Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Vinyl Score

I've been super busy finishing up projects and packing for my great Euro'Venture 2009, however, I did find a moment this afternoon to drop in on the local Record & Tape Exchange in Fairfax, Va.

This place is always hit or miss for me. Their CD collection is impressive and they have a growing used DVD collection, but I wish they had a larger new vinyl section. I generally go there to shop when I'm looking for weird sounds or movie soundtracks (which I have an affinity for).

On a good day I will walk away with a few cool things, but today I really scored.

Check out the haul:

Hutchence and Co.'s best selling album to date - 1987. $3.00.

Gabba Gabba Hey!, brother, brand new pressed vinyl reissue - 1977. $15.00.

Aloha Mr. Hand! The greatest stoner movie of the 80s and a pretty kickass soundtrack - 1983. $6.00.

Chief Brody is back to kick some more tail in this sequel to the scariest fish movie ever made. It's definitely NOT safe to go back in the water (or on a catamaran) - 1978. $5.00.

Yo, Adrian! It's me, Rocky! How could I resist this purchase, seriously - 1976. $3.00.

A weird and trippy carousel ride from conductor Merle Evans - 1960s(?). $3.00.

Now that's what I'm talking about! I've been looking for this album forever - 1968. $7.00.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Jaguar E-Type

The Jaguar E-Type (1961-1975) was designed by Jaguar's aerodynamicist, Malcolm Sayer. This car would establish a massive following in both European, as well as American (XK-E), markets. First appearing in hardtop coupe form, a roadster would soon follow. Jaguar claimed a top speed of 150mph but, in actuality, very few could actually hit that mark.

A new lightweight coupe frame, the 'Low Drag Coupe', was introduced in 1964. These were specifically designed for Le Mans racing and featured a squat rear end with a slightly revised nose. The goal was to achieve low drag during the long straights, which made it a serious threat to Ferrari's utter dominance of the sport.

Sex sells (model in 1960s ad at top), but you can never mix business with pleasure. The free and funky spirit of the 60s was seriously stifled by 1970s bureaucratic camel-colored turtleneck wearing boringness. And a little thing called OPEC.

The energy crisis in the mid-70s killed production of this gorgeous machine. Bye bye naughty fling. You were fun while you lasted. I'll keep the champagne on ice and anxiously await your return.

Specification: Jaguar E-Type (3.8 liters)
Engine location: Front, in-line
Configuration: Six-cylinder
Bore and stroke: 87 x 106mm
Capacity: 3781cc
Valve operation: Twin overhead camshafts
Horsepower: 265bhp @ 5500rpm
Transmission: Manual four-speed
Drive: Rear
Chassis: Monocoque/squared tubular front sub-frame
Suspension - front: Wishbones and torsion bar
Suspension - rear: Wishbone and coil spring
Brakes: Disc
Top Speed: 150mph
Acceleration: 0-60mph in 7 seconds

1961 Jaguar E-Type hardtop coupe at its Geneva Auto Show debut. The red wall tires on these cars look just as dynamic.

1961 Jaguar E-Type. 1962 Le Mans racer.

That's a 1962 cat in this screen freeze from the awful 1963 movie, "The Young Racers", which featured a behind the scenes sound guy by the name of Francis Ford Coppola.

This cat sits low on its haunches, ready to pounce at the drop of the flag.

1968 E-Type convertible (foreground) and hardtop (rear). Good luck driving 'em out of all that corn, man.

1969 XKE convertible.

Oh, hello there 1970. I'm not sure what you're all about yet but I'll still give it a go.

Introduction of the 1972 V12. I love the wheels but they're definitely better suited to the sedans.

1972 Jaguar E-Type Coupe V12.

1972 Jaguar E-Type Coupe V12. All chromed out with nowhere to go.

1974 Series III Roadster. And more foliage.

1974 Series III.

This cat plays rough but has a sensitive side. Or so it would appear in this 1960s advertisement.

Man, this is WHY you need to know how to change a tire. It stands true today as it did in the 1960s.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

The Indian "Chief"

I come across these Indian Chief motorcycle fender lamps all of the time on eBay (both vintage and new), and often think that there are other possible uses for these pimp little chrome heads. They are the perfect size to double as night lights, reading lamps, bar lighting, etc.

Would make a fun project in the New Year.

1941 Indian motorcycle brochure

1946 Indian Chief

1949 Indian Chief. Photographed by Loomis Dean - California, June, 1949.

2009 Indian Chief Bomber. With this vintage WWII gettup you can picture yourself busting down the gates of Berlin and cruising all the way to the Reichstag.

2009 Indian Chief Bomber

2010 Indian Chief Dark Horse. I'm digging the murdered-out matte black finish, but I'm just not feeling the leather seat tassles.

2010 Indian Chief Roadmaster

Vintage blue Indian Chief LED fender light found on eBay.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Are You Experienced?

Rock is so much fun. That's what it's all about - filling up the chest cavities and empty kneecaps and elbows.
-Jimi Hendrix

The greatest electric guitarist in the history of Rock and Roll was only 27 (27!) when he passed from this earth in September of 1970.

Can you believe it.

Surely, you must be kidding?

'Fraid not, brother.

Impossible to comprehend.

So many of our iconic rock gods died far too young. They lived hard and died harder. Erecting such massive bridges, only to burn them down behind them. Thus sealing their legacy. We are unable to follow directly in their footsteps, which forces us to choose alternate pathways in life.

Perhaps that is what makes them legendary. Like mile markers along motorways we can view their career achievements, missteps, pitfalls and misfortunes and either slow down, stop the car, or hit the gas and blast over those humps. But, when the fingers of Hendrix fly across that Strat it's hard not to put four on the floor and launch yourself into orbit.

Rock is fun.

Hendrix during soundcheck at the Monterey Pop Festival, 1969. Copyright Jim Marshall photography.

Hendrix during soundcheck at the Monterey Pop Festival, 1969. Copyright Jim Marshall photography.

Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Jimi Hendrix, Smoking, London (1967) by Gered Mankowitz

Noel Redding, Jimi Hendrix, and Mitch Mitchell (The Jimi Hendrix Experience) - Heathrow Airport, London, 1967. AP Photo/Peter Kemp

Jimi Hendrix and Brian Jones

Jimi Hendrix at Montagu Place in London. Photo MAGNUS/Rex Features

Hendrix live at the Royal Albert Hall in London, 1969.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Mama Don't Take My Kodachrome Away

Kodachrome photo of Shaftesbury Avenue from Piccadilly Circus, in the West End of London, circa 1949. Photo by Chalmers Butterfield

Kodak has announced that they are closing the last Kodachrome film development lab.

I guess it was inevitable, but millions of unhappy photographers must now feel as if they are viewing the world through a black & white lens.

There is a pretty sweet group over at Flickr dedicated to the Kodachrome film medium. There you'll find pages upon pages of user photo contributions. Check it out.

I think Paul Simon said it best:

When I think back
On all the crap I learned in high school
It's a wonder
I can think at all
And though my lack of edu---cation
Hasn't hurt me none
I can read the writing on the wall

They give us those nice bright colors
They give us the greens of summers
Makes you think all the world's a sunny day, Oh yeah
I got a Nikon camera
I love to take a photograph
So mama don't take my Kodachrome away

If you took all the girls I knew
When I was single
And brought them all together for one night
I know they'd never match
my sweet imagination
everything looks WORSE in black and white

They give us those nice bright colors
They give us the greens of summers
Makes you think all the world's a sunny day, Oh yeah
I got a Nikon camera
I love to take a photograph
So mama don't take my Kodachrome away

Mama don't take my Kodachrome away
Mama don't take my Kodachrome away
Mama don't take my Kodachrome away

Mama don't take my Kodachrome
Mama don't take my Kodachrome
Mama don't take my Kodachrome away

Mama don't take my Kodachrome
Leave your boy so far from home
Mama don't take my Kodachrome away
Mama don't take my Kodachrome

Mama don't take my Kodachrome away

You'll Shoot Your Eye Out!

In the heat of battle my father wove a tapestry of obscenities that as far as we know is still hanging in space over Lake Michigan.
-Ralphie as Adult

Tis the season. That's right - for all day viewings of Bob Clark and Jean Shepherd's retro-holiday classic, A Christmas Story, on TNT.

Like everyone else I have seen this movie a thousand times and can quote entire scenes word-for-word. Even though I own a copy of the movie on DVD, and a poorly edited for television version on VHS, I still make time to watch a run or two during the holidays.

In December 2004, Brian Jones, a San Diego entrepreneur, bought the house on eBay for $150,000. Jones used revenue from his business, The Red Rider Leg Lamp Company, which manufactures replicas of the famous lamp from the movie. Vyuz San Diego has a great little article about Jones and his loving restoration of the house, and his quest to replicate the experience for the thousands of fans that make the pilgrimage to 3159 W 11th Street each year. Here's the link.

Over Thanksgiving weekend of 2007 I traveled to Cleveland with a few friends for the semi-annual A Christmas Story Convention and downtown Cleveland's Winterfest.

The house and museum are open daily to the public with extended hours during the holiday season. Check out the website for more information.

Just watch out for those mangy Bumpus hounds next door. Sons-a-bitches...

The throngs of visitors wait to enter the house.

The old man's 1938 Oldsmobile Model Six.

Taking shots in the backyard with that official Red Ryder, carbine action, two-hundred shot range model air rifle.

Ralphie has Black Bart on lockdown.

The electric sex lights up Cleveland Street.

Merry Christmas from the Parkers.