Tuesday, December 30, 2008


My last two books, The Last Horizon and Timeline of America, have been uploaded as Kindle versions at Amazon for $4.80 each. The book descriptions have not yet appeared on their respective Amazon Kindle pages, but you can read some of that information on the pages for the paperbacks at The Last Horizon and Timeline of America. I plan to develop the Kindle versions of Plastic Ozone Daydream and Ker-Splash soon.

Cat of the Day

This Cat of the Day post is a bittersweet memorial to a lovable, fluffy cat we lost just a couple of months ago. Miles Silverberg used to be one of our heaviest cats, but he developed some mysterious illness over time that caused him to just waste away until he was one of our lightest cats. We'll never know exactly why we lost him. The vet's diagnosis of some sort of respiratory infection is all we know. This is the way we want to remember Miles: a big, soft, fluffy cat lounging in his favorite chair without a care in the world. God bless him.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Bayliner Reflexx

You might say that I had a life-changing experience that day in the Spring of 1995 when I visited my local Bayliner dealer and a new Reflexx was parked next to the entrance. That was the first mini-jet boat I saw, and it was love at first sight, with that type of boat, at least. Although the Reflexx was appealing in certain ways, it had a few design flaws. First of all, the joy of any mini-jet comes with the spin, and this long, narrow, conventional hull doesn't look like much of a spinner. Secondly, the front seats were uncomfortable and the grab bar mounted above the windshield cuts through your line of sight if you happen to sit low in the saddle, as I do. The rear seats are more comfortable, but in most cases, who's going to use them? The closed bow is not a very efficient use of the small interior space of a fourteen-foot boat, either. Last of all, the trim colors seem to have been designed for a gay teenager, not usually the sort than can afford a new jetboat.

The Reflexx was sold only in 1994 and '95. Bayliner seemed to have wisely concentrated more effort on developing the Jazz, a somewhat more conventional, open-bow jetboat. The Jazz was built in several iterations from 1993-99. The original was a plain, shallow little thing with minimal, hard seating and solid colored-trim over a white hull. The Jazz received updated graphics in '94 and the larger 120-hp Mercury four-cylinder engine in 1995. The 1996 model seemed to become an all-new boat with a new sixteen-foot hull, beautiful colors, very comfortable seating, and deluxe accoutrements. The new Mercury 175-hp V-6 was added in '97.

For much more information on the Reflexx and other jet boats, see  
Ker-Splash 2: The High Performance Powerboat Book
Ker-Splash 2 in Kindle

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Cat of the Day

Well, we are approaching the holiday season, and Bob is already in the bag! Whiskers to the front, tails to the rear.

(Photo courtesy Dr. Al Past)

Friday, December 19, 2008

Four Winns Unlimiteds

I have been obsessed with the Four Winns Unlimited series of boats since I first saw one at a dealer in 1995 or '96. This has been a rare and controversial boat since its inception. For a brief period in the mid-Nineties, Four Winns and Donzi operated underneath one corporate banner. Donzi of course is the legendary Florida brand that first marketed its Sweet 16 speedboat in The Sixties. For many years the company has been producing what they call the Classic line in 16-foot, 18-foot, and 22-foot lengths, and the series fits right in with Donzi's racy image. Four Winns has always been a Your Father's Oldsmobile sort of company. For the 1996 and '97 model years only, Four Winns produced a 17-foot and 19-foot pair of speedboats they called Unlimiteds. Clearly based on the Donzi hull design, but being quite different from the Donzis in detail, the U-17 and U-19 offered a style somewhat unique to themselves.

My obsession with the Unlimiteds stems from their individualistic features and creative marketing. The '96 models in particular are very pleasing to my eyes, more so than any of the Donzi Classics or the two-tone '97's, with their odd-shaped color-combination paired with very conventional two-tone seating. As for the danger element, I think you just have to show care and respect at the helm, much as you do with the notorious Kawasaki Triple motorcycles. I quite happily owned one of those for many years, and I knew that you never let one of those come up on the pipe in a corner. Twist that throttle in a straight line only! Without the snot-brand price quotient of a Donzi, the Unlimiteds were affordably priced, too. Like the lovable Corvettes and Mustangs of the '60's, you had to option up any Unlimited to make it interesting or even comfortable. Carpet, Bimini top, cockpit cover, through-hull exhaust, swim platform with a boarding ladder, a very low, windbreaking, dark-tinted windshield, CD stereo, and even a stern boarding ladder were optional. Even the graphics package, cassette stereo, and aft fill-in cushions were additional options offered on the 1996 models. The '96 models were offered in navy, red, chianti, teal, forest green, and purple. The 1997 colors were limited to navy, red, and yellow. When you factor in the color and engine choices, and of course the controversial DuoProp option, you can easily see how extremely few identical Unlimiteds were produced. What a fascinating boat!

Read a lot more details about the Unlimiteds in  
Ker-Splash 2: The High Performance Powerboat Book
Ker-Splash 2 in Kindle

Vanishing Point

GM and Chrysler got the government bailout they've been whining for now for a week or so. I am a huge fan of the legendary motorhead movie from 1971, Vanishing Point. The car pictured here is a copycat facsimile of the 1970 Hemi Challenger Coupe that Petrocelli drove in the movie. The most recent big hoopla over a new Chrysler model involves the reincarnation of the Dodge Challenger. The introduction of such a model should warm the heart of any old car nut like me, but a $45,000, image-making musclecar belongs in the dead last slot of any consideration of exactly what the Chrysler Corporation needs right now to save its wortheless butt. Yeah, I know that OmniRizons, K-cars, and minivans are boring as hell, but where is Iacoccanut when we need him?

If Chrysler doesn't get its head out of its dual, low-restriction exhaust tailpipe, the term Vanishing Point will take on a new meaning. I don't care how much money the gubmint throws at Chrysler, if the company doesn't begin building cars that Americans in large numbers want to buy, the company can kiss its arrogant butt goodbye.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

The Fat Lady Sings

The Last Horizon at first glance seems to be schizophrenic. Is it a self-help book that displays an analysis of American dating rituals, or is it a muckraking attack on the current cultural status of America? The short answer is that it is some of both. The psychological theory of The Class System that I developed back in The Sixties turned out to have had a profound effect on the way I view our society. It removes the blinders so that you can see so much more than before, far more than the average citizen. The book has been crammed to the gunwales with information for the reader, making for a very dense read. Don't make the mistake of letting this scare you off. If you only scan the first chapter, you will miss all the fun. This is a book that can be read multiple times. Imagine that you listened to Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon exactly once and no more. We both know that had you done this, you would have missed much of the depth, insight, and cleverness hidden in Dark Side. Think of The Last Horizon the same way.

This great country of ours is home to probably millions of overweight women with less than stellar bodies. In case you missed it, this book is really, truly meant for you. No, I am not a large woman. I am a very thin man who has the metabolism of a hummingbird and eats like a pig. Bring on the chicken fried steak and mashed potatoes, and don't be stingy with the gravy, either! Is this not the irony of the century? The truth is that men who are too thin can be as victimized by this society as women who are too heavy. It is precisely my heterosexual inner self who is so acutely in touch with my feminine side. My perspective on American culture is the same as yours, yet different. I bet you never thought of it that way, have you? Yes, the knowledge found in The Last Horizon will confirm your deepest fears, but hopefully, you will also learn to better deal with these fears once they have been dragged out into the sunlight. The book is most certainly intended to be a learning experience. It should be a launching pad for your new future of total awareness. Knowledge is always power, and the show’s never over until the fat lady sings….

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Scarabs & WaveRunners

A poignant allegory has developed between what has been happening on America’s lakes in recent years and what has been happening throughout our culture for a long time. Unless you are a recreational boater or live near one of America’s lakes, you may not be aware of the significance brought to our consciousness by these two extreme representations of Americans’ love of speed, noise, and oil. I want to tell you a little story in honor of the Labor Day Weekend, traditionally the final hurrah of recreational boating in each summer season. The weather where I live usually allows boating to be enjoyed up through October if you want to actually jump in the lake, and throughout most of the whole year if you don’t, so this is a subject close to my heart.

There are many varieties of boats used strictly for recreational purposes on our inland lakes; however, two particular types of boat have drawn the ire of many people residing in lakeside areas in recent years. I want to explain some of the history, facts, and misconceptions surrounding these two types of powerboats that have raised the hackles of many due to conservation or environmental issues. Although they reside at opposite poles of the recreational boating hobby in most respects, these two seem to have taken on the persona of the wolves and whitetail deer of our forested areas. The two even have roughly parallel histories. Scarabs are a now extinct brand of cigarette boat and WaveRunners are the sit-down Yamaha jet skis that seem to be buzzing about everywhere there is a mud puddle. Scarabs are like rare, vicious predators who need a large territory in which to survive. WaveRunners just seem to be multiplying everywhere like whitetail deer, wherever there are insufficient numbers of predators.

Cigarette boats and jet skis were invented and purchased by small numbers of their respective enthusiasts many years before their numbers greatly increased, bringing negative attention to them. I am singling out Scarabs and WaveRunners here because, not only are they my own favorite brands of their respective types of powerboats, but each has been responsible almost single-handedly for their widespread popularity. Wellcraft was the first boat builder to mass-produce cigarette boats at somewhat reasonable prices. Yamaha began the sit-down jet ski craze for people who either wanted more versatility or were just too lazy to stand up or learn a new skill. Unlike most of their competitors, the Wellcraft Scarabs utilized straightforward hull designs, standard engine options, and reasonable levels of luxury trim to complement their mass production numbers. Particularly for the smaller models, ranging from eighteen to twenty-nine feet, this strategy held the prices of Scarabs somewhat below the if you have to ask, you can’t afford it level. Although Kawasaki coined the term jet ski in 1973 at a time when motorcycle sales were waning in the U.S., Yamaha’s introduction of the WaveRunner in 1987 really gave a jet-like thrust to the personal watercraft market.

The jet ski was officially invented by Sea-Doo in 1967-8, but the company never seemed to get the idea off the ground until Kaw entered the picture a few years later. As you may have already guessed, six companies have built all the mass produced jet skis. Sea-Doo is still one of the most popular brands with its Rotax engines. Kawasaki has continually sold official Jet Skis since 1973. Polaris built jet skis using engines built by Fuji Heavy Industries from 1992 through 1997. Tiger Sharks with Suzuki engines were marketed briefly in The Nineties. Yamaha has continually sold its line of sit-down WaveRunners since 1987. Honda finally entered the market with a line of four-stroke models just a few years ago, following the series of uprisings by environmentalists over the pollution caused by the horde of two-strokes swarming all over the nation’s lakes. This predictable string of events followed a familiar pattern set by the same corporate players decades ago, when Honda was the only Japanese motorcycle brand building four-cycle engines in The Sixties. Due to environmental pressures, all the other Japanese brands began building four-strokes and phasing out their two-stroke models as The Seventies progressed. This time Honda just waited for the backlash to build up against the two-stroke smokescreen before entering the jet ski market.

Extremely long, closed-bow, deep-V, offshore racing boats had been entertaining millionaires in small numbers for years before Crockett and Tubbs brought them to the consciousness of average Miami Vice couch pilots in 1984. That was a Scarab they were driving across the waves. Now Scarabs and their many competing, smaller, boutique brands are ripping up and down inland lakes all across America. Most likely the ones you are seeing now are built by Baja, the brand that has taken the helm of the affordable, mass-production cigarette boats. Most of these roaring beasts still cost as much as a house, but at least Baja is making an effort to make them available to the masses of the upper middle class. You could say that this phenomenon is just another example of wretched excess taking over American waters. The pilots and passengers, who usually number no more than three, ride high above the miniscule waves with their noses held aloft. Most of these minions of excess enjoy the mellow bellow of through-hull twin exhaust systems that shatter the peace and quiet of the other millionaires living along the shoreline. The peasants in their smaller runabouts must pause their conversations until the elitist snots have roared on down the lake, disturbing someone else’s tranquility.

Americans are facing a crossroad in our history. The stresses brought on our environment and economy by decades of wretched excess are beginning to cause cracks in the hull of our ship. We are unsure who to blame and uncertain which issue is disturbing us more. The allegory becomes clear when you see that jet skis have borne the brunt of our anger simply because of their numbers. Their two-stroke engines assault our ears and their pollution assaults our lakes. Should anyone wonder why illegal immigration has finally arisen to the forefront of our collective consciousness? Why have overpaid CEO’s and hedge fund managers become so reviled? Are they not roaring across the quiet masses with their noses held high in the air? Some of us have become sickened by the sight of a soccer mom driving her Hummer to work alone. How many big-block V-8’s does a recreational watercraft need to cruise down the lake? Many of them have two and some even have three. A five-year-old holds up his fingers to indicate his age, but that kid will not need that many fingers to describe the fuel consumption of a big Scarab! We used to speak of a CEO’s income in millions. Now there are hedge fund managers making billions. We have become a nation of wretched excess for a few and unlimited growth for the multitudes. Like the middle class families enjoying their family outings on the lake, our national sanity is being wrenched apart by the growth of the extremes.

Ker-Splash! Recreational Power Boaters Guide

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

A Straightforward Explanation

The Last Horizon explains the DNA of the herd instinct. Humans are pack animals always looking for a leader. My third book, published in 2002, was actually conceived at the end of The Sixties. The social phenomenon I call The Class System is an extension of a psychological theory by William H. Sheldon created and compiled in the '40's and '50's. My later theory builds on that premise with a heavy dose of sociological behavior patterns seemingly indigenous to the Baby Boomer generation. As my wife would say, that sounds like a load of psychosocial mumbo-jumbo that she could do without, and that is precisely why she does not like the first chapter of the book. She is a big fan of the later chapters, though, which are admittedly, a lot more fun to read.

My theory is based on the study of body types by a well-known psychologist, but the spin I have placed on his theories is that the prosperity, social power, and recreational time enjoyed by the Boomers at unprecedented levels have allowed a special entity to develop from our earliest social experiences. In simple terms, the shallow social strata so commonly developed during our school years of 1st-12th grades never disappears from our social structure, even as we seemingly mature as individuals. We are born as members of the wolf pack and we die as members of the pack. Darwin's theory never really disappears from our subconscious, no matter how deeply we try to bury it with civilized behavior patterns.

The Class System represents the DNA of most modern pack behavior. Christians are known as a violently patriarchal society. We resist most any efforts at developments of matriarchal power. Why do you think most of the witches who have been burned at the stake have been female? Why do you think the red state right-wingers disparage Hillary Clinton so thoroughly? Why do you think The da Vinci Code was such a big seller? Why are we now in the throes of Obamamania?

The Last Horizon is also the DNA of our sexual behaviors. Our mating rituals reflect the power of feminine sexuality, but we generally tend to try to disguise this fact with a thick coating of rampant testosterone. There is a deeply ingrained conflict between the way we see ourselves as patriarchal Christians and simultaneously as members of the wolf pack. We mature as individuals encased within a culture of confusing identity, outwardly worshipping the masculine while inwardly providing the feminine with the ultimate social power.

The content of the book is a lot more about teenage dating rituals and the sexual behavior of all ages than you might expect from this particular description of its soiological implications. I would never publish anything that was not at least significantly entertaining to read. My style has a lot more in common with Bill Maher than Paul Krugman. My point is that we never seem to grow up. We are the generation of adolescents that have more in common with Peter Pan than we would care to admit, and that, ladies and gentlemen, will be our downfall. As an entire culture, we are so easily led around by our noses, or more appropriately by our hoo-hahs and doo-dahs.

The Last Horizon at Amazon

Floyd M. Orr's related blog, Palin Babygate

Monday, December 8, 2008

How to Buy Christmas Presents

There are three categories of presents that I generally seek out for my family and friends: practical, memorable, and consumable. I generally prefer to both give and receive presents in this same decreasing order, although as I get older, the consumable group is surpassing the memorable group. The younger the recipient, the more you should follow the original order, and the older the recipient, the more you may wish to choose the reverse order. In other words, any kid wants a toy that they can play with, our younger parents might wish to have some sort of memorable token of our love and compassion for them, and older parents or grandparents just don't want any more stuff that they have to find someplace to put. They would usually prefer to have something they can just eat and get it over with, particularly some treat they treasure from the old days that has now become too expensive an indulgence.

The first place to look for any gift these days should be and is Amazon. In these days of not only gasoline too expensive to physically go shopping in the first place, but a fuel surcharge on the shipping of products, Amazon's $25+ free shipping deal is a Godsend! You think you cannot buy a walker or other aid to the impaired and built by a supplier of consumer medical equipment at Amazon? Think again. You think you cannot buy an unusual model of WeedEater that is out of stock at Home Depot? I did, and the price at Amazon was the best I found anywhere. Want to buy the ubiquitous fruitcake? Try Amazon. How about a tiny, multi-LED, super-bright flashlight? Amazon has the best deals I have found. Most new hardcover releases at B&N are priced at standard retail, but not those at Amazon. Want to know if that rare surf music album from The Sixties is available? No one can answer that question for you better than Amazon.

Getting back to the three categories of gifts, here are some of my favorite online retailers. If Amazon doesn't have the piece of electronics you want, try J&R. If you want to cook something that is fun to eat or just stock up on fruits and nuts, try Bulk Foods. Things Remembered is probably the best store for general stuff that takes up very little space in the memorable category. Here is a review site for the Christmas ubiquity, fruitcake, including links to the bakeries where you can order them. Omaha Steaks can feed anybody who is not a vegetarian, and Kansas City Steaks offers similar values. I know all of you have heard of Cabela's for sportsmen, but how about the smaller, yet sometimes interesting, Sportsmen's Guide? Animal Den is an unusual little store that sells all sorts of paraphernalia for fans of all sorts of animals, and most of it takes up minimal space.

Mustang Legends

Mustang Legends: The Power, The Performance, The Passion Edited by Michael Dregni (Voyageur Press / 0-896-58046-6 / 978-0-896-58046-6 / May 2004 / 160 pages / $29.95)

Once again I had the honor of participating in a project covering the illustrious history of an American icon. This elegant coffee table hardback features stories and articles by several famous automotive scribes, including Peter Egan and Allan Girdler. As measured by the page count, my two contributions, "Stangworld" and "Magical Days", represent a significant portion of this particular homage to the Mustang legacy.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

This Old Corvette

This Old Corvette:
The Ultimate Tribute to America's Sports Car

Edited by Michael Dregni
(Voyageur Press / 0-896-58622-7 / 978-0-896-68622-2 / July 2003 / 160 pages / $29.95)

I am honored to have been featured in this elegant coffee table book about the legendary history of the Corvette and its honored place in American culture. It's a real treat to see my story, "Vetteworld", share the pages of a hardcover book with motorhead heroes such as Peter Egan, Allan Girdler, Martin Milner, and the illustrious Zora Arkus-Duntov!

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Daydream Press Release

PLASTIC OZONE DAYDREAM: The Corvette Chronicles
by Floyd M. Orr
March 2001 - Take a drive through the depth of your imagination as you cruise through the American cultural landscape of the past fifty years in America's automotive icon. Inspired by the historical perspective of Anne Rice and the space cadet time warp of Kurt Vonnegut, PLASTIC OZONE DAYDREAM is intended to become the "Vanishing Point" of car books. The time of American innocence in The Fifties intermingles with the corporate mentality of The Nineties and the flamboyant fun of The Sixties. These will surely be the most imaginative stories about cars you will ever read.

The author of PLASTIC OZONE DAYDREAM grew up in various small towns in Mississippi and he has resided in Texas since 1976. He spent the years 1978-1990 as a traveling auditor throughout Texas and the rest of the U.S., providing more than a decade of time almost constantly behind the wheel. As a member of The Longhorn Corvette Club of Austin, Texas, the author composed most of the wild tales included in Daydream for the amusement of club members through the club newsletter. Emerging from these newsletter articles after extensive editing, PLASTIC OZONE DAYDREAM is meant to convey the most depth in the least words. The stories are woven together like the plies of a radial tire: the sum is much stronger than the parts. The author brings together a lifetime of love for sports cars and a million miles of driving experience.

PLASTIC OZONE DAYDREAM is partly fiction and partly non-fiction. The book is divided into seven sections, called series, in honor of the British sports cars of The Sixties. "Introduction" leads to "Series I: The Wild Tales", both of which are meant to just get the car started. "Series II: Roadblocks" describe those unpleasant features of driving in modern America. "Series III: Spirits of the Age" define the sub-eras of Corvette history as divisions other than the obvious ones so retreaded in most other Corvette books. "Series IV: The Sweet Rides" take you right where you want to go, and "Series V: The Great Pretenders" take you where you have never been before. The book concludes with "Tire Tracks" which include a 200-question trivia quiz. Thirty-eight B&W photos taken by the author add personal humor and nostalgia.

Floyd M. Orr has wanted to publish a real book for most of his life. This goal happens to have been realized with PLASTIC OZONE DAYDREAM, a humorous compilation of Corvette stories. The author's interests include psychology, as stated on his diploma from Mississippi State University in 1971, motorcycles as well as sports cars, and Classic Krautrock. The next book will surely emphasize one of these non-vehicular hobbies a lot more than the first one, but these elements are certainly present in Daydream. The author long ago developed his own theory of personality development. This first book is meant to convey a serious undertone to a lighthearted subject. Daydream is chock full of facts and figures about Corvettes that are meant to educate as well as entertain the reader. Full of Southern humor and sports car lingo, PLASTIC OZONE DAYDREAM is designed to take the reader on a journey into his imagination.

PLASTIC OZONE DAYDREAM: The Corvette Chronicles by Floyd M. Orr. Writers Club Press, December, 2000. 6"x9" Trade Paperback. ISBN: 0-595-15794-7. 355 pages. $17.95. Distributed by Ingram. Available at these online bookstores: iUniverse.com - Barnes & Noble - Amazon - Books-a-Million - 1 Bookstreet.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Cat of the Day

Here is a more conventional, photogenic pose from my sister's new kitten, Sugar Baby.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Plastic Ozone Daydream

Plastic Ozone Daydream:
The Corvette Chronicles

by Floyd M. Orr

(Writers Club Press / 0-595-15794-7 / 978-0-595-15794-5 / December 2000 / 368 pages / $17.95)

Take an entertaining drive through the history of Baby Boomer America with our own sports car icon, the Corvette. These are interlinked stories that capture the essence and spirit of America's car culture.

Most of these stories were originally published in The Longhorn Corvette Club BULLetin 1985-1994. They have been edited and compiled into a coherent volume of essays covering the history of the Corvette. Modern American culture has interfaced with the Corvette in ways you may never have considered. These stories are intended to torque your imagination and light up your memories. This is not a marque history book or one of glossy-perfect photographs. There are 35 B & W photos in the book, but their content and text references are not what you would expect. This tale of unexpected imagination is meant to entertain the many car nuts in our culture. It is a mixture of fond remembrances and shocking revelations, a trip filled with smooth asphalt, potholes, and radar guns.

The intent of Plastic Ozone Daydream has always been to paint with the broadest strokes, presenting the most imagery possible with the least number of words. The attempt has been to make Daydream the Vanishing Point of car books, not the most famous or profitable, but the one car junkies remember as leaving tire tracks on their hearts. The stories are told through the headlights of a Corvette, not only because they reached a captive audience through a Corvette club, but because the Corvette offers a vast array of data and history to validate and solidify the storyline. The stories range over a broad spectrum of style and substance. Some are nostalgic, many are actually non-fiction with the nomenclature aborted, and others just tell the ugly truth. The more you know about Corvettes, the more inside jokes you will understand. The more you like sports cars, and the author has a lot of non-Corvette favorites, the more Daydream will entertain you. The book contains facts, figures, photos, tables, and even a 200-question trivia quiz at the end. After returning home, the reader should feel as if he has just completed a long trip in the blink of an eye.

Excerpt from "Essence":

Me and the Toad swung-a-uie on our squirmy tires and sissy suspension. Neither one of us had seen one of those trapped on a used car lot in a long time, and it was so black Lash LaRue would not have objected to being caught dead in it. I stopped and exited the Toad to get a closer look, as if a fruit-juice can had just bonked me upside the head.

This black beauty had most of what lights my Corvette fire. It was a 1969 L-36 4-speed Coupe in all-black. The only two visible non-standard items were a non-stock upholstery pattern on the vinyl seats and attractive fake-wire chrome wheels. The tires were late-model blackwall radials and the luxury options were few in number. The asking price of $6500 did not seem unreasonable to me. When I returned from a business trip three days later, the car was gone. The owner of the used car lot said the aforementioned speed limit basher had been there on consignment only and the owner was asking too high a price; therefore, the car had not been sold, but instead had been returned to its owner in Houston. The essence of 427 cubic inches floated out the window of that little used-car lot office....

Plastic Ozone Daydream is available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and selected bookstores.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

About the Author

His favorite author is Anne Rice. His addiction is coconut. His obsessions are psychology, sociology, music, computers, cars, motorcycles, and boats. His motto is: "If you don't buy it, they can't sell it."

Floyd M. Orr has spent his career in the financial industry, but his passions are far more artistic and imaginative. He traveled all over the U.S. as an auditor in 1978-1990, logging nearly a million miles of driving. Already following a lifetime obsession with sports cars, this massive mileage inspired him to compose what was to become his first published book. Never planning to become a prolific author, he took fifteen years to complete Plastic Ozone Daydream. The book was inspired by the stories about both cars and motorcycles written by Peter Egan in Road & Track and Cycle World. The influences from Anne Rice and Jean Shepherd can be spotted in the fantasy and nostalgia of the author's stories. The space-cadet imagination could only have come from Kurt Vonnegut, his Cat's Cradle being the obvious favorite. The author's second book, Ker-Splash! is somewhat less of a fantasy and more of a how-to reference work than the first. The influences are more Tom Wolfe and Jean Shepherd, with a little Louis Rukeyser added to the mix. Ker-Splash! is an overview of the boating and watersports industry and hobby. The sophistication level demanded of the reader of Ker-Splash! is considerably less than that of Daydream's market niche. Ker-Splash! will introduce you to the water skiing hobby in a comprehensive manner, but Daydream will take you deeper into the sports car fantasy than you can imagine. The author has lived practically his entire life in Mississippi and Texas, providing his writing with a deep southern flavor.

This website is entitled Nonfiction in a Fictional Style. This is the only genre of writing I have ever been interested in entering. I have led an unusually remarkable life that has led me to the style and subject matter of my books. I don't think there is anything else on the market quite like them. On the surface, they are simultaneously frivolous and topical, but there is a much more serious truth hidden in their undercurrents. I am somewhat of a fan of the '70's TV version of M*A*S*H, in which the comedy overlies a serious subject. In my books you might discern the heart and humor of Hawkeye mixed with the cultured attitude of Charles Emerson Winchester III. I write about what I know. I want to teach, but not preach. I attempt in all my writing to say the most with the least number of words. When I select a book, I want steak, not salad dressing. When I release a composition, I want the reader to get the real deal, too. If I cannot stimulate the intellect far beyond the obvious words on the page, I have failed in my mission, and the reader better be well entertained to boot!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

The Smirking Kiss-Up

Who has this smirking wonk been kissing up to or sleeping with to have obtained and retained her stinking, nightly hour of trash television? Her tongue has been so deeply up the Alaskan Celebrity Whore's rear end that she must be able to taste the lipstick on the pit bull from the inside out! This link to her page at Dickipedia is hilarious!

A Commercial Break

A Commercial Break is probably my favorite excerpt from my fourth book, Timeline of America: Sound Bytes from the Consumer Culture. (Click the photo to enlarge it.)

A Commercial Break

The more alike a product is to its competitors, the more effort is put into its advertising to prove how different it is from all the others. It is these particular advertising slogans, characters, and campaigns that we remember. Garry Moore spends many of his TV moments telling us how Winston tastes good like a cigarette should. Speedy Alka-Seltzer leads us into a duet of plop, plop, fizz, fizz. Ford has a better idea even when Chevy is like a rock. If all the Ford trucks I see are built Texas tough, does that mean that somebody up in Yankeeland has a Ford pickup that’s built Connecticut tough? Roaches may check in without checking out of your Roach Motel, but hadn’t you rather just kill bugs dead with Raid? A mind may be a terrible thing to waste, but the NHTSA tells me that I can learn a lot from a dummy. Can the few, the proud, the Marines put a tiger in your tank? No, but Hertz can put you in the driver’s seat. You asked for it, so you got it. Pontiac builds excitement, Volkswagen thinks small, and BMW’s sheer driving pleasure won’t be found in your father’s Oldsmobile. You’ve come a long way, baby, since you thought Lucky Strike meant fine tobacco. Is it live or is it Memorex? Only the Energizer Bunny knows, because he keeps going and going. It’s difficult to say “Look, ma, no cavities” when you’ve been spending all your time with Sugar Bear, the Trix rabbit, Poppin’ Fresh and Mr. Peanut. Maybe Morris will let you have some of his 9 Lives.

Up to this point in the timeline, advertising has had only a limited influence on our lives. That is about to change when the baby boomers are growing up in front of the television set. Before The Fifties, products were advertised in ways that were a lot quieter and a lot less intrusive into our lives. The Burma Shave signs on the highways were entertaining at a place where there was little else to read. Billboards had yet to become a visual nuisance and the print ads in newspapers and magazines could be discreetly ignored. All that changed when television fastened its firm grip on the eyes and ears of the public.

Are we influenced by advertising? The answer is very simple. If we were not, they would stop doing it. Branding has become a stronger, more embedded part of our daily lives than we ever dreamed possible back during the days of World War II. The quickest route to a mention in this chapter for any product is the power of its brand. If we are to relive our recent nostalgic past, it must be through the brands. We don’t have much else to use as a conduit to our past anymore. We buy just about everything from the corporate controller of shipping containers from China. We are at their mercy because all the unsuccessful brands of marketing have been sent to the Roach Motel. Wally-World controls the brands and we have little choice but to let them have that control. Most of us can no longer afford to shop where the lowest price is not always present. Timeline covers only the highlights of certain types of issues that have obviously had strong influence upon the shaping of our culture over the past century. The purpose of this book is to compress all the fond memories of our past into one small volume. The sequel to Timeline of America is tentatively scheduled for release in early 2008. All those other subjects will then be discussed. At that time, we shall wallow in the politics and economics of our distinctly American past and future. Now back to our regularly scheduled program….

Friday, November 28, 2008

Cat of the Day

My sister recently lost her sweet, Himalayan Persian to old age. This little awwwwww! will be old enough for adoption on December 13th. Born in a cattery in Alabama, she has already been named Sugar Baby, and is destined for a new home in Mississippi as my sister's Christmas present to herself. Let's hear it one more time for Sugar Baby: awwwwwwh!

Ker-Splash! Press Release

April 20, 2002

Buying a boat? You need to read Ker-SPLASH! Recreational Power Boaters Guide!

Ker-SPLASH! Recreational Power Boaters Guide by Floyd M. Orr (ISBN: 0-595-21431-2. Writers Club Press. 276 pages. $17.95)

Ker-SPLASH! is the author's second book of Nonfiction in a Fictional Style. It is a comprehensive reference guide for the family boating and water skiing hobbyist. Floyd M. Orr has released his second book in the series he calls Nonfiction in a Fictional Style. The author's approach to his subject matter is uniquely his own. He combines the imagination of Kurt Vonnegut with the nostalgic humor of Jean Shepherd and the topical essence of Thomas Wolfe. His first book, Plastic Ozone Daydream: The Corvette Chronicles, was a deep view of modern American car culture. Ker-SPLASH! is a comprehensive, up-to-date look at powerboating in 2002. The book is jam-packed with facts and figures on the boats available from both the new and used markets. Several how-to issues, such as How to Water Ski and How to Teach to Water Ski, are included. With its entertaining-but-true stories of boating mishaps and unsponsored analysis of all the brands of both boats and equipment, there is not another book like it! Ker-SPLASH! Recreational Power Boaters Guide, by Floyd M. Orr, Writers Club Press, ISBN: 0-595-21431-2, 276 pages, $17.95.

The photo above is a 1960 Lone Star Capri. (Click the photo for a larger view.) The author of Ker-Splash! spent a lot of quality time behind one of these, riding an Olympic Competition slalom and what we used to call a flying saucer or disc. He ordered the ski from Sears for the best $13.69 plus shipping and tax he ever spent. This is the sort of water sports nostalgia lovingly described in Ker-Splash: Recreational Power Boaters Guide.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Ker-SPLASH! Description

Ker-SPLASH! is a reference book for boating and water skiing hobbyists. It is a comprehensive analogy of the models of all types of recreational powerboats on the market now and in the recent past. Note that Ker-Splash 2 is a second edition of the first Ker-Splash! The second book contains all the information in the first book in an updated version, plus a whole lot more! There is no advantage whatsoever to choosing the first Ker-Splash instead of the second, no matter what type of boat interests you. All the brands are discussed with details about the status of the companies, the company histories, and the products produced. Contact addresses are included for all the major manufacturers of boats, engines, skis, wakeboards, boat accessories, and ski accessories. The highest quality retailers of these products are also included. Not only does Ker-SPLASH! include entertaining-but-true boating stories, but several chapters include how-to issues such as: learning to ski, teaching to ski, learning to slalom, riding a kneeboard, towing a skier, selecting a boat, skis, and accessories, and selecting a personal slalom ski. The book is for the neophyte or the experienced boater.
The target audience for Ker-SPLASH! is not necessarily as sophisticated in the specific hobby as that intended for Plastic Ozone Daydream. Most of that book was written over a period of fifteen years, originally intended for a Corvette club target audience, and then it was re-edited for a little broader audience. Ker-SPLASH! was composed entirely in 2001 as an up-to-date reference book that reflects the massive changes in the boating industry of the last few years. I researched the material mostly on the internet to secure the most recent, valid data on the status of each corporate entity discussed in the book. My four decades as a power boating enthusiast were brought into the book’s realm to complete the picture of power boating, as it exists in 2002. My intent was to cover a lot of previously unavailable material, as well as widely divergent material that at least had not been available in one location. Fishing and sailing are hobbies practiced by huge numbers of Americans, but both fields have massive numbers of books written about them and both hobbies bore me silly. I was not blessed with an athletic body, and the usual array of competitive sports bore me silly, too. I am a motorhead by nature. I like sports cars, motorcycles, and powerboats about equally. Ker-SPLASH! is my homage to the motors that float. I did not intend to insult the intelligence of the reader or repeat tired, old advice about how to determine the actual condition of a used boat or how to drive the boat into a docking space or drop an anchor. I assume that anyone who buys my book already knows to check the fluids in an engine and how not to drop the anchor on his foot. I have not assumed that the reader has owned a powerboat before or that he knows how to waterski. I have also not assumed that he knows that jet skis were originally an extension of the motorcycle market or that Cypress Gardens was the pioneering purveyor of water skis or that the booming cocaine market of The Eighties inspired Miami Vice, which brought recreational offshore powerboats to the attention of the public. The audience for Ker-SPLASH! lies in that vast ocean between the person who has just decided that the purchase of a ski boat could lead to a healthy, family-oriented, weekend pastime to the person who has been skiing for decades, but is ready to graduate to another level, whether that level is adding a wakeboard to his toy box or adding a half-million-dollar speed monster to his garage.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Ker-Splash: Table of Contents

Chapter 1: Introduction – Historical & Autobiographical Insight
What This Book is About
The Author’s Credentials
An Embarrassing Moment in Boating History

Chapter 2: Getting Started – Whatever Floats Your Boat
The Big Picture - The KISS Principle
The Sunbrella Bimini Syndrome
Moby Dick & His Trailer - Speed is Expensive
You Meet the Nicest Dealers at a Show - Nevers and Miracles

Chapter 3: Sterndrive Runabouts – Unsung Heroes
Introduction to the Runabouts - Seating Choices - Power Choices
The Stern Drive Runabouts

Chapter 4: Learning & Teaching to Ski - The Hard Part is Getting Out of the Water
Learning to Ski - Teaching to Ski - Learning & Teaching to Slalom
Wakeboards - Kneeboards - What Flying Saucer? - Tubes

Chapter 5: Skis & Other Water Toys – Skinny Sticks to Wide Loads & Mindless Tubes

Chapter 6: Towing Technique – A Real Art & A Real Science

Chapter 7: The Mini-Jet Splash of the Mid-Nineties - Spyders on the Water

Chapter 8: Serious Ski Boats – Trading Big Bucks for The Sweet Ride

Chapter 9: Maintenance Issues - Charge the Battery & Keep the Carbs Clean!
Introduction - Saltwater - Winterizing - Summer Maintenance
Guilty Until Proven Innocent - Exxon is Not a Vintage Wine
A Piece of Steel Wool Goes a Long Way

Chapter 10: Safety Issues - Sober Life Vests and Other Obvious Boring Subjects
Let the Pirates Keep the Rum - All Sizes and Colors
Currents & Waves - Miss Sellaneous Common Cents
Boat Lights on Parade - Licensing Legality

Chapter 11: Those Other Boats on the Lake – Jet Skis to Scarabs
Introduction - Personal Watercraft - Sailboats - Bass Boats
Party Barges - Deck Boats - Cabin Cruisers - Canoes - Speedboats - Offshore Performance Boats

Tuesday, November 25, 2008


Ker-Splash! Recreational Power Boaters Guide by Floyd M. Orr

(Writers Club Press / 0-595-21431-2 / 978-0-595-21431-0 / April 2002 / 276 pages / $17.95)

Ker-SPLASH! is a comprehensive, up-to-date reference book for the family power boater and water skier. A complete list of manufacturers, how-to instructions, and entertaining boating stories are included.

A book of this nature for the recreational power boater has not existed before. Many books are available on the subjects of fishing and sailing, which are not included in this book. Ker-SPLASH! covers all those other types of boats intended for family fun: sterndrive runabouts, offshore performance boats, speedboats, personal watercraft, mini-jet boats, tournament ski boats, wakeboard boats, and others. The manufacturers of all these types are profiled and compared. The engine specifications and comparisons are detailed, too. The makers of skis, wakeboards, and all other water toys, as well as the retailers of these products are also profiled.

Ker-SPLASH! offers step by step instructions for teaching a beginner to ski on two skis, and then to slalom. The delicate art of properly driving the boat as a towing vehicle is described. The book also includes detailed descriptions of the process of selecting and purchasing skis, accessories, and water toys.

This is an entertaining, fun-to-read book. All the descriptive facts, figures, and details are enlightened with the author's own true-life stories of how not to go boating. The entire book is one man's stated opinion. You can accept or reject whatever advice is offered. The beauty of Ker-SPLASH! is that no other book offers this particular information. The author is not affiliated with or sponsored by any corporation, which happens to be the unfortunate reality of most buyer's guides. The author does not include most of the elementary aspects, such as how to drive a boat, how to spot a lemon on the used market, or how to drop an anchor. Neither does the author advise you what brand or model of anything to purchase. The author's intent is to provide the best-detailed overview of the power boating hobby, to give the boater or the potential boat buyer the information he needs to make intelligent decisions.


I need to fill you in on a couple of personal idiosyncrasies that will aid in your understanding of this book. I became a fan of Mad Magazine back about the time Ahab the Arab first rode his camel named Clyde. One of my favorite things the magazine's writers used to do was to call everything by its Department, such as The Don Martin Department. My favorite of Mr. Martin's work has always been "The Hardest Head in the World", from Don Martin Bounces Back, but that's not the point here. The point is that you will be referred to The Offshore Power Boat Department or The Sterndrive Runabout Department, etc., repeatedly throughout Ker-SPLASH! Well, just get a grip and deal with it. I think The Department is more fun than a page or chapter number, and apparently the editors of Mad agreed with me. The other thing you will just have to put up with is that I write from a personal viewpoint because I think that's fun to read, too. I am far from the most accomplished slalom skier in the world, and I can't afford a tournament ski boat or a Scarab any more than I can a Ferrari, but all three are things I would dearly love to own. I'm a dreamer just like you are. I skied behind the boats my father could afford in The Sixties and I ski behind a four-cylinder Capri now. My hope is that a lot of you out there can identify with my silly attitude and Southern perspective.

Sea Ray is another very major boat builder, but with a slightly different perspective than Bayliner. If Bayliner is the Chevy of boat builders, then Sea Ray most certainly is the Mercedes-Benz. Sea Ray is the number one boat builder, as measured by dollar volume. The Knoxville, Tennessee, company has been a part of Brunswick since 1986. Founded in 1959, the company makes fifty models from 17-feet to 68-feet. Sea Ray purchased Baja in 1995 and Boston Whaler in 1996. Sea Rays are currently being manufactured in seven plants: three in Tennessee, three in Florida, and one in Arizona. The 2002 prices begin at about $15,000 and go where no wallet has gone before. The 19 runabouts up to 26 feet make up almost half of the Sea Ray model line. Although the brand is legendary for its selection of Sport Cruisers, Sport Yachts, and just plain yachts for millionaires, the runabouts are more the speed of this book. All Sea Rays use Mercruiser power, starting with the ubiquitous 135-hp Four in the entry-level bowrider and going up to the 425-hp 496 with a Bravo III in the 27-footer. If conservative style, ultimate quality, and a legendary nameplate is your speed, and your banker won't burn you at the stake, then a Sea Ray could be the boat for you.

Contact: Sea Ray Boats, Inc., 2600 Sea Ray Boulevard, Knoxville, TN 37914, (800) 772-6287 or (423) 522-4181 - searay.com.

Purchase Ker-Splash! at Barnes & Noble

Get Ker-Splash direct from the publisher.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Timeline Excerpts

It’s like having Godzilla stuffed into a briefcase. The subject is so enormous that it feels like he’s trying to claw and stomp his way off every page! This is the author’s most commercial work yet. He has effectively taken the data from a full set of encyclopedias and condensed it into one small volume of the best material that has defined America since its inception. The material ranges from Paul Revere to The Brady Bunch, featuring subjects from Pampers to Arnold the Pig. Did you know that Elvis sang “Old McDonald” or that Ernest T. Bass directed many of your favorite TV shows? Now you do. Did you know that a shuttlecock has flown over 200 mph or that a model airplane has flown over 1800 miles? Now you do.

Timeline Excerpts:

These are excerpts from each of the ten timelines in the book. The actual timelines begin as early as 1492 and conclude as late as 2006. Text from assorted stories and articles in the book has not been excerpted here. Most of the later years of each timeline include far more facts than the brief years listed in these excerpts.

1608 – (Events) Bowling is banned in Jamestown.

1628 – (Events) The first orgy with Indian women is held in Quincy, MA. Thomas Morton is the first person deported from the U.S.

1775 – (Comforts) Flush toilet invented

1776 – (Comforts) First American ice cream parlor opens in New York

1792 – (Comforts) The first cologne, 4711 Eau de Cologne, sold at a shop at 4711 Glockengasse in Cologne, West Germany

1885 – (Cars) First gasoline pump

1888 – (Cars) First electric automobile

1893 – (Cars) First U.S.-built, gas-propelled car

1897 – (Toys) The Shakespeare company is founded to build level-winding fishing reels.

1899 – (Toys) First vibrator ad in McClure’s Magazine

1902 – (Movies) The first theater designed especially for film opens in L.A.

1903 – (Movies) Kit Carson is the first cowboy film and The Great Train Robbery is the first Western.

1910 – (Movies) The first movie stunt is included in a film.

1941 – (Television) Commercial television broadcasting authorized by the FCC – Bulova Watch first television ad

1948 – (Television) First network nightly news on CBS – Howdy Doody begins Monday-Friday timeslot – The Perry Como ShowCandid CameraToast of the Town is the progenitor of The Ed Sullivan Show.

1955 - (Music) Johnny Cash – Fats Domino – Little Richard – Chuck Berry –

Elvis 1956 – (Nerds) Richard Matheson’s The Incredible Shrinking Man – Grace Metalious’ Peyton Place – Bruce Catton’s This Hallowed Ground – Computers: Mouse invented – IBM computer disc drive

1965 – (Sports) Los Angeles Dodgers 4 Minnesota Twins 3 – Joe Namath leaves the land of Bear Bryant for the New York Jets. Cassius Clay morphs into Muhammad Ali. The Houston Astrodome premieres when Mickey Mantle hits the first indoor home run. The Astrodome gets a $20,000 paint job on its ceiling to block glaring sunlight, causing the grass to die. Willie Mays breaks the home run record with 512. Lotus wins the Indianapolis 500 with a Ford engine.

1981 – (Gossip) Natalie Wood falls off a boat at night near the California coast and drowns before Brainstorm is completed. Prince Charles gets engaged to Lady Diana Spencer. Carol Burnett wins a libel suit against The National Enquirer.

Text Excerpt:

The more alike a product is to its competitors, the more effort is put into its advertising to prove how different it is from all the others. It is these particular advertising slogans, characters, and campaigns that we remember. Garry Moore spends many of his TV moments telling us how Winston tastes good like a cigarette should. Speedy Alka-Seltzer leads us into a duet of plop, plop, fizz, fizz. Ford has a better idea even when Chevy is like a rock. If all the Ford trucks I see are built Texas tough, does that mean that somebody up in Yankeeland has a Ford pickup that’s built Connecticut tough? Roaches may check in without checking out of your Roach Motel, but hadn’t you rather just kill bugs dead with Raid? A mind may be a terrible thing to waste, but the NHTSA tells me that I can learn a lot from a dummy. Can the few, the proud, the Marines put a tiger in your tank? No, but Hertz can put you in the driver’s seat. You asked for it, so you got it. Pontiac builds excitement, Volkswagen thinks small, and BMW’s sheer driving pleasure won’t be found in your father’s Oldsmobile. You’ve come a long way, baby, since you thought Lucky Strike meant fine tobacco. Is it live or is it Memorex? Only the Energizer Bunny knows, because he keeps going and going. It’s difficult to say “Look, ma, no cavities” when you’ve been spending all your time with Sugar Bear, the Trix rabbit, Poppin’ Fresh and Mr. Peanut. Maybe Morris will let you have some of his 9 Lives.

Horizon Excerpt & Reviews

Our dating rituals have shown American corporations how to use brainwashing and mind control techniques to control our consumer economy. The Last Horizon offers you a new way to face the rest of your life. The Class System offers a description of American society that you have encountered every day of your life, but the explanation has remained invisible to your eyes until now. Open your eyes to the social world around you. Feel the power.


Has there ever been a culture in which the influences of sexual attractiveness and celebrity worship been more prevalent or invasive? I could have researched this concept for precise facts and figures, but those details would have constituted another book. Modern Americans have spent more money on weight-loss programs than the gross national product of most of the world’s countries. We have also spent similarly outrageous amounts on the buying and selling of celebrity status. Just how large is the make-up industry in the U.S.? The fashion industry is almost as insane. Women don’t have a monopoly on the insanity, either. How much do we pay professional football players who cannot spell psychology? How much do we pay teenage pop singers who cannot conjugate a verb?

The Class System can be viewed on many levels. The simplest of Survival of the Fittest concepts lie at the bottom strata. Above this level, we can see the reflections within the culture of The Class System. These are the behaviors that the leaders within the culture all but force upon the masses, mostly because the leaders have long ago learned that this is the easiest way to control the behavior of the citizens. The third level is the direct result of the behaviors controlled by the cultural leaders. After a point these false truths and concepts become so ingrained within the culture that removing or changing these behaviors becomes a nearly impossible task. At this third stratum, the validity of the behavior has become established within the culture to a level that far surpasses common sense. The fourth and final level is that at which one or more corporate and/or governmental entities have established such a massive financial investment in the continuation of the particular behavior pattern that there are no limits as to what that body will do to ensure the continuation of the behavior. The single best example of this travesty in all of American history is the tobacco industry. The excruciatingly sad part of this fourth stratum is that it has permeated practically every industry in America. This seems to be the one truly devastating element of capitalism. No segment of American culture has escaped this unreality. Without The Class System, this whole corporate or governmental entity would be relatively powerless at selling something to the public that is so clearly wrong from a standpoint of common sense. The Class System is the tool used to control the behavior of the American citizenry in cases of irrational concepts, those concepts that have been created solely out of greed.

Reviewed by Dianne Salerni 7/13/08:

In The Last Horizon, Floyd M. Orr states what everybody knows, but nobody wants to admit: your physical attractiveness is the single most important factor for social success in America. Our society is celebrity-mad and consumer-driven. A constant barrage of advertisement tells us what to think, how to act, and what we want. And the majority of middle class Americans are content to stay in the herd, conforming to behaviors that were designed for us by a social system of pecking order which this author, calls The Class System. Not to be confused with an economic class system, this Class System is a social hierarchy based on a person’s family background, educational status, but most of all by physical attractiveness. You learn your place on the social ladder early, in childhood or adolescence, and once you are placed, your status will not change. Mr. Orr identifies four different classes in the System, each with its own distinguishing characteristics, typical behaviors, and personality types. He can even predict your political affiliation based on your “Class.” Mr. Orr calls his book “A Detailed Analysis of the Obvious.” He makes statements that are not politically correct, but true nonetheless. Once you read The Last Horizon, you can never un-read it. You will find yourself applying his Class System designations to people you know and suddenly understanding the social dynamics of your work place. Although the book claims that it is written for women who want to stop getting involved with jerks and narcissists, it is far more than a dating manual. It’s a biting commentary on the mores of our society.

Reviewed by Jennifer Holly MacDonald 12/29/07

I am buying your book from Amazon.ca but before I actually read it, I just want to say that I understand the courage it takes to see past the bullshit, make some sense out of it and then write it down on paper in hopes that others might get it too. I applaud that quality and appreciate it. Freedom from social illusions is the greatest freedom of all.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

DNA: Unscrambling the Message

The message is clear in my mind, but it may not be in yours. Marketing our books can sometimes be tougher than we ever expected. Here is one example....

Nobody seems to get it. No one seems to even care if they get it! The Last Horizon is about the root driving forces behind modern American culture. I wanted to finally write the book that had been inside my head for thirty years. The subject could so easily have been political or economic. That was even my first choice of the way to present the material. There were several reasons why Horizon came out as apparently schizophrenic as it did. The first was that I knew going into the project that I could never compete with the pundit celebrities such as Al Franken, Naomi Klein, Paul Krugman, or even Thomas Frank, whose What's the Matter with Kansas? has come very close to the book I originally wanted to write. The second reason that Horizon became what it did was to sell to a female audience. I had repeatedly read how women outnumber men as book buyers, and my two previous books had concerned male-oriented subjects. The third reason for Horizon's schizoid nature was that I wanted to entertain the readers as much as possible, and sex is usually far more entertaining than economic theory!

The theory of a modern American class system is my own. The phrase the class system is simply what I chose to call this thing I discovered back in the late Sixties. It could just as easily be called herd behavior. It is simply a theory that psychology does not exist without sociology. The Class System is broken down into easily digestible chapters in Horizon. It has been the DNA of the behavior of Americans since World War II. It is the key to how we got where we are today, sexually, economically, and politically.

Someone said long ago that race would be the issue that eventually brings down America. I agree with that wise comment, but I tend to expound upon it with a detailed history of our culture included. One of the first details noted in Horizon concerning The Class System is that it exists solely within the WASP population of the middle class. This is seemingly a stark contrast to the concept of race being the entity that brings down America. This is also one way in which Horizon displays its schizophrenia. Is it a book about dating and relationships, or is it a book about the economic and political structures of America? The result is that it has to be some of both. The more political, economic, and racial issues have been saved for a later book. The intent was to make Horizon as palatable and digestible as possible. Its 270 pages could easily have been a thousand, but I was working definitively to keep its depth and detail under control. Like the DNA evidence in a murder investigation, a person needs to carefully examine and interpret the details of the discovered evidence before it should be integrated into the whole of a murder case. Our sexual mores and how they have created and controlled The Class System are only the first pieces of the puzzle. After we have adequately assimilated these new concepts, we can move on to the next plateau of understanding. The discovery and understanding of the DNA is only the first step.

Some of America's celebrity talking heads are beginning to get it, and they are doing a fine job of waking Americans up. We have seen the enemy and he is us! An interview with Paul Krugman that I read just this morning (August 6, 2004) stated how much he has personally become more aware of the liaison between the corporate powers and the religious right. Well, duh! This is exactly the sort of thing a person could come to understand better after reading Horizon. The difference is that Horizon only scrapes the surface of this phenomenon, while providing the crucial DNA that is necessary for the reader to really develop a deep understanding of the insanity that has gripped America. Thomas Frank has done a fine job of describing the connection between the blue collar middle class being forced down economically into the lower class and the same people continually voting for Republicans that lead the effort to push their constituents downward. Duh again! How do they get away with this apparent insanity? By utilizing The Class System, that's how! They may not call it by the name I gave it, but they sure as hell are utilizing the same psychological principles to do this bit of dirty work. What does the next book need to address? How race will bring down America. It does not matter if the book is authored by Paul Krugman, Thomas Frank, or Floyd M. Orr. What does matter is that someone must take the next step. This is a story that absolutely must be told. What is the factor that the good guys, the left wing, have seen to it that no one can discuss intelligently? Race. What is the unspoken element driving the voters in Kansas? Race. They are voting with the white folks. Is this all they are doing? No. They are voting the way The Class System has directed them. They are acting illogically. They are following ancient passions inspired by the herd instinct. It's in their DNA.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

The Last Horizon

The Last Horizon: Feminine Sexuality & The Class System

by Floyd M. Orr

(Writers Club Press / 0-595-24472-6 / 978-0-595-24472-0 / August 2002 / 271 pages / $17.95)

A Detailed Analysis of the Obvious

Everyone knows that women have always been the gatekeepers of sex in our society. The Last Horizon presents the history, psychological descriptions, and sociological mores of this phenomenon from a perspective never before analyzed. Introduce yourself to the controversial psychosocial theory of The Class System. Consider yourself classified.

For women: This book will help you weed out the jerks, jackasses, gays, and narcissists from the more desirable men you can see on your horizon. Just use The Man Test to order one up to your specifications. Your prescription man is waiting for you to find him.

For men: Get a better understanding of the difficult modern culture in which you are expected to survive with little help from the current state of American leadership. Learn what women really want in a man and how to speak and understand the exotic language of the modern American woman.

The Last Horizon offers you a new way to face the rest of your life. The Class System offers a description of American society that you have encountered every day of your life, but the explanation has remained invisible to your eyes until now. You are being offered a detailed analysis of those elements of your personality and those of everyone around you. These issues may have been affecting every decision you have made throughout your life. Now you have the opportunity to better understand those choices.

A Personal Note from the Author

A complete description of The Last Horizon has to include a lot more detail than the information above. This is simply the text blurb reprinted from the back cover of the book. The real story behind The Last Horizon is that this book spills the beans on modern American society. We have become a nation obsessed with money, celebrity, and the arrogant abuse of power in ways that would make our founding fathers disown us. We relax our scruples to dive for the bottom line in one manner after another. Year after year the situation worsens. We have sold out our own citizenry in ways unparalleled in human history. The Last Horizon is a lot more than just the listing of those details: it is an explanation of how the nefarious deeds are carried out right under the noses of Americans!

The more you are able to blend into the fabric of Beaver Cleaver America, the less likely you are to have ever learned what I have learned. The Class System was invented solely for the purpose of making life extraordinarily easy for the Barbies and Beavers of America. The problem is that such a society tends to entrap itself within its own web of ignorance and arrogance. The element that makes The Last Horizon so unique is that I am deeply and obviously such a total American of the Beaver Cleaver type, and yet I am not totally one of them. I am just outside the scenery enough to get an intensely clear perception of it.

Our culture does not honestly favor brains over braun or intellect over beauty. Technology marches forward like an unstoppable army while our social system has hardly stepped out of the caves we once inhabited. We have never completely been who we claim to be as Americans. We want our children to think they need a college degree to succeed in life, but we tell them this while watching Anna Nicole or the football game on television. We want our kids to be smart, but we continually treat nerds like dirt and pay jocks millions of dollars to entertain us. Whenever we feel cornered by our own idologies, we tend to find a scapegoat to bully. We never question our own beliefs. The Last Horizon questions the hell out of 'em!

Barnes & Noble

Direct from the Publisher

Friday, November 21, 2008

Quiz Excerpts from Timeline of America

1. When did front seat belts become standard on all cars?
(a) 1973 (b) 1970 (c) 1968 (d) 1963
2. Where was the last rear-engine VW Beetle built?
(a) Wolfsburg (b) Pennsylvania (c) Toronto (d) Mexico
3. What product was first manufactured by Beretta?
(a) Shotguns (b) Slingshots (c) Derringers (d) Crossbows
4. What did the drug company Merck patent in 1862?
(a) Cocaine (b) THC (c) Drinkable alcohol (d) Opium
5. What was forbidden during religious services in 1659?
(a) Tennis (b) Golf (c) Croquet (d) Badminton
6. What did the Southern Baptist Convention ban in 2000?
(a) Gays (b) Transsexuals (c) Choir boys (d) Female pastors
7. Who did Leonard Franklin Slye marry?
(a) Dale Evans (b) Doris Day (c) Donna Douglas (d) Madonna
8. Where was a U.S. nuclear bomb accidentally dropped in 1953?
(a) Mojave Desert (b) North Dakota (c) South Carolina (d) Nevada
9. Who is the oldest of this group?
(a) Goofy (b) Porky Pig (c) Felix the Cat (d) Donald Duck
10. What is the screen name of Clint Eastwood’s orangutan partner?
(a) Clyde (b) Dirty Harry (c) Ralph (d) Theodore
11. Which of these was a real garage band?
(a) The Monkees (b) The Quarrymen (c) Spinal Tap (d) The Wonders
12. Who sold out Madison Square Garden with no advertising?
(a) Yes (b) Jethro Tull (c) Peter Frampton (d) Billy Joel
13. Who coined the word nerd?
(a) Mr. Wizard (b) Nolan Bushnell (c) Steve Jobs (d) Dr. Seuss
14. What was the first commercial commuter called?
15. How many consecutive times did Lance Armstrong win the Tour de France?
(a) Seven (b) Five (c) Eight (d) Six
16. Who retired from football after he was ordered to sell his stake in a bar?
(a) Alex Karras (b) O. J. Simpson (c) Joe Namath (d) Mr. T
17. Who was the first host of The Tonight Show?
(a) Gary Moore (b) Jack Paar (c) Joey Bishop (d) Steve Allen
18. Where did Andy Griffith first appear?
(a) TV series (b) Movies (c) Commercials (d) Broadway
19. What is the last name of Ken, of Barbie & Ken?
(a) Baxter (b) Carson (c) Brady (d) Carlisle
20. What kind of kid’s lunch box sold 600,000 copies?
(a) Lone Ranger (b) Roy Rogers (c) Flash Gordon (d) Hopalong Cassidy

(See the answers after the Press Release below.)

Feel good about America again!

Timeline of America: Sound Bytes from the Consumer Culture will be remembered as the feel good book of the year!

May 19, 2006 -- Floyd M. Orr's Timeline of America: Sound Bytes from the Consumer Culture is the book America has been awaiting, a history of all the good things Americans have created and experienced. Timeline of America is a compilation of all the best events, inventions, music, movies, television, cars, sports, books, toys, and yes, even celebrity gossip, that have shaped our culture. Ten timelines span the history of American pop culture, and a 500-question trivia quiz caps off the fun. This intensely packed volume of facts, figures, and fun stuff feels like the reader has Godzilla stuffed into a briefcase, and he wants to get out! You might call it a pop culture trivia book before you open it, but once Godzilla sees the light, you will discover what a monster-sized story has been trapped inside! Coming in July. e-tabitha.com

Answers to the Quiz Excerpt Above:

1. (d) 2. (d) 3. (d) 4. (a) 5. (a) 6. (d) 7. (a) 8. (c) 9. (c) 10. (a)
11. (b) 12. (a) 13. (d) 14. (d) 15. (a) 16. (c) 17. (d) 18. (d) 19. (b) 20. (d)

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Timeline for a Psychotic Nation

I originally published the following list of Americana at Authors Den on February 17, 2005. I intended it to be an introduction to what I thought at the time would become a matched set of books entitled Timeline of America: Sound Bytes from the Consumer Culture and 2010: Timeline for a Psychotic Nation. The former book would compile a list of the most entertaining consumer issues developed throughout the history of the nation. The latter would show how these same issues developed into a monster that would devour the same nation.

The article you see here drew a lot of attention at Authors Den, but I have always felt that this occurred for the wrong reason. I think it was because most potential readers who saw the title thought it was a treatise on the failings of The Bush Administration. These were the things most Americans were focused on back in 2005. There was nothing wrong with that negative attention toward The White House at that time. Bush is no doubt a horse's butt of sorts and he most certainly took us into a needless, and ultimately very destructive, war. I have always been ahead of the curve. That's what inspires me to write in the first place. My intent was to show the future of America, not the present. The economic debacle we are experiencing now has been obvious to some of us for a very long time, and that is what this story is really about. As long as many people were getting rich, we didn't care that we were building a house of straw instead of bricks. Now in 2008 we suddenly care. I pray it's not too late for us all.

I call this little list an example of Accelerating into Madness. The following dates are not to be taken too seriously. The specific year may be off by a digit or two, but if it is, get a grip. This is not the American Hysterical Society. It's just me, representing the Baby Boomer Generation and the self-appointed psychoanalyst of a paranoid schizophrenic nation. References to particular corporate entities were sourced directly from the companies' own websites. Bring on the sacred cows....

1692 - The Salem Witch Trials

1773 - The year we threw the tea in the lake

1776 - The nation was officially founded

1861 - The Civil War begins

1865 - The Civil War ends and the slaves begin a long journey into freedom

1886 - Coca-Cola invented by an Atlanta druggist

1896 - First full-size, comprehensive Sears & Roebuck catalog

1925 - First Sears retail store opens in Chicago

1927 - The birth of the Craftsman and Kenmore brands

1928 - The last year that cocaine was an ingredient in Coca-Cola

1929 - The Stock Market Crash sets off The Great Depression of the '30's

1940 - The first McDonald's opens

1945 - Sears exceeds $1 billion in sales

1948 - World War II is over and the Baby Boomers have already begun

1950 - The beginning of the ultra-conservative '50's - The "I Like Ike" years continue

1953 - The Corvette and Playboy Magazine are launched

1954 - Brown v. Board of Education

1955 - The T-bird takes flight, Chevy and Ford both introduce small-block V-8's, and Elvis gets famous for swiveling hips and a quivering lip - Disneyland opens

1956 - Elvis performs his last small-town concert in Tupelo, MS

1957 - Car tailfins expand and proliferate - fuel injection makes its appearance

1958 - The T-bird becomes the first "Personal Luxury Car"

1959 - The first Honda motorcycles come to America - 100 McDonald's nationwide

1960 - Sony brings the transistor radio to America

1961 - The lunch counter sit-in by four black students in Greensboro, NC

1962 - The first Wal-Mart opens in Rogers, AR (home of Daisy BB guns) - James Meredith enrolls at Ole Miss

1963 - The Beatles appear on The Jack Paar Show via videotape - "The Times They Are A'Changin" - The Corvette Sting Ray and the last model of Studebaker, The Avanti, appear - the one-billionth McDonald's hamburger sold - 500 McDonald's nationwide - Ronald McDonald appears - the assassinations begin with JFK

1964 - The Civil Rights Act - The Beatles come to America - Mustang & GTO arrive - the most famous Civil Rights slaying by the KKK in Neshoba County, MS

1965 - Vietnam - The Sexual Revolution - musclecars - "Like a Rolling Stone" - Honda brings its first car to California, The S-600 Convertible

1966 - Six Flags Over Texas opens - Revolver (Yes, Maybelle, The Beatles do smoke pot.) - John Lennon quotes "We're more popular than Jesus now."

1967 - Jimi Hendrix - Cream - Jefferson Airplane - Haight-Ashbury - Monterey Pop - Sgt. Pepper

1968 - Electric Ladyland - Wheels of Fire - Stingray - Toyota Corona distributed nationwide - the first Big Mac - 1000 McDonald's - The Graduate hears about plastics - 2001: A Space Odyssey

1969 - the peak of America's best days

1970 - You can never go home again - the beginning of the end - Ross Perot introduces his town meeting concept on national television

1971 - The Egg McMuffin test marketed

1972 - 2000 McDonald's

1973 - The Oil Embargo - Six Flags starts a trend with the first of the new generation of supercoasters at its Atlanta park, The Great American Scream Machine - Egg McMuffin officially introduced

1974 - 3000 McDonald's

1975 - The Wal-Mart Cheer introduced to employees by Sam Walton - first McDonald's Drive-Thru opens in Arizona

1976 - Watergate - Did we learn anything from it? - Honda Accord introduced - Cadillac swears that it is building its last convertible - 4000 McDonald's

1977 - Star Wars is born - The King is Dead

1979 - First Home Depot opens in Atlanta

1980 - Let's elect an actor President. Yeah, that's the ticket (to our insanity)! - John Lennon assassinated - 6000 McDonald's

1982 - 7000 McDonald's

1983 - The first Sam's Club opens in Midwest City, OK - Chicken McNuggets

1984 - 50 billionth hamburger sold - 17 million customers daily - 22 people shot in McDonald's in San Diego - Apple Macintosh introduced during the Superbowl

1985 - First Dell computer - Microsoft Windows introduced - Sears introduces Discover card

1986 - Sixty Home Depot stores

1987 - The next big stock market crash - 20 million McDonald's customers daily

1988 - Bush, Sr., continues the downhill slide of the American economy - the first Wal-Mart Supercenter opens in Washington, MO

1989 - Fox Network premiers the first reality TV show, Cops

1990 - Wal-Mart becomes the nation's #1 retailer

1991 - 174 Home Depot stores

1992 - The death of Bill Hicks, the most poignant comic of the '80's era - Bush Sr. gives Sam Walton the Medal of Freedom

1993 - Wal-Mart has its first $1 billion sales week

1994 - 15,000 McDonald's

1995 - 423 Home Depot stores

1996 - $200 million McDonald's marketing blitz

1997 - Wal-Mart becomes the #1 employer in the U.S. - annual sales of $105 billion

1998 - 761 Home Depot stores

1999 - The biggest stock market bubble in our nation's history - Wal-Mart becomes the largest private employer in the world

2000 - The tech bubble pops - 1123 Home Depot stores

2001 - The airline industry crashes and the Dow falls on its face - Enron - Worldcom - Wal-mart sells $1.25 billion on the day after Thanksgiving

2002 - Bush starts a war just to please his oil company cronies - Fortune Magazine ranks Wal-Mart as the #1 "Most Admired Company in America" - 1532 Home Depot stores

2003 - The national deficit sets new records - Fortune Magazine ranks Wal-Mart #1 again - Cedar Point features 16 roller coasters

2004 - Karl Rove comes to power to destroy America through his puppet, Dubya - Wal-Mart has 1625 Supercenters and employs 1.2 million in the U.S. alone - FCC slaps Fox Network with $1 million indecency fine, the largest in history - 23 Six Flags theme parks in the U.S.

2005 - KKK member / Baptist preacher Edgar Ray Killen arraigned in Philadelphia MS for the murder of the three Civil Rights workers in 1964 - 1800 Home Depot stores - a new Home Depot store opens every 48 hours - Hurricane Katrina destroys New Orleans and Dubya still doesn't want to discuss global warming. Hurricane Rita forces the evacuation of Houston only three weeks later - and he still doesn't want to talk about it!

2006 - What disaster will top Katrina?

2007 - Subprime greed pops the housing bubble.

2008 - The financial services house of cards finally comes crashing down!

2009 - The lame duck limps out of The White House and a decent President takes his place.

2010 - It's all over but the crying. America is an all-new world....