Saturday, November 19, 2016

The Black Friday Pitch

The nostalgic sports car lover on your list will be entertained for endless hours...
... like The Tiddler Invasion, except with four wheels.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

The Bad Boys Conference

Great Horny Toads! College football season begins in less than two weeks!

There is an idea I have been kicking around for several years now. Surely it's an idea that many have postulated before. After all, I am just a fair weather football fan who has ignored the whole sport in past years when my favorite teams were mostly losing. I am the sort of fan who gets really disgusted hearing about the Crimson Tide, the Rebels, and the Tigers of Death Valley year after year. I like underdogs and surprise plays that change the results of games. I would like to watch every game and wonder who might win. I would like to see much more shifting and revolving of teams throughout the seasons. I don't want to watch the New York Yankees win every Superbowl or the Dallas Cowboys win every World Series. I want more fun surprises in my college football!

Pardon my impertinence, but what I would like to see would be a college-level substitute for the draft system of pro ball. It is obvious why we cannot just adapt the draft to college teams, but there is something else we could do. Of course if this plan was implemented, there would be howls of protest. The red and white teams of Alabama and Ohio State would surely object, but I say let them fuss. My plan would still crown them the Kings of College Football much of the time, just not ALL the time.

I call my plan The Bad Boys Conference, but you could name it anything you want as long as the game results become more varied, season after season. The plan is simply to pull out the twenty strongest teams from the prior season, ten from the Western U.S. and ten from the East. These twenty teams would form the BBC East and BBC West for that season. With limited exceptions, these teams would not play anyone but other teams within their conference during the regular season. The point is that, as much as it could be feasible during each season, every one of these Bad Boys of College Football would be forced to sweat jock straps over the outcome of each and every game! There would be no more sacrificial lambs from the repeatedly weaker schools within their normal conferences. There would be fewer games of lesser importance in which practically every fan would know the result to expect even before the coin toss. No longer would the Bad Boy climb in the national rankings as the weaker team fell precipitously with damaged self esteem and little hope of season recovery. 

The BBC would shift with every season, of course. The officials selecting the BBC teams for each new season would begin with the previous rankings. If a previously top-ranked team had lost many of its key players to graduation or the draft, then that team could petition the selection officials to remain in their regular conference for the new season. The next ranking team would be considered first as a replacement. If there is some reason not to include that team, then the next choice would be examined. Of course you can imagine many ifs, ands, and buts that will clog up the selection process, but I am sure there are many who would gladly take on the job. You can also imagine that some teams will throw a tantrum to be included for one reason or another, while others will pitch a hissy fit just to opt out. I'm sure you can visualize the pros and cons of inclusion in the BBC. You will receive the best and most of everything from the television networks and sports journalists, while the season itself will likely include grueling punishment and defeats of the sort to which the Tide is not accustomed. 

The sports junkies will love the intense quality of the BBC games throughout the whole regular season. The bookies and gambling junkies will be challenged by more games. The TV executives will roll in dough and more stadiums will fill closer to their capacities for more games. No more of the typical murderings, annihilations, or blow-outs that bring small crowds to college stadiums all over the country early in each season, even with their accompanying low ticket prices. The fans of the multitudes of lesser college teams will attend more games when a relentless loss is not perennially inevitable.

Here are a few basic ideas I have kicked around the field in my head. Each BBC team will of course play twelve games in each regular season. The reason I have chosen ten as the number of teams in each conference is that a couple of slots should be left for each team to play its legendary rival or rivals, with a possible wild-card game with a team from wherever at the beginning of each season, much as we have now. The choice of the number ten is totally arbitrary. You know how much Americans like Top Ten things. The number in the BBC East and West could easily be lessened if necessary. The whole point of the BBC concept is to make college ball more like pro ball, with a revolving set of teams that over time offers much more variety for the fans. It would give at least a little hope to all the perennial losers out there. It would challenge the top-rated teams to play their very best in every game, less they be demoted back to their regular, not so exciting conferences for the following season.

What does Yosemite Sam have to do with the Bad Boys Conference? The Bulldogs of my alma mater are infamous for their cowbells, as well as being drowned by the Tide for most of the past century. If I were in charge, every time the TCU Horned Frogs scored, the voice of Yosemite Sam would loudly exclaim, "Great Horny Toads!!" 

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Contractors of Corporate Crap

I used to say that I am an American first and a Texan second. In my youth I used to say that I was an American first and a Mississippian second. Now I just say that I am disgusted beyond belief with this country we used to refer to as America. Now I just call it what it is: Corporate Crap. There are many things that get my panties in a knot these days, but I am going to tell you about the one issue that is so galling that it occasionally makes me actually cuss out one of the little people. This is one of those things that I am loathe to do. There is no curse word worse than hell or damn in any of my eight books. When my wife gets aggravated at someone in the consumer business, I always try to calm her down and remind her not to take it out on the underpaid and overworked employee on the phone. Of late I have relaxed my standards concerning this issue. There is some Corporate Crap that simply goes too far!

Late last year I sent a $12 and something cents bill to our long-distance provider, Excel in Dallas. The next bill I got indicated that the earlier month had not been paid and a late fee had already been added. Rather than wasting my time arguing over a $5 late fee, I paid the full amount for both months, plus the $5. The following month I received a bill showing that the first check had been received, but now there was a Re-connection Fee added! Of course I hit the ceiling and called the toll-free Indian turd that I could barely understand as he babbled out the corporate spiel of why I now owed the Re-connection Fee. Of course this was not the sort of Indian who is native to Texas or any other state. I called him a few names appropriate for his status as a non-Texan Indian and slammed the phone down. Never one to jeopardize my credit rating over less than twenty bucks, I then mailed in the full amount demanded.

On the first Halloween in our current location in a decade at which we had some knee-highs in strange garb ring our doorbell, the front storm door locked shut. Fortunately for the knee-highs, this happened as the last one of the night rang our bell. Neither my wife nor I could go out our front door for more than six months after this incident! Would you like to know why? We were not aware of it at the time the door sealed itself shut, but Pella had quit making its own storm doors a few years after our house had been built. The storm door department had been handed off to Larson, who seemingly did not give a rat's ass how much aggravation it would become to countless Pella Storm Door owners to secure replacement parts for their storm door locks. Before Pella dropped out of the storm door business, they had begun outsourcing the manufacture of their latch mechanisms to an unnamed company in China. Do I need to tell you that the Chinese company did not care how cheaply they made their product or how difficult it would be to replace their cheap product?

Hold your panties snug. I have not even told you the really annoying part yet. Disassembling the latch mechanism and replacing it with a new one takes ten minutes. Locating the replacement latch you need takes ten minutes. Simply getting through to a person on a toll-free phone number at either Pella or Larson takes six months!! You have to talk to someone to learn the special trick to disassemble the door jamb to open the door to get at the latch mechanism that needs replacement. There is a special model number of the door hidden within the door jamb that tells you which replacement part you need. If you cannot open the jammed door to read the model number, you cannot order the replacement part. Here comes the fun part. It is nearly impossible to get a person on the phone who will tell you how to get the door open! You cannot get past the recording requesting the model number that you cannot get to without opening the door! After calling at least three numbers several times, I finally got an American human to tell me exactly how to disassemble the door jamb. After doing so, I ordered the replacement latch mechanism from another online supplier. You didn't think I would actually pay money for the necessary part to these buttholes, did you?

Here is my third and final episode for you to ponder. It occurred earlier today. I drove my wife to see an unnamed doctor late last June. We gave them the standard $10 co-pay as requested. A month later, as is sometimes the case, we received an additional bill for $10.39. This came from a five-digit post office box in Maine. Remember that where I live it is 100 degrees every day here in July and August. Maine is a long distance deep into Yankeeland. From The Weather Channel, it appears that those folks actually experience an overnight temperature that begins with a six! So I get a bill for $10.39 from a corporate entity that I know from personal experience correlates to a particular doctor my wife sees on a regular basis, and I immediately send them a check for $10.39 to another corporate entity, in MAINE, as requested. Then the annoyance begins. First my wife gets an email message that we owe $10.39 that is past due. My wife responds with an email that we paid the $10.39 to Maine weeks ago. Then a semi-local, but long distance, person calls that we need to pay the $10.39 at once. They have not received the $10.39. Today I have gone to the Medical Bills Paid file and pulled out the record of the offending bill for $10.39. When I gather all the paperwork together, I see that the person who called was from Austin, but the address I sent the first check to was in Maine, the home of Cabot Cove and Crabapple Cove. If you do not catch the joke, you need to read more of my books about the American Consumer Culture. Since I did not know which address to send the second $10.39 to, I immediately sent a request back to the email address that had apparently thought it so important that I pay this $10.39 immediately. I asked them to which corporate entity the second check should be addressed. Yes, I confess. I called them annoying jerks for instigating all this madness. I await their response.

I am a Trumpanzee. I do not particularly like Donald Trump, but I shall probably vote for him. If not, it will be either Jill Stein or Gary Johnson. Johnson wants to legalize pot. He is right. He wants to support globalization. He is wrong. Jill Stein wants to change the economic future of the 99%. She is right. She wants to offer reparations to descendants of black people from descendants of non-slave owners. She is wrong. She wants completely open borders. She is wrong. Hillary Clinton is the devil. I am absolutely certain of this. Bernie Sanders may be an American traitor, but The Clintons, all of them, are devils. I have been a Democrat all my life. No more.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Cars, Boats & Little Motorcycles

Cars, Boats & Little Motorcycles

These three books in the Nonfiction in a Fictional Style Series form a triad of extensive research on popular recreational vehicles in America.  

Ker-Splash 2 is an update of the first Ker-Splash, published in 2002. A lot changed in the boating world between 2002 and 2010. All the information contained in the earlier volume has been updated and included in Ker-Splash 2.

The Tiddler Invasion is the complete story of how Honda and other Japanese motorcycle manufacturers transformed the American motorcycle marketplace in 1959-75. No other book, or motorcycle magazine, even from the '60s, has covered this subject matter in such detail.

Daydreams in the Wind (just released this month) is a sequel to Plastic Ozone Daydream, written in 1985-99 and published in 2000. Whereas the 2000 book was mostly about classic Corvettes, this latest release is so much more! For starters, it is in a larger format with about twice the word count and almost ten times the photo count. All the photos are much larger and the book is printed on higher quality paper. Daydreams in the Wind is the result of almost four full years of cumulative research, composition and editing. All the two-seat and 2+2 sports convertibles sold in the USA in a substantial production volume in the 1955-75 period are covered. Production numbers and significant specifications are detailed in numerous tables. This book would be an invaluable tool to take to any collector car auction. Not only is it full of facts and figures about the cars displayed on the auction block, this book is highly entertaining reading to boot! If you are considering the purchase of any of these cars, from any source or in any condition, you owe it to yourself to read this book.

Friday, April 1, 2016

Interview with Jay Leno

Jay Leno: Settle down now, folks... settle down. Our first guest tonight is noted author of books about cars and motorcycles, Floyd M. Orr. Let's welcome Floyd to the show.

Floyd M. Orr: Thank you, Jay! I'm thrilled to be here!

Jay: I'm glad I am finally getting to meet the author of The Tiddler Invasion: Small Motorcycles of the Sixties. That was one whopper of a book! A new era was created when Honda brought its first motorcycles to America in 1959. No book has better told that fun and exciting story from our youth when so many youngsters met the nicest people on a Honda! Some of our audience may not know that Floyd wrote an unusual, somewhat humorous, book about classic Corvettes back in 2000 called Plastic Ozone Daydream: The Corvette Chronicles. The book was a wild and crazy compilation of stories, based mostly on facts, about the ownership of older model Corvettes. Floyd, I understand you have just completed a new book for car lovers...

Floyd: That's right, Jay. It's called Daydreams in the Wind. It's something of a sequel to Plastic Ozone Daydream. The subtitle is Collectible Open Sports Cars of the Sixties and it covers a lot more ground, so to speak, than my first book. This is my eighth, by the way.

Jay: I love the cover. It has a nice shot of a light metallic blue XK-E Roadster. Of course you know I have my own E-Type and it's a very special car to me. 

Floyd: I bet you have more than one! Yes, Jay, the Jaguar E-Type is one of the models covered extensively in the book. Others include the Corvettes, of course, all the MG's, Austin-Healeys, Porsches, Mustangs, Camaros, Barracudas, Triumphs, Fiats, Alfa Romeos, Ferraris, and most any other brand you can name from the 1955-75 era. These include some you may have forgotten, such as Monteverdi, Intermeccanica, or Excalibur. As long as the top was removable and featured no more than 2+2 seating, all models are included. 

Jay: The book is only 540 pages. How could you possibly have covered so many facts, figures, and photos of so many models in that space?

Floyd: Well, something had to be sacrificed. I began this project four years ago and it took a while to settle on the final configuration of the book. It became necessary to cover only two-seat and 2+2 sports models with standard removable tops. Optional T-tops or sunroofs were excluded, along with all coupes, hardtops, fastbacks and hatchbacks. Fans with muscle car mania in their veins will have to look elsewhere for information on the zillions of Intermediate-based musclecar coupes.

Jay: You're referring to the Pontiac GTO, Chevrolet SS 396, Plymouth Road Runner....

Floyd: Yes, there were just too many of 'em! Too many produced, too many different models, engines, performance packages, and on and on. The pony car coupes presented a similar problem. They generally outnumbered their convertible equivalents 10 to 1. My decision several years ago was to concentrate on the cars I love best, which happen to also be the models that are generally the most sought after by enthusiasts and collectors.

Jay: So except for the closed models and the larger musclecars, every topless sports model from the 1955-75 production period is covered?

Floyd: Yes, and then some. Many models began production prior to 1955 and many others continued in production beyond that point. However, I cut off the book's coverage at 1990 for all models. All the cars in the book, as produced prior to 1991, are officially considered antiques in most states. I felt that was as good a cutoff point as any. The bulk of the material concerns that wonderful era so many car enthusiasts love-- between World War II and catalytic converters!

Jay: Is this a coffee table book with lots of pretty pictures in a large format?

Floyd: Not at all, Jay. It's just the opposite. It's a 7x10 paperback with over 300 B&W photos and more than a hundred large tables of data. The photos are there for information, not to drool over shiny paint jobs. Most photos include captions of pertinent information about the specific model being discussed. Daydreams in the Wind is mostly a reference book, although like my previous books, it offers pleasurable reading with stories and opinions, too. You could call it an ID Guide or an encyclopedia, but for enthusiasts, this stuff is just plain fun to read!

Jay: So what inspired you to devote four years of your life to such a project? Aren't there already countless books out on this subject... and oh, the Internet?

Floyd: That is precisely the problem, Jay. Most of the best books have been out of print for decades. The Internet? Give me a break. Don't you know that everything you read on the Internet is true?

Jay: Yes, there does seem to be that, shall we say, little problem. Sometimes an incorrect statement on a single blog can magically multiply into the gospel truth. You obviously know what I mean.

Floyd: I do, Jay, and that's why I felt compelled to complete this massive project. I have a large number of car books and magazines on my shelves, but I wanted to create the ultimate car book for myself. Much of my personal library has been out of print for decades. I have gray hair, too, and I have been retired for a number of years. Few writers want to devote their time to what is currently a shrinking market. Not only is the economy a disaster for many of us, but the the number of us who are old enough to remember the wonderful era of The Sixties is shrinking rapidly!

Jay: So where can people buy the book?

Floyd: It should be out within about a week, maybe less. The best place to get it is Amazon worldwide. The list price is $29.95, but Amazon may discount that price at certain times. You know how they are. After four years of meticulous research and editing, the price will justify itself. As far as I know, no book about sports convertibles of that era published for a U.S. readership has included so many production figures, specifications, and experienced opinions, all rolled into a single volume.