Sunday, November 30, 2008
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
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!
Friday, November 28, 2008
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!
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
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
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
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.
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 Show – Candid Camera – Toast 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.
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.
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
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: 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!
Friday, November 21, 2008
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?
(a) MOTIVAC (b) MCTRAK (c) INTERVAC (d) UNIVAC
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
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....
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
This true story is an excerpt from Timeline of America: Sound Bytes from the Consumer Culture. (iUniverse / 0-595-40004-3 / 978-0-595-40004-1 / June 2006 / 300 pages / $21.95)
Let me introduce myself. I am an Elvis fan, and I have been one since I first heard Hound Dog on my black plastic, plug-in radio. You remember those, the kind that were about eight times the size of your average Walkman or iPod, but you still had to plug it in, and all you got was the AM band playing the country tunes of the day. Jerry Clower used to tell a story about listening to Ernest Tubb on the AM car radio back then. That's the era Jerry and I are talking about. I remember him, too, as well as Johnny Cash singing Ring of Fire and I Walk the Line. From the moment I heard Elvis bellowing the lines of Hound Dog, I knew I had discovered that music would be one of my lifelong passions. I was only a seven-year-old in North Carrollton, MS, but I felt the magic at once.
Every Christmas for a long time thereafter, I received at least a couple of Elvis 45's and 45 EP's. In case you missed those, they were four-song, 45-rpm, 7-inch discs packaged in full-color, original, cardboard sleeves just like LP's. One of the dumbest things I ever did was to give those EP's to my little sister a few years later so she could lose and/or destroy them! I may have graduated up to full-size LP's, and then decades later, to the modern compact discs, but in today's collectible Elvis market, those early EP's are highly prized.
Of course I saw all the Elvis movies at the local theater for a measly fifteen cents each. That translates to less than two dollars to see my favorite, King Creole, thirteen times! Most of you may know by now that the early Elvis movies had real characters and story content. King Creole was based on Harold Robbins' book, A Stone for Danny Fisher, and it featured Walter Matthau as the villain and Vic Morrow as his punk henchman. You don't get any more classic than that. King Creole was followed by the G. I. Blues, the first of many almost disgracefully silly Elvis movies. There is no doubt at all in my mind that Viva Las Vegas of '64 was the best of the silly Elvis movies. The tight editing and the dancing by Ann-Margaret took it clearly over the top. The sports car race and her tight pants did not hurt a bit, but it was the way she could out-dance The King that really made Viva Las Vegas great. My second-favorite silly Elvis movie was the under-appreciated Tickle Me. Playboy Playmate Jocelyn Lane was an extremely cute leading lady in a sort of Pam Dawber way. By the time of the later Elvis movies, I was likely watching them in the same theater which he used to commandeer in the middle of the night to entertain his buddies with private screenings of contemporary movies. I used to love those grand old theaters in Memphis with their ornate architecture, wide screens, red velvet curtains, and plush seats.
I have seen Elvis live on stage only once, but I'll always treasure that once. He was carried out onto the fairgrounds in Tupelo that night in a black Cadillac limousine that trailed a team of Shetland ponies dolled up in circus-parade regalia. No kidding! It was September of 1956. Elvis was returning to his home town after his national recording success for what would be his last concert in Tupelo. The media called him Elvis the Pelvis back then because his stage dancing was so provocative, and yes, it was satisfyingly wild and crazy for 1956!
Another memorable time I would see Elvis in person would be in late '68 or early 1969. I can't remember which it was. But I shall never forget that day either. I was cruising south in my white '68 Fiat Spider down the main thoroughfare then called Highway 51 in Whitehaven when I suddenly noticed a familiar pair of motorcyclists sitting in a driveway on the east side of the street. The riders on the black Honda 305 Dream and the pink Honda Benly Touring 150 were obviously waiting for a break in the traffic so they could pull out for a cruise through the Memphis suburb. The most amazing thing to me was that neither were wearing full-coverage helmets which would not only protect their heads in a crash, but would also handily conceal their identities! The lady on the pink Honda had only sunglasses and a scarf covering her flowing dark tresses and the rider on the black Honda wore absolutely nothing on his head. He looked just like the Super Hawk rider in Roustabout in black leathers, the front strand of slick, dyed-black hair falling on his forehead, and the infamous curled lip!
Yes, his hair was dyed black. If you look at the cover photos on the early EP's and LP's, you will see a young Elvis with light to moderately dark brown hair. My favorite aunt, the one I lived with in Memphis briefly in The Sixties, is the one who first dyed his hair black. Elvis told her he thought it would look better in the movies. If you go back and watch Love Me Tender, you will see that he still had the light hair. It was black when he appeared in the second movie, the first one in color, Loving You. My mom and her family lived a couple of blocks from the Presleys in The Forties. Elvis was a childhood playmate of one of my uncles, one who died prematurely at the age of 21. My aunt was Elvis' mom's best friend for most of Gladys' life. That same aunt was a hairdresser in Tupelo, and later in Memphis at Goldsmith's, the same large department store with the escalators that used to frighten the bejeezus out of me when I was about five. The same aunt later became a real estate agent. She located the small brick home in Audubon Park for the Presley family when they first moved to Memphis. When they later purchased and renovated an old mansion on Highway 51, she selected the carpeting.
Aunt Nell took me and my mom and sister to that property several times. The first I remember because the renovation was not yet complete. We drove up to the back of the large house and Gladys came out to chat with Aunt Nell for a few minutes. Elvis' uncle was there, too. Aunt Nell later told us how she had always thought considerably more highly of him than she had Elvis' dad, who she thought to be quite a scoundrel. He had after all spent his share of days and nights in jail, an issue firmly frowned upon back in the uptight Fifties. We did not go inside the house because Gladys said Elvis was sleeping and should not be disturbed. Other times, long after the renovation was complete, I remember driving up to the gates. At least one of those times Elvis was on horseback on the front lawn. He never hid from the fans back then nearly as much as you would have expected. That would come later, in the Elvis period I had just as soon forget. I want to remember him the way he was in The Fifties and Sixties. Gladys used to phone Aunt Nell to chat just about every day. Aunt Nell had the secret phone number, too. The last time she talked with Elvis personally was the day Gladys died. A big hunk a' The King died that day, too.
Postscript: This story is an extension of one entitled Rising Stars, featured in my first book, Plastic Ozone Daydream. You can hear that same performance in Tupelo on September 26, 1956, on the numbered edition, six-LP collection called Elvis: A Golden Celebration. I have lived in Austin, TX, now for many years, but at the time of its release, I requested that mom and Aunt Nell go find me one at Poplar Tunes, one of the oldest record stores in Memphis. I got the last one they had, #210, and it sounds just as tinny and scratchy as that AM radio did back in Carrollton, MS, in 1955.
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
This is the back cover of Timeline of America. Click on the image to enlarge it for easier reading. Timeline is a very good beginning for people in other countries to learn about American culture. The book offers a fun and easy read as a cram course for anyone planning a trip to the U.S.
Would you like to immerse yourself into American culture? You can have a quick reference guide to the best of the many events, inventions, products, and other data that have most influenced the land of the free and the home of the brave. A timeline of each of the major elements of American culture would bring the vast country into perspective. Would you like to have one small volume that contains the best of everything that America has been about since its inception? Travel guides and maps of the United States have always been available to anyone anywhere in the world. Magazines have offered snapshots of particular moments in time in American history. Tour guides and travelogues have presented visual statements. Many books have covered various specific elements of American culture. None have more accurately compressed the highlights of five-hundred years of Americana into 300 pages.
Timeline of America tells the story in eleven chapters. Each of the first ten chapters includes a detailed timeline specific to the nature of the subject of that chapter, as well as very candid stories and articles about specific elements of America's vast culture. The final chapter is composed of a 500-question trivia quiz about the aspects discussed in the other ten chapters.
The whole story is told from the perspective of an ordinary American who is not a professional journalist, academic, or celebrity. The majority of the material is concentrated within the past fifty years, the time frame of the Baby Boomer Generation. The sheer volume of the subject matter included is astounding for the size of the book. Many items are simply mentioned or listed; others are described in detail; and yet others are included at a level somewhere in between. The intent of the book is to capture the essence of America. The perspective goes all the way back to 1492 from 2006. Reading the timelines will bring continual reminiscences back to the surface of consciousness. The stories will take you back to a kinder, gentler time and the more recent references will bring you back to the current reality. Timeline of America is not a conventionally dry history book. The items and issues mentioned inside its covers had to be fun to read about, or they were left on the cutting room floor. This book is a time machine into the depths of what makes Americans Americans.
Excerpts from the timelines in Timeline of America
Three years have been excerpted 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 contain far higher volumes of text than the brief years listed in these excerpts.
1608 – Bowling is banned in Jamestown.
1620 – The first public library is established. The Mayflower gets blown off course and lands in Massachusetts. The Mayflower crew leaves the remaining Pilgrims in MA because the crew does not have enough beer on board to take the passengers to Virginia, and then sail back to England!
1628 – The first orgy with Indian women is held in Quincy, MA. Thomas Morton is the first person deported from the U.S.
1775 – Flush toilet invented
1776 – First American ice cream parlor opens in New York
1792 – The first cologne, 4711 Eau de Cologne, sold at a shop at 4711 Glockengasse in Cologne, West Germany
1885 – First gasoline pump
1888 – First electric automobile
1893 – First U.S.-built, gas-propelled car
1895 – The woodworking shop that would later become Lego is founded in Denmark. – Daisy BB gun – Raleigh Bicycle Company founded in England – Schwinn founded – Slot machine invented in San Francisco
1897 – The Shakespeare company is founded to build level-winding fishing reels.
1899 – First vibrator ad in McClure’s Magazine
1902 – The first theater designed especially for film opens in Los Angeles.
1903 – Kit Carson is the first cowboy film and The Great Train Robbery is the first Western.
1910 – The first movie stunt is included in a film.
1941 – Commercial television broadcasting authorized by the FCC – Bulova Watch first television ad
1943 – American Broadcasting Company (ABC) founded
1948 – First network nightly news on CBS – Howdy Doody begins Monday-Friday timeslot – The Perry Como Show – Candid Camera – Toast of the Town is the progenitor of The Ed Sullivan Show.
Artists: Johnny Cash – Fats Domino – Little Richard – Chuck Berry – Elvis
Tunes: “Day-O” – Harry Belafonte
“Ain’t It a Shame” – Fats Domino
“Blue Suede Shoes” – Carl Perkins
“Sixteen Tons” – Tennessee Ernie Ford
Albums: Songs for Swingin’ Lovers!, Songs for Young Lovers & Swing Easy – Frank Sinatra
Events: Barbra Streisand makes her first recording at age 13. The first rock concert is presented in NYC. The first riot at an Elvis concert occurs in Jacksonville, FL, Elvis hires Colonel Tom Parker as his manager, and RCA buys Elvis’ contract from Sun Records for $25,000. Richard Berry writes “Louie, Louie” on a piece of toilet paper in a nightclub dressing room.
1956 – Richard Matheson’s The Shrinking Man – Grace Metalious’ Peyton Place – Bruce Catton’s This Hallowed Ground – Computers: Mouse invented – IBM computer disc drive
1957 – Dr. Seuss’ The Cat in the Hat – Art Linkletter’s Kids Say the Darnedest Things! – Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged – Jack Kerouac’s On the Road – GQ founded – Computers: IBM disc drive was the size of a pair of refrigerators – 1000 computers sold
1958 – Truman Capote’s Breakfast at Tiffany’s – Terry Southern co-authors Candy under a pseudonym – Boris Pasternak’s Doctor Zhivago – Vladimir Nabokov’s Lolita published in the U.S. – BC comic strip
1959 – Los Angeles Dodgers 4 Chicago White Sox 2 – AFL – Hockey mask first worn by a goalie – Daytona International Speedway – Lee Petty wins the first Daytona 500 – Candlestick Park – The Baltimore Colts with Johnny Unitas as the quarterback are the NFL champs. Vince Lombardi joins the Packers. Alabama loses to Penn State in the first Liberty Bowl. The Boston Celtics are the top NBA team for the eighth year in a row.
1960 – Pittsburgh Pirates 4 New York Yankees 3 – Buffalo Bills, Denver Broncos, Houston Oilers, & New York Jets founded – Dallas Cowboys lose all games in their first season – Chicago Cardinals move to St. Louis – NFL Champs Philadelphia Eagles – The Oakland Raiders are founded and the Minneapolis Lakers move to Los Angeles. Mickey Mantle hits a 643-foot home run over the roof of Tiger Stadium in Detroit.
1965 – 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.
1966 – Lenny Bruce dies of a morphine overdose. Supreme Court rules that novel Fanny Hill is not obscene. Frank Sinatra marries Mia Farrow. Jan Berry crashes his Sting Ray, ending Jan & Dean’s career. John Lennon makes his legendary “We’re more popular than Jesus” statement. Beatle records are burned in Alabama over Lennon’s remark. The Beatles are pelted with rotten fruit during a Memphis concert.
1967 – Elvis marries Priscilla in Las Vegas. Dr. Benjamin Spock and Allen Ginsburg are arrested for protesting the Vietnam War. Jayne Mansfield is beheaded in a car crash. Her three children in the rear seat survive the crash, including daughter Mariska Hargitay of Law & Order SVU. Tom Selleck makes his first television appearance on The Dating Game, and he is not selected!
1981 – 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.
Purchase Timeline of America from Amazons from around the world:
Monday, November 17, 2008
by Floyd M. Orr
(iUniverse / 0-595-40004-3 / 978-0-595-40004-1 / June 2006 / 300 pages / $21.95)
The nickname for this book could be Godzilla Stuffed into a Briefcase because that's what it felt like as I was researching, composing, and editing this massive amount of fascinating information into a 300-page book!
Columbus takes a vacation to The Bahamas, and discovers the area to be a fun place. He tells all his other adventurous friends about it, and they decide they all need vacations, too. Soon everybody in The Old Country is loading up enough beer to make the trip and sailing to The Bahamas.
Hysterical events have surprised us, inventions have made us more comfortable, and recreational pursuits have all but dominated our lives. The story of America is told in a pair of Jekyll & Hyde Timelines. You will meet the good doctor inside. His mean, ugly brother will arrive in 2008.
This is a lot more than a pop culture trivia book, although no simpler phrase describes it. Ten timelines tell the story of America’s development from the arrival of Columbus to the homeruns of Barry Bonds and the movie release of The Da Vinci Code. The story is separated into ten topics: events, comforts, cars, toys, movies, television, music, nerds, sports, and gossip. Like any competent trivia book, there is a test at the end, but this tale is about the quest, not the grail. This is a capsule history of the things that have defined us, and Godzilla doesn’t like being so tightly restrained.
Shannon Yarbrough, the author of Stealing Wishes, had this to say about Timeline of America in his five-star review on 8/2/08:
Hated history in high school? Prefer the facts? This pop culture book is for you!
I have the privilege of being the first person to review Timeline of America, a book that is now two years old and a part of book history itself. I must confess. I hated history in high school, almost as much as I hated math. Here's why...history classes were taught by boring coaches who only became teachers so they could coach football or baseball and relive their glory days. I guess history was an easy major for them, because every history teacher I ever had in grade school, junior high, and high school, was a coach! Had Floyd M. Orr been my teacher, I probably would have enjoyed those classes much more. Here's why...
His book, Timeline of America, at 281 pages is a "just the facts" type of book. It does not overwhelm you with the Christopher Columbus exploration, Washington and Lincoln roles, and Civil War chapters we all get crammed down our throats in a classroom. As a matter of fact, Columbus himself is summed up in a few sentences..."1492-Columbus lands in the Bahamas. 1506-Columbus dies believing he has discovered an island off Asia, not America." 'Nuff said. Let's get on with the rest of it.
And this book is loaded with lots of other interesting facts which you aren't taught in a classroom, a ton of "firsts" such as when the first UFO sighting was reported to the first Americans killed in Vietnam. In just 26 pages, the author covers a wide span of history from 1492 to 2006, spotlighting a few single events from each year. And that's just the part devoted to American history.
There are a ton of other sections devoted to inventions, food, music, movies, sports, and lots of other pop culture events that have shaped our nation. Not since a 1980s edition of the Guinness Book of World Records, that I dog eared and spent hours just thumbing through and reading bits when I was a kid, have I had this much fun with a book. Did you know that lead pencils were invented in 1492? In 1880 the first sewage system was developed in Memphis? The flush toilet was invented in 1775 but toilet paper didn't arrive until a century later? Floyd has done his homework!
For those who are car lovers or toy collectors, there are also sections devoted to you. What a blast from the past! Remember Pound Puppies from 1984? Cabbage Patch Kids from 1986? There is a piece of everyone's past in this book which you have probably long forgotten. Kudos to Floyd for collecting these details all in one book for us!
Spend some time with this book and you'll find yourself scratching your head and asking questions like, "Has it really been 10 years since the release of Saving Private Ryan?" Or you'll be reading out loud to others and saying, "Did you know..."
And for those who love to surf the web to find out what happened the year you were born, then this book is for you. Trivia buffs, history lovers, music and movie junkies, pop culture gurus, and anyone who might enjoy fun facts about our country should buy this book. It's perfect for passing the time on a long road trip. I passed it around at work one day and thought I would never get it back!
The author has organized the book by subject matter so it's easy to thumb through and find the subjects you want to read about. Then, each subject is outlined by year. In between, Floyd offers his commentary on wit on things from his own past that he remembers and finds of importance. Yep, I thought history was boring back then, but Timeline of America kept my attention right from the start!
Introduction: Interpreting the Timelines in This Book
Chapter 1: The Timeline
Good for Us, Bad for the Indians
The Timeline of Hysterical Events
Chapter 2: The Comfort Zone
Beginnings, Firsts, Inventions, Food & Other Items
The Comfort Zone Timeline
Chapter 3: Cars
The Automobile Timeline 1859 – 1959
Babyhood, Childhood, & Adolescence on Wheels
The Automobile Timeline 1960 – 1970
Those Muscular Sixties: The Teenage Years
The Automobile Timeline 1971-2006
Chapter 4: The Toy Store
The Politically Incorrect Cap Pistol
Toys Defined for Boys & Girls of All Ages
The Toy Timeline
Chapter 5: Movies
The Movie Theater Experience
The Movie Timeline
Chapter 6: Television
The Boob Tube Conquers America
The Television Timeline
The Louie Martin Ernest T. Helper Story
Chapter 7: Music
Introduction: Forty Rocky Years
Rock & Roll Is Born in The Fifties
Elvis the Pelvis, a Retrospective
The Sixties – Sex, Drugs, and Rock & Roll
The Seventies Music Explosion
The Eighties – A Time of Transition
The Last Days of Real Rock & Roll
Chapter 8: The Nerd Channel
Publications, Computers & Playboy Interviews
The Nerd Timeline
Chapter 9: Sports Monkey Business
The Monkey Business of Sports
The Sports Timeline
Chapter 10: The National Inquisition
Introduction to American Nosiness
The Gossip Timeline
Chapter 11: The Great Big Trivia Quiz
Timeline of America Press Release
Sunday, November 16, 2008
His is the voice of a lost generation for this century. The Nonfiction-in-a-Fictional-Style books by new author Floyd Orr capture the heart and mind of the Baby Boomer culture for all time. – Lifestyle Editor for The Chicago Moon Times
Move over, Tom Wolfe! Plastic Ozone Daydream drives American car culture into the new millennium. – Cleetus Emmitt Wheelwhacker, The Southern Ohio Times
Men are not supposed to know the sexual secrets of women! Mr. Orr has let the cat out of the box in his book, The Last Horizon. What secrets will he expose next? – Mary Ellen Clididdlehopper, Women’s Secrets Magazine
He’s the Robin Williams of non-fictional parody of American culture. – Oliver Wendell Douglass, The Hooterville Gazette
The truth of our current existence has been explained – where we came from and how we got here. How could we all have been so blind? – Barney Fife, The Mayberry Messenger
Great horny toad! Plastic Ozone Daydream is the darn tootinest-pootinest story about Corvettes that’s ever been published for sissy-nerds! Yosemite Sam, The West Texas Examiner