Monthly Archives: November 2015

HAPPY THANKSGIVING

HAPPY THANKSGIVING

 

We have a lot of wild Turkeys around here, and I don’t mean just because it is Berkeley.

 

Often, you can be driving down the road, and traffic will be stopped while a flock of Turkeys try to figure it out.

I was once showing my client Tom a condominium, and this large Tom was walking around the parking lot. Generally, these guys kind of scrawny are generally pretty unappetizing looking, but as I approached, he must have needed to let me know who was boss. He puffed up like you would blow air into a rubber glove, and started strutting his stuff.

Condo Tom

Copyright 2015  Jimmy Reina

 

Speaking of Turkeys, have you been to the United States Postal Service website lately?

 

I regularly use the mail to remind my Real Estate clients that I am still out there trying to make a living. Sometimes, a piece of mail comes back because of an incorrect Zip Code,

so I need to refer to the USPS website (https://tools.usps.com/go/ZipLookupAction!input.action) in order to correct my database.

As expected it asks you to type in the street address, City and State, and the last field is for the ZIP CODE!

Zip codes

 

Wait a minute. I thought I was using this reference because the Zip Code was the one piece of information I didn’t have.

 

It gets better.

 

I was recently selling some stuff on eBay, and had to calculate some shipping.

I tried to use Flat Rate packaging whenever possible, but sometimes a special box size has to be calculated, so you go to the calculator (http://postcalc.usps.com/default.aspx), and there is an image of packaging options-

Tires

Apparently, there is a packaging guideline for shipping tires.

Between my eBay stuff, and my end of year business mailings, I have probably stood in that line ten times in the last few months, but have yet to see someone holding a tire.

Did you move to Chicago, and your Dad sent you some snow tires because he wanted to help?

Is there a tire dealer that uses the Postal Service to send their product?

Think about the unfortunate mail carrier that has to make that delivery.

And what then?

Your tire has been delivered, and you are standing in your living room with it, what do you do now? Putting a tire on a rim requires some specialized equipment, so do you go to your local tire center or service station, and ask them to install a tire you just bought from somebody else?

How many Forever Stamps do you stick on a tire?

 

But wait, there’s more.

If you are not mailing tires, at item 4. they want to know what you are mailing.

The first question asks if you are mailing live animals, the second wants to know if it is live or day old poultry.

Live animals

Really?

Does this mean that if I could have captured that Tom Turkey on that parking lot, I could have mailed it to someone for their Thanksgiving dinner?

For this, I would need their Zip Code.

 

 

WHEELS PART 2

George Barris, the ” King of the Kustomizers” died over the weekend.

As mentioned, the “off the rack” cars I grew up with were visual delights-everybody was bending sheetmetal in some crazy ways

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Copyright 2015  Jimmy Reina

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Copyright 2015  Jimmy Reina

Stylization of the American automobile was such a strong part of our culture, that the Fisher Body Division of General Motors had an annual design contest for aspiring young customizers

https://history.gmheritagecenter.com/wiki/index.php/Fisher_Body_Craftman’s_Guild

I don’t remember many details, but I remember seeing photos of these teenage kids working alongside the FB design team sculpting some pretty sophisticated models (perhaps 25% scale) in clay.

But the flip side of my teenage automotive world, the guys that kept us talking, and buying those magazines were the hot rodders -they were the hackers of our day.

Every year, the car shows would come through town, and while Detroit was well represented, we loved going to see what wild contraptions these automotive alchemists were building.

Basically the two factions were the speed/power guys, and the body workers (and I don’t mean that in a Schwarzenegger kind of way). The pure speed group gave us drag racing and muscle cars

Muscle car

Copyright 2015  Jimmy Reina

and there was an elegance to that type of engineering and mechanical sense, but often what really mattered there was under the hood hidden from view, and let’s face it, camshafts and exhaust manifolds are not sexy.

But the body guys……………..Va Va Voom!

These folks were visual artists, they were the ones who could make you stop and turn your head. Who was better equipped to bring our comic book/car mania/TV pop culture together than guys like George Barris and Ed “Big Daddy” Roth, these guys were the rock stars of the hot rod world.

Although George didn’t create the first Batmobile*,

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he did build the one used in the campy Batman TV series of the mid 1960s. As a kid, I devoured Superman and Batman comics, and while Clark Kent drove around in a mousy Nash (I guess this was to add to his Clark Kent disguise), Batman was making an automotive statement-

Batman with Batmobile

 

 

Holy shit, Batman, that is one set of wheels!

My friend Gary and I loved that show. We started speaking with those Robin exclamations, and he even started using the word “BAT” in the place of “back, bag”, and other words starting with “ba”.

Among his other accomplishments, George Barris designed cars for several other TV shows and celebrities.

Ed “Big Daddy” Roth was a bit more outrageous, mixing in equal parts monster and Beatnik/outlaw culture, lubricated with healthy influence by CRACKED magazine*

Ed’s logo was the Rat Fink**

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Customization probably wasn’t invented in the post WWII era, but like rock and roll, the pop culture of the day helped it to spread like wildfire.

Is it human nature, or narcissism that makes us want to personalize things?

Speedboat2

Copyright 2015  Jimmy Reina

In the mid 1980s, I was living in Indianapolis, and I frequently saw a very unusual car parked in front of a tavern that I passed at the end of the day, on my way home. The body of this car was made of small metal plates that were shaped over the frame, and riveted together, in much the same way that airplane skins seem to be applied (remember Leonard Di Caprio rubbing his hands over the body seams in “AVIATOR””?).

There was nothing flashy or sculptural about this auto, but the diligence and determination one man took to build it was impressive.

One time, my friend Jim and I went into the bar, and found the owner of this car sitting on stool. We ordered a beer, and in the course of our conversation, he turned to us and with neither irony nor conceit said, “It’s a custom car”.

Every May, the City of Indianapolis is loaded with automotive events leading up ti the Indianapolis 500 Memorial Day Classic race. One year, the Herron School of Art had a gallery show featuring “custom cars”, and as I recall, there were 10-12 cars from around the country, including this car, and the Volkswagen Beetle that had a real, growing lawn over the hood and roof. These were not trophy cars, I believe every one of them drove there under their own power.

“Art Cars” are more prevelent now, and you see them pretty often around around Berkeley these days, but they don’t seem to be the product of creativity, vision, and craft-they come off as just vehicles that have been decorated by attention junkies who have a glue gun and too much time on their hands. I guess this is personalization in the same manner you stretch out holes in your earlobes or buy a Taupe colored skin for your ipad,

So George is gone.

*Photo Sourcehttp :  //www.sfgate.com/entertainment/television/article/George-Barris-creator-of-TV-s-original-6613696.php

I would give anything to see that funeral procession.

* Photo Sourcehtt: http://www.sfgate.com/entertainment/article/First-Batmobile-to-be-sold-at-auction-5937570.php

**http://www.ratfink.com/

***https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cracked_%28magazine%29