I’ve fallen and I can’t get up

September 18th, 2012

I am slightly worried.

Two time in the last two weeks I have fallen down (or tripped) in situations where this shouldn’t have been possible. But it is like something grabs my legs and just pulls me to the ground. Something is not correct with that.

I’m hoping it is just a phase or something that has to do with blood sugar or SOMETHING. But it hits with such a sudden jolt that I know it’s more than that. I’m in good shape and fairly young (make all of your jokes…but 42 is “fairly young”). It’s happened about six times in the last six months, total. What kind of flummoxed me the last couple of times was that it’s not like anything happens above the waste…it’s all stuff below deck.

I’m going to give it more time. I think I might have just being eating poorly or exercising too much. Maybe I’m just tired. But it hit my radar…that’s weird.

I say all of this because I am not panicked. I fell a couple of times. It happens. But before, seriously, I would wait longer just because I wouldn’t want a “pre-existing” condition on my record. Now…I’m just a stubborn mule.

Tucker Mania

August 15th, 2012

Script done for the Tucker-themed fund raiser Saturday evening.

I say “script,” but it’s really just making sure I know the order with which I want to talk about Preston Tucker, 1948, the cars’ history, competitors and its specific features.

I also have a “this is for entertainment purposes and general information only” spiel. I’m a little excited…it’s like having two rare things that you get to touch and show off for an hour, comparing and contrasting, etc. But I’m nervous, too, because I’ve gotten in some hot water for my historical hypotheses before when it comes to the Tucker. My general feeling has become: “When you have access to two of them on a single turntable, come talk to me about your gripes.”

Because this is the thing I’ve learned about the Tucker in the last decade: “I’ll never get it completely correct and I have quit trying.”

We’re raising money for two great charities (Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital and LeMay Family Collections Foundation), eating good food, and enjoying some of the most amazing vehicles ever made in America.

I talked with one of Preston Tucker’s sons soon after my grandma bought the car, and he said that the only thing the movie got correct was that his father was politically screwed, “The rest was just drama.” We talked for about for a good 30 minutes…as far as I’m concerned, that was great oral history. Further, as far as I’m concerned, I have no problem saying that it was all politics. Not just because of his son’s testimony, but what I’ve read and heard otherwise…the fix was in the kill this car that went 100 mph at cruising speed and got 35-38 mpgs.

Other Tucker owners aren’t much help. But not by their own faults. All the cars are different. They’re all prototypes! They all have different histories and quirks. And maybe that’s why I’m so attracted to the car…it’s a quirk. A freak of American ingenuity in post-WWII America.

Rehearsals start tomorrow…gotta get my game face on.

Home

August 4th, 2012
My daughter and wife have asked me some really good questions over the last several months of why we still want to be so committed to this house, this airport and this property.
I can give them the simple answer: “Because I will die in hell before I ever move those books again.”
(Although, for the record, this is a perfectly good response, IMHO. Not the complete response, but to hell with moving. I bought this house and paid it off knowing I’d never really move again.)
A better answer is that I like it. I grew up in it and I like it. I like the airport. I like the open space. I like the fact that if I leave my neighbors alone hey leave me alone.
But mostly, I like this old house like I like my old car. It’s got screwy stuff, but you tinker and fiddle to make it work.
And I like the airplanes!
The cherry on top is knowing the history of the place. I mean the meta place…I can point to where the chicken coops were when it was a farm.
I’m going to be an  old fogie that will probably die here. It’s my estate. It’s not much, but it’s my Tara. I own it completely in more ways than by title. I own it because I care about it. Totally and completely. I’m not Scarlett, but I can defend it against dandelions, skunks and fireworks.

Dear God, I’m about .400…I’d be in the Hall of Fame!

August 3rd, 2012

I’m not a religious person. Never have been, never will be.

I appreciate the academics of it, the ceremony of it, and the sanctity of it in all of its various forms. I’m just not into it. I am basically a Golden Rule guy.

But one of the things that has always fascinated me is how important the “10 Commandments” seem to be in the Old Testament, but then the bible thumpers tend to ignore them as much as anyone while they quote the New Testament.

– Thou shalt have none other gods before me.

– Thou shalt not make thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the waters beneath the earth:

– Thou shalt not bow down thyself unto them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me,

– Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain: for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.

–  Honour thy father and thy mother, as the LORD thy God hath commanded thee; that thy days may be prolonged, and that it may go well with thee, in the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee.

– Thou shalt not kill.

– Neither shalt thou commit adultery.

– Neither shalt thou steal.

– Neither shalt thou bear false witness against thy neighbour.

– Neither shalt thou desire thy neighbour’s wife, neither shalt thou covet thy neighbour’s house, his field, or his manservant, or his maidservant, his ox, or his ass, or any thing that is thy neighbour’s.

 

It’s so interesting to me how wide-ranging the interpretation of some of these could be. I figure I’m batting somewhere in the .350 to .450 range out the 10 at bats offered. I could make a case I’m about a .600 hitter on them, but that just seems silly.

I’m just not a big believer in judging people by some gold standard that I can’t even figure out how well I meet. That’s my point.

Which is why you’ll never hear me say one thing negative about Mitt Romney’s religion. I figure, if he gets about half the guiding principals correct on Mormonism, he’s probably doing better than I am in the whole religion-thingy.

But I will say this: I just hope he has a high batting average with his beliefs.

 

 

 

 

 

July 27th, 2012

 

I feel for the Kalakala.

As a transportation historian, I am a huge booster. We tried everything to help the parties involved. It turned into a lost cause.

But I am sick of people that think it’s easy when this big greasy, oil-laden mess becomes a burden that someone with enough money is going to “save.”

You can’t save everything. It’s not savable.

(This was meant to be a long post, but I can’t seem to figure out how to post video and pictures off my hard drive yet. DOH!)

After too much time playing with Facebook…

July 12th, 2012

…I’m trying to re-learn the WordPress upgrades and fiddling around again.

But I decided to put my Facebook account into hibernation for at least the month of August and focus here. I also want to learn Twitter.

More later. This is more like test run of a car that’s been in long-term storage.

Really?

January 8th, 2012

Killed Bin Laden.
Out of Iraq.
Saved the auto industry.
Handled Libya and Egypt.
Played a bitch to Congress.

I digress…

Here’s the thing…and I wish my liberal friends would embrace this…it’s been a brilliant three years.  He needs a campaign where people are voting AGAINST him for dumb shit reasons. And they sound stupid doing it. The Republicans all sound bat-crazy because this guy is actually really good at keeping his nose clean, killing terrorists, and employing economic policies they have recently endorsed.

But here’s what’s interesting…if he wins, he’ll never run for anything again as long as he lives and be like Reagan and Clinton in their second terms and really get an agenda going.

Portlandia

January 8th, 2012

I’m writing this as a stream, just because I woke up thinking about it…it’s just some notes…but since I haven’t written on the blog in a while, I thought I’d just pen them here…

I love Portland, Oregon. Love it.

My entire life, I have gone to the greater PDX area to visit close relatives, great friends, and shop without paying sales tax. Nothing but great memories.

But I have read several commentaries lately that Portland has become “the new, hipper Seattle.” (Or to that affect.)

After living near and working in Seattle for years and years, frankly, I think that’s getting it wrong. Seattle grew up. And most of these commentators skip right over the breeding ground that was my area of influence.

And I can tell you exactly the moment Seattle realized that it didn’t want to be…wait, let me go back…

Seattle isn’t the birthplace of grunge. Roughly an area from Spanaway to Aberdeen, including Tacoma and Olympia, was the birthplace of “grunge” and the whole casual world that the rest of the country thinks of as grunge. I mean, I can’t drive 15 minutes south and not pass the Sleater-Kinney (Ahem, “Portlandia”) exit. This was true in our attitudes and music and style and priorities. That was in the late 1980s. We all looked like loggers but had aspirations bigger than our fathers. But we really could beat the hell out of anyone, and there was a lot of other funky stuff. Giant swath. No gigantic military influence, no hard drugs, and lots of fights. But in the morning, you brushed yourself off and went to school. Wearing whatever. We were dressed like Spicoli, facing Mr. Hand with attitude, with the work ethic of loggers. Scrappy and slothy, but hard working and talented.

You have to remember, that this same area that brought you Chet Atkins and The Ventures…one changed country guitar licks and the other changed electric guitar period. Both ended up in halls of fame. This was the brew.

So, that’s all important three-minute background…

You had an entire culture that was a few decades old, had a vibe and an attitude, and was pretty damned cool.

Hello, Seattle!!!! One record label (Sub Pop) just killed it by signing all of these bands from the South Sound and Southwest Washington. Just nailed it. It was brilliant. Suddenly, everyone we heard in high school was getting famous by college graduation in 1993. We were hip and cool and “grunge” was the new thing. (Whatever.) But we needed jobs and needed to grow up and get a life. To the people that grew up around here, we were thinking about marriage and kids and acting like adults. To various degrees, we were still well educated, talented, and wore the same crap we did in 1988, but…

And this is important…we realized we needed real jobs to earn real money. But now, Wall Street was on board with Grunge…along with the major labels and Madison Avenue. It was the most super cool thing ever to have a job in a high rise and go to a garage Pearl Jam concert that night.  It was the hippest place. It really was nirvana to be 20-something in 1990s Seattle. Making a great living, being hip, acting flip…and then…

W.
T.
O.

1999.

Buzz kill.

All of the people that seemed to have been drawn to Seattle for all of the correct reasons turned on the city itself. And we all got old…fast.

(I’m getting to why Seattle is better than Portland in the next part. I just want to read it after a night’s sleep and decide if I like it so far.)

Hooah! I think…

December 18th, 2011

So I got rocked out of bed this morning with a giant bomb going off in the middle of the night as the local military base sounded the super all clear out of Iraq. I’m mixed on this whole idea.

First of all, I have to admit, every time they do these “Hooah Bombs,” I get a little tingle because I love the concept. They do them when everyone from a particular combat group stationed at the base is cleared and out of there into Germany or Kuwait. The one tonight was extra super big. Loved it even if it knocked me out of bed.

But I worry about whether it’s really over. I have serious concerns. Are we getting rid of combat troops just to appease people like me that never thought it should have happened in the first place? Because, if that’s the thinking, I would sound like the biggest dumbshit voter ever…I hated the Iraq war, I want to see it end, but I also want to back up the fact we fucked up with making sure that leaving doesn’t fuck it up even more. It’s the old thing of what do you do if your kid breaks a vase in the fancy ceramics store, you can’t just say, “I didn’t do it; not my fault, blame little Tommy two-year-old” and then scamper out and pretend it didn’t happen.

But here’s the thing…I give President Obama the gonads award for TRYING to make having all of those combat troops home by Christmas actually happen. I trust that even though those troops being saluted by that giant bomb this morning are all clear, we’re not really “done” helping with the clean up and we get that whole part of Geor…er, Tommy’s little mess.

You can be the biggest liberal or conservative in the world right now, but you have to admit, the military is in better hands under Obama/Hillary than it was before.

So here’s my point…I would run the Obama campaign this year by using a mix of the scare tactics of the Republicans in 1984 and 2008. Ronald Reagan asked in 1984: “Are you better off than you were four years ago?” In 2008, it was all about the fear that the world would collapse with the junior Senator from Illinois being elected POTUS.

So, here is the question that President Obama should pose to get around the economy crap…

“Do you feel safer than you did four years ago?”

Think about it. Just a flat out challenge. He can say that he knows the economy is blah bah blah…but he was a better war POTUS than any of the yahoos could hope to be at this point. He had two giant messes, and security of the country trumps job growth and Wall Street.

OK, I get there are big flaws in that, but you have to admit…do you feel safer than you did four years ago with us doing what we said we’d do and getting out of Iraq, most of the major commanders of Al Quida dead, diplomacy in the the Pacific making China squirm, our allies in Europe needing us more than ever to cover their asses?

Pick any of the front runners in on the Republican side, and their is no way Obama doesn’t win that question. And then they can try to bring it back to the economy, and if I were POTUS Obama, I’d say “It’s your economy, stupids.”

So, yeah, I got rocked out of bed by a giant firecracker. And yes, I worry about whether it’s too soon or what’s going to happen, but I have to admit…”HOOAH!” That war is over. And I feel a little safer because of it.

 

Rumors of the demise of this blog are greatly…

November 30th, 2011

I’ve been really busy the last couple of months with work and travel. But I made a Thanksgiving vow to re-dedicate myself to blogging.

There’s not a lot that I am hip on in the world, but one thing I do well is write during a presidential election year. I’ve been a political wonk ever since I was  Jesse Jackson delegate from Washington in 1988 and even made it one of my majors in college. Of course, my other thing is sports. (And actually, technically, I have a BS in Speech Therapy that has resulted in nothing more than cool words playing Scrabble.)

Anyway, this is kicking off the year of Eric being political and fun on this blog with some sports mixed in.

For a brief while, I was using Twitter and Facebook to throw very short thoughts around about some of this stuff, and then that experiment wilted on the vine because I write too long and it feels intrusive on my 45 friends and followers. So screw that…

The other thing that tripped me up was getting my life moved over to being Apple-centric for work and pleasure. Let’s just say that I lost a bunch of passwords and bookmarks, and I felt much less hip than I deserved to feel after biting the Apple.

So, in the next week, there is going to be what can be considered sort of a re-launch of Bluebirdsinging.com.

I know when I do write regularly, people read it…I can tell by reading all of the comments that I don’t moderate which aren’t spam.  But I also have learned something from my social network experiments…it’s kind of fun to have people make comments. Which leads to a little more work if I want to take it seriously.

The other thing that I have been really interested in is doing an audio podcast. I would be a really good podcast host. We’ll see…my first priority to to try and set aside regular times to actually write.

Speaking of which…

I LOVE the idea that a muslim who was born in Pakistan is buying the Jacksonville Jaguars NFL team! A city in Florida is going to be held hostage by a Pakistani Muslim from Chicago over moving the team to Los Angeles. It’s got to be one of the most beautiful story arcs that could possibly play out over the next couple of years!

Best part of it all of was that the Jags owner said he purposely sold to someone with “no ties to L.A.” HAHAHAHAHA! You know what is the tie to LA and football for every single billionaire in the United States?

$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

This is so much like how the NBA Sonics ended up in OKC that it’s not funny or even entertaining.

But let’s get back to the fun in the whole thing…the guy from Pakistan, a muslim, is going to be holding all of the cards in one of the most bible belt Florida cities in the entire universe of right-wind Christian zealots. I’m interested just to watch the train wreck when he starts making demands for stadium changes/improvements, blah blah blah…

Speaking of demands…Herman Cain demanded that the women prove he did ANYTHING. I actually watched that interview live with Wolf Blitzer, and I thought, “Oh, shit, he just pulled a Gary Heart. Poor Herm.”

Now we know what it meant to his campaign and should be a lesson to all politicians: Don’t piss off the decade-long mistress by acting like their accusations are their problems, not yours.

Gary Heart challenged the media to follow him all the way to “Monkey Business.” (Just as an aside…Gary Heart actually, probably, would have been a very Clinton-like guy eight years early. He was a wonk, a ladies’ man, and young and brash.)

So what should have Cain done?

Uh, probably not much. He might be doing the correct thing and ending this book tour early. If I were a good campaign wonk for hire, I wouldn’t touch him with a 38-and-a-half-foot pole even if he won Iowa and New Hampshire and went down south. He’s toast.

I’ll save Newt and Mitt for later.

But I really want to make it clear. I look at running for POTUS like playing a combined game of Risk and Monopoly. If you check in here every few days or once a week, I won’t be railing on things from a left or right bent, per se. I am a pretty conservative liberal. A good old fashioned Rockefeller Republican from when that meant something, I suppose. Or maybe a Johnson Democrat. I’m old school. I don’t think any side has any moral or writ authority to be superior.

So here’s what I promise during the next year…lots of sports and politics. I will try and be very regular with posts and dutifully cary my laptop and camera around. (Speaking of which, I need to learn this new version of WordPress, and how to upload stuff.) You’ll also get some funny little stories about things that happen to me along the way.

I’m also going to try and manage comments and play with that. (This is actually gigantic on my part…I’m admitting I am a writer, and I write a lot, and it’s ok that other people discuss what I write.)

Give me a week or two. To get the beat figured out of how it all works.

-e