Sunday, November 30, 2014

24, ILLUMINATION RUMINATION (OR 24, LIVE ANOTHER STRING OF LIGHTS)




WHERE WERE OUR HEROES?

WHEN I NEEDED YOU JACK, 
YOUR WERE NOT THERE TO HELP!

The following takes place in Minnesota between:

11 - 11:59AM on Sunday 11/23/2014: One hour before 'da Pack vs Vikes. Hauled the clear mini indoor/outdoor lights from the din of storage to my man cave electrical pretest bench. Turned on FOX pregame and started the thankless task of untangling the surviving strings of lights of the Polar Vortex Christmas.

12 PM: (I'm not doing day and date again until tomorrow. I'm loosing my Holiday spirit already)

Kickoff time. The fan in me wonders if Adrian Peterson will pull a switch on the Vikes and sign with 'da Pack. Like a starved ball of skinny green hibernating snakes, the tangled lights start to unwind.

1 PM: 8 strings, each with 50 to 300 bulbs should light up the scraggly bush out front. If needed, two unused strings of 100 clears, w/white wires await my command. Anyway, back to the game!

2 PM: Pack up by 3 points; homeowner down by 4 strings. Expletives flow from manmouth. Wife smirks, snorts out, "You might have been smarter plugging in before unwinding, don't your think?"

3 PM: Vikes lose. Laid down for a nap. Sometimes real men do this to plan their next act . No Menards today. I'll update my stash of patented Indonesian made Starlite 100's tomorrow. Put my head under the pillow just as the tree tutor looks at me in disgust.

4 PM: Had a good old man power nap.  Pumped up, I cuddle the 4 working strings, dragging behind me every available extension cord, electrical adapter, timer needed to prep for the 5 pm test lighting.

5 PM  All systems go -- countdown: 10-9-8-etc." Well, what you can see is what you get", moaned this little man in my mind relaying his first impression of the light show. "Honey, when do you want to eat?, "60 minutes will be on in 60 seconds, unless that game ------". We can watch The Good Wife at 8 unless the game ------"., Let me see the lights", spewed from the mouth of my forever multi-tasking, multi-thinking, multi-talking bride of many moons. Down, but not dumb, I played the old deaf husband card replying, "huh?".


 6 PM: Local news finishes on an upbeat note that this week would be busy at the stores with all sorts of Christmas deals. I knew I'd "save big money" by beating those other bulb seeking dudes to Menards by 6 AM. Took one final inventory of my stash and turned on the NFL delayed 60 Minutes.

7PM: Thought came to me that perhaps I'd avoid Menards all together if I snuck in the 2 albino 100 strings with the existing green wires. That would be just enough candle power. By tactically placing the white wire facing the woods, no one would ever notice a difference. Just a little snow on the wires would hide any flaws, at least for me.

8PM: Had time before the decayed delayed "Good Wife" started so I tried to sneak my cost effective, labor -saving mixed wire idea past my hopefully cooperative good wife. After mulling over for a nano second, she snootily replied, "I know I didn't marry a real bright bulb, but----".

9PM: During an intermission of her favorite show, I looked out front at my unfinished masterpiece.
At a glance, the existing lights from my vantage point resembled a heart. How symbolic I thought. Maybe she'd be OK if we left it the as is, like it was a statement of my love for her.







10PM - 4:59AM: Love lights out (no pun intended). I'm Grinched. Dosing off, my hyper Holiday bride reminds me through her rose colored readers that we still had 28 shopping days until Christmas. 


MONDAY 5AM 11/25/2014: "Oh no Mr. Bill!!", I screamed out sitting straight up in bed to the iPhone alarm of "It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year".  Just realized she'll want a real indoor tree this year 'cause our Chicago daughter and an older man friend will be coming home for Christmas,  I says to myself in Wisconsinese, "Self,  'da little woman will now want one of 'dem Martha Stewart type inside trees so now I gotto go untangle balled up color lights!!!!"

6AM: Flashback to yesterday!!! The temp was a high 40 degrees. Safe to say, today will be the same!

7AM: Starbucks in hand, the Prius purrs down Hwy. 5 in Eco mode. I break into a sweat knowing the cheapest lights sellout first. Spending more is not part of my Milwaukee family heritage.

8AM: Got em!!! 4 sets of 100's in generic boxes made in Indonesia. I'm guessing these bulb guys are relatives of the Starlite 100 tribe. Once again I saved big money shopping at 'da 'Nards. Heading to Costco for gas next. Menards + me + my Prius + my Costco gas. Mellowing out, I know my dad would be proud that I carry on his legacy in the spirit of frugality (def: cheapness).

9AM: The wind bounced the Prius around heading back from Costco. Check with my friendly weather folks on WCCO AM who submarined me with the revised Monday weather -- 25 degree highs, winds 19 mph, wind chill 6. Had to get my Stormy Kromer underwear on!!!

10AM: Bundled up! Loaded for bear! Mission accomplished! So proud that this true Scallions seasonal masterpiece was completed in 24 hrs. They say a picture speaks a thousand of words:



:
11:00 - 11:59AM: Posted blog and received immediate reply from someone claiming to be Jack Bauer. I have no reason to doubt the authenticity: "You think you know pain? You don't know anything yet until you have to remove those brittle lights in January when it's -20!"

Kudos to the macho men who tough it out in the tundra  illuminating their front yards on bitter winter days (and nights)!!! And thanks to their women who support them from the inside with loving advice!!!

                                            
HAPPY HOLIDAYS TO ALL!!!!

(even you who left for warmth and sandy beaches)
















Thursday, November 27, 2014

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Mercury Capri to be Reintroduced to Road Racing at Le Mans in 2011


In a move that has shocked motorheads worldwide, the Mercury Division of the Ford Motor Company has announced that it will bring the Capri Series back to competitive road racing at Le Mans in 2011. Mercury had used the Capri nameplate on three different versions between 1970 - 1991, with the last car rolling off the line in '94. Unfortunately, the 3rd generation built from 1989 to 1994 was such a disaster with a total of 66,000 problem plagued vehicles sold that the Capri label was "phased out" to what most automotive experts hoped would be it's last hurrah. As one car review summarized it in '90, "when driving this car, I miss any feeling of confidence".

"It'll be different this time," according to Mercury's nineteen year old genius Henry Ford (the 8th) v111, Director of Special Projects, Marketing, Sales, Engineering, Manufacturing, Experimental Vehicles, Liaison to the Car Czar and Lots of Other Things since industry cutbacks. At a press conference held on April 26th in a shuttered Ford plant outside of Flint, Michigan the newest old prototype was unveiled. To the bewilderment of all, Henry v111 selected a rare still running 1991 3rd Generation vehicle found abandoned in a garage in Northern Wisconsin as the prototype.


'91 CAPRI PROTOTYPE


FOUND IN NO. WISCONSIN


"I know my selection has some worried about where this will lead us, but I'm Henry the v111 I am, I am! , chuckled the awkward v111. After reviewing my uncle Edsel Ford's biography entitled How to Make Lemonade Out of Lemons I concluded this Capri would be the best vehicle to build our automotive future from. Besides that, we don't have to invest alot in parts given all the junked Capris out there. We can save big bucks on advertising by putting old never used Capri literature from dealer's showrooms as we bring the cars to market. An astute fiscally responsible Manager I am I am, if I don't say so myself", pontificated the v111.

Le Mans was selected for the formal baptism because experts agree that it's the most grueling 24 hour endurance road race in the World. Pitted against some of the best cars ---- Porsche, Ferrari, Mercedes, etc. Mercury Engineers believe the Capri will have a better than even chance to make it the full 24 hours. "Look at it this way", the pimple faced v111th stated, "the car is pathetic on corners and so slow it barks when you accelerate that we can only do one lap while the others do four. Our chance to endure for the full 24 hours is increased because of it's poor cornering and impotent speed on straightaways. Potential Capri buyers will really get a long look at it's understated lines going up long hills.

One reviewer wishing not to be identified who had written about the vehicle when first introduced has negative feelings about Mercury's new adventure, likening it to a "Ponzi scheme on wheels". "The only thing I can agree with Henry v111 on is that the vehicle has go no giddy-up-go with that Mazda 323 engine. This car was, is, and always will be a disaster. There is no style value and I stand by my initial review of 1990 that the car is so homely that it could stop a Timex watch. The only thing that might provide any reassurance to me would be if it was pulled behind Tow Mader at Le Mans".

Still, the '91 Prototype has already been put to the test at Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin living up to the v111's expectations. The car, pictured almost rolling over on a gradual turn, did exactly as anticipated by being lapped by all vehicles including an original Gremlin running on 3 cylinders and a 1975 Chevrolet Vega. "Our strategy is one of laying back during the initial races just to see how superior the Capri is to the competition", stressed v111.



QUOTE FROM THE LOSER AT ELKHART:

                                                     
"THE VIEW OF THE LEAD SLED DOG NEVER CHANGED"

When asked about how the car performed at Road America, the test driver for Mercury was very positive. "Notice in the picture that there were no other cars chasing me at the finish line. As a matter a fact I hadn't seen any cars anywhere for quite awhile until I got the checkered flag. We are all really proud that the car held together at all".




From the Automotive Desk of Green Scallions:


Ok, so maybe I stretched the truth a little on this one, but some of the story is true. I guess I can have a few laughs at the expense of this Mazda Miata Wannabee. I've owned it twice for a total of 13 years.

True parts of this story:

*I bought the car new 11/29/91 -- sold to friend in '97. Repurchased from friend in '04. Actual miles 4/24/10 60,358.

*Car stored in Bayfield, Wisconsin in winter.

*3rd Generation Capris were manufactured at a Ford plant in Australia using Mazda 323 100 HP engine.

*My Capri is considered a roadster with removable optional hardtop. Car was first of many designs to follow the Mazda Miata which started the Roadster   
                                                                         Renaissance in1988.



*Comments by reviewers were from actual articles in the early '90's.

*Car was actually driven at Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin in 2008 during Open Drive Time between sports car races. Mixed amongst Corvettes, Porsche's, Nissan's, BMW's, etc. it developed an inferiority complex by being passed by just about everything on the track. Good news is that I finished, but the car still suffers from paranoia.

*License plate reads "2 Deja Vu". Means no more than I've owned this car twice. Just old CSN&Y talking to me. My kids deny that they know me because there is a big strip joint in Twin Cities named "Deja Vu" and they believe their friends will think I go there because of the wording on plate. Just the generation gap redone.

***Life is good!! On a sunny 70 degree day with the top down the wind blows through my hair the same way it does with smirking guy driving next to me in his Maserati.



Special thanks to Chuck and Carrie who kept this car in tip-top condition for me for 6 years.
Due to their generosity I bought the car back from them for 40% of what I had sold it to them for, and got new tires and new convertible top, too!!!!