We didn’t know

May 7, 2018

After a late night my eyes opened to greet the sun at the crack
of 10 am. I stayed up to finish a book entitled “Granite
Mountain” by Brendan NcDonough with Stephan Talty. It told the
tale of the Granite Mountain Hotshots and the Prescott fire that
took lives of 19 of its 20 members.

I was surprised to learn that these wildland firefighters are
still using the same basic tools that were used since 1911! The
pulaski is a tool that combines a cutter mattock and an axe. It
has been in use since 1911 and become the national standard tool
of the United States Forest Service in the 1930s.

The driptorch is a canister that typically contains a mixture
of 30% gasoline and 70% diesel fuel with a spout with a wick at
the end that drips fire to burn vegetation before the wildfire
gets there and makes a fire break.

A fire shelter that is made of layers of aluminum foil, woven
silica, and fiberglass big enough to cover a firefighter when
trapped and is designed to reflect radiant heat and protect
against convective heat. The first known use of a fire shelter
was in 1804 when a boy was saved from a prairie fire when his
mother covered him with a fresh bison hide.

These shelters are designed to withstand heat up to around
700 degrees yet a wildland fire can reach 3,000 degrees. There
is someone now working on a shelter that could withstand up to
1,700 degrees. Through 2013 these shelters have been used 1,200
times with only 41 deaths.

Today these firefighters do use radios to communicate but do
have any GPS device to signal their location if things go
wrong. I also learned the hotshots are not doing it for the money
and resources are slim.

The book mentioned many things but the above, which I fleshed
out a bit, were of interest to me. The survivor is suffering
from PTSD but is getting help. And you may remember of the movie
“Only the Brave” which is based on the same event as the book.

Enjoy our Monday as we only get one this week. Now I need more
Comments are always welcome.


On May Day

May 1, 2018

Today is May Day and we thought it time for a little history of the
day. Ancient Celts called the event “Beltane”, the day halfway
between spring and summer. Young people were paired with a mate
and if the courtship continued the wedding would be held six
weeks later on June’s Midsummer’s Day.

The dance around the Maypole had a whole different meaning back
then. As happens the Maypole has been sometimes banned over the
eons usually because those who did the banning believed those
who did the Maypole dance were taking part in fertility rites.
Others banned it because of it’s pagan origins and the dance
inspired bawdy revelry.

Maypole dances today are choreographed and are something to
see. The multi colored ribbons circling the pole as the dancers
weave and twirl are usually done in historic areas today.

There are many May Day traditions and we’ll mention a few here.
Farmers plant corn, cucumbers, and turnips today. Kids can go
barefoot on May Day for the time, beekeepers move bees, and
fishermen expect to catch fish today.

Some groups crown a May Queen and neighbors might leave baskets
of of flowers on each other’s doorstep, and in Hawaii today is
called Lei Day.

Lore has it if a maiden gathers dew before sunup and sprinkles
her face with it, she will enjoy luck and youthful beauty for
the rest the year.

So enjoy our May Day and I’ll get some more coffee.
Comments are always welcome.

We’re number 1?

March 1, 2018

Talk here in Iowa has been about the fact that on February 27,
2018, U.S. News & World Report ranked Iowa the best state in
the United States.

And it’s said they are the global authority on rankings. This
involved evaluating our 50 states across 77 metrics with
thousands of data points in eight categories. They are: health
care, education, economy, opportunity, infrastructure, crime and
corrections, fiscal stability, and quality of life.

Truth be told, we didn’t want the secret to get out. If you
don’t mind a harsh winter occasionally it is a great place to
live. So let’s look at a few of the reasons our politicians are
now patting themselves on the back.

Iowa ranks 3rd in healthcare which is up 2 spots from 2017.

Iowa ranks 5th in education, up 3 from last year.

We rank 17th in economy and that’s up 13 places since 2017.

In opportunity we are at 4th, up 2 from 2017.

With infrastructure we’re number 1, up 15 slots from last year.

Quality of life is a new category for 2018 and I’m not sure
where we rank there. I do know last year we were the 6th best
state. As some one who was born here and came back after my
Navy hitch, I have a hard time believing we’re first in the
infrastructure category. But that’s just my opinion.

So if you’re thinking of moving out of your state and are in
search of another to call home we’d recommend Missouri or

Enjoy the rest of our Thursday as it is almost gone. Now I’m
up for a pot of coffee and a pizza.
Comments are always welcome.

Almost forgot

January 18, 2018

We are well into the first month of 2018 so here are a few
things January is known for. The January birthstone is garnet
and the flower is the cottage pink. It is National Codependecy
Month, National Mentoring Month, National Healthy Weight
Awareness Month, Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month,
and Stalking Awareness Month to name a few.

Yet being a car guy I would be remiss if I didn’t mention this
weekends indoor Rod & Custom Show at the QCCA Expo Center in
Rock Island, Illinois. And the Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale auction.

After watching the Scottsdale auction on TV for a few days, when
the chance arises, it looks like rods and muscle cars are showing
bigger numbers than the antiques and classics. Of course, those
of us who regularly follow this auction know the big numbers will
come this weekend.

It’s not looking like we’ll make the indoor show this year even
though the weather has calmed down. If you are thinking of going
to see the mobile eye candy the top link above has hours and
information. The Barrett-Jackson link is specific to the
Scottsdale auction.

And now that you know as much as we do, we’ll wish you an
enjoyable Thursday evening and a pleasant Friday. Time for a
coffee and pizza break.
Comments are always welcome.

Selling a dream

December 11, 2017

We follow car auctions just to see how certain cars stand up
to pre-auction estimates. We’ll be paying attention in January
2018 when the RM Sotheby’s Arizona sale comes around. There
will be what we consider a rare car there and pre-auction
estimates are between $1.25 and $1.5 million.

The car is Preston Tucker’s personal Tucker 48. A rare car to
begin with as only 51 cars were built by tucker in 1848 before
the company folded. Tucker cars were advanced for the time and
had features many others didn’t.

The third head light in the center turned with the front
wheels, the engine was an adaption of the Franklin 0-355 flat
six aircraft/helicopter engine converted to water cooling. It
had 355 cubic inches, made 166 horsepower and was installed in
the rear of the car.

For a transmission Tucker used an adaptation of the Cord 810/
812 with a Bendix electric shifter. Tucker’s personal car had
a Tucker Y1 transmission, a larger, more improved version of
the Cord tranny.

The car being auction has less than 20,000 original miles.
The vehicle was Preston Tuckers personal car from 1948 to
1955, was then a daily driver of future Arkansas governor
Winthrop Rockefeller, and was in the Francis Ford Coppola’s
1988 film “Tucker: The Man and His Dream”.

When we hear the results of the auction we’ll put them up.
Now we know a little more about this event. Enjoy our Monday
as we’re one step closer to spring.
Comments are always welcome.

You ever wondered?

November 21, 2017

Yes, this post is late again. But a thought stuck in my head
and a little research is sometimes necessary for me to truly
understand a situation.

I got to thinking about pictures of the earliest cars and how
they all had that tall flat glass. Reasoning that this era was
not known for a population of giants why was the top so high?

from the Model T Ford Club of America

Looking into photographs of the era one notices that if people
are in the shot they are wearing hats. In particular, the men
wore top hats. So I wondered if that had anything to do with
the design of the automobile.

from IFCAR

In the thirties the windshields shrunk as top hats were no
longer in fashion. Fedoras, derby’s, and straw hats were the
rage. These hats didn’t need the extra clearance of the top
hats so windshield height lessened.


by sicnag

Around the 1950s hats were starting to be phased out as a
daily part of ones wardrobe. And the tops again got lower. Some
of the 1960s vehicles appeared to have taller roofs as the
body height of cars was shortened.

U.S. News

Today there are cars around that I honestly don’t know how
anyone over the age of 20 can even get into. Tne new Camaros
come to mind. While the lower body has gotten taller it looks
like a designer chopped the top.

You may have noticed that the most popular hat today is the
baseball cap. That doesn’t need a lot of clearance, and there
are many who don’t wear any type of hat when it’s warmer out.
And in the winter, a basic stocking cap doesn’t add height.

I haven’t found confirmation of this yet but do believe our
cars were designed around our fashion trends at the time they
were built. If I’m wrong I’ll admit and if I’m right it was
worth the time trying to figure it out.

Enjoy our Tuesday. It means Thanksgiving is only 2 days away.
Now I need some coffee and a couple chocolate doughnuts.
Comments are always welcome.

Armistice Day storm

November 11, 2017

We’ve been told for some time now that climate change is going
to end mankind as we know it. Gloom and doom are predicted. We
seem to forget history along the way, and thus, are doomed to
repeat it. In my lifetime we’ve heard of impending ice ages and
heat waves beyond belief.

None of which came to be. These threats did manage to raise
the cost of certain things while not changing anything. We were
being manipulated then as now. Dad talks about the record
breaking heat wave in the summer of 1937, we’ll talk of another
weather event.

Veteran’s Day used to be called Armistice Day and on November
11th, 1940 a super-storm came through Iowa and other parts of
the country. Global Warming? On that November day in 1940, it
was 58 degrees at 9 am.! Parades were being held in celebration
of the holiday, hunters were in the field, and it looked to be
a picture perfect holiday.

During the local parade the bands wind instruments froze when
the temperature dropped to 33 degrees in about a half hour. The
storm hit the Pacific northwest with near hurricane force winds
and didn’t weaken as it raced east. The storm inhaled moisture
from the Gulf of Mexico and cold air from Canada to become a

The winds that hit that day were called “the winds of hell”
and it is said they reached 70 mph. And then came the blizzard.
Two trains collided, hunters died in the field, boats and
freighters sank on Lake Michigan killing 66 sailors, one million
Thanksgiving turkeys died, and Collegeville, Minnesota
saw 27 inches of snow fall.

The storm tracked from Des Moines to Eau Clair, and the
pressure dropped to around 29 inches of Mercury. When it was
over it was discovered the storm had cut a 1,000 mile wide
path through the middle of our country.

The reason a storm warning wasn’t issued was because the
Midwest headquarters of the government forecaster in Chicago
wasn’t staffed overnight to track the storm. With today’s
advanced technology we hope this couldn’t happen again.

So don’t tell us how climate change is going to cause severe
weather changes and what we have to give up to stop it. Look to
the past for the answers.

Enjoy our Veteran’s Day.
Comments are always welcome.