ‘56 Oldsmobile, hydramatic  transmission (much faster than dynaflow) ; ’57 Plymouth, with the fantastic swept wings on the back which look like shark fins today and pushbutton automatic transmission; and, most fantastic of all---even today --- was the ‘59 Cadillac with gigantic swept wings and a wrap around windshield back and front. 

If you owned that Cadillac  it meant you were “rich”, driving what was sort of an American royal carriage back in 1959.  It also had  two chrome “Mae West” front bumpers that really bumped.  Today they would be politically incorrect.

 

The 1958 Oldsmobile---a bomb even when it was new --- was the most chromed up car of all time : It  seemed it had a musical score sheet  minus a G-cleff sign in chrome on its fender and doors, making it look it so heavy  it could barely move.   


 
Does anyone know what I’m talking about?  Go to Cuba and you will see.

That’s why I suggest that we baby boomers well into our nostalgia-years  create a  new living, moving, chugging, sputtering, clunking museum called the Cuban Automotive Preservation Society (CAPS).  It would be a kind of  Car Disneyworld of Cuba, complete with dents and smog.  Like Disneyworld, you would have to pay an entry fee, and then, like Uber,  you could order by cell phone a driver with the car of your choice:  a ’49 Nash stick-shift, or a ’56 Desoto, with pushbutton drive; or a ’59 Cadillac convertible with its machete–like fins. Of course Ralph Naders seat belts would have to be added for safety.  even if they are an anachronism.

Take a vacation to Cuba and ride real dinosaurs from my childhood. Walt Disney: Where are you when we need you?

 

Sunday, July 19, 2015

* Retirement

Link to blog: http://pkretired.blogspot.com/

Wednesday, July 15, 2015