Sunday, October 31, 2010

Tuesday Victory Haiku

In honor of the Big Day Tuesday, I am reposting the special economics haiku I posted a while back. It gets to the reality of budget constraints and the unsustainability of Keynsian pump priming. If you are conservative, vote. If you are progressive, vote often. We're going to win anyway.

In a moment of quiet contemplation, I composed the following Hiaku as a rebuttal to Keynsian economics as it pertains to government taxation and fiscal stimulus spending-

Hungry lazy dog
ate his leg, then couldn’t hunt.
He’s since starved to death.

-Trailer Trad

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Trailer Trad Collecting: Vintage Travel Souvenirs (reshown)

Travel Souvenirs
Piling into the family car to see new things is very American. Road trips to new places, especially when you’re a kid, stick out in your mind. -Ever watch old black and white super-8 movies of trips when you and your brothers and sisters were really little kids? Trips to Florida. Trips to The Great Smokey Mountains. Even that trip to The Grand Canyon.

Back then, we usually traveled in a 1965 Pontiac Grand Prix with a back seat the size of a king-size bed. Booster seats? Seat belts? Are you kidding? There were four kids in the back seat. Four bladders. A lot of intestinal fortitude was built up on those trips. Somehow, my Dad felt that stopping at a roadside place with a restroom would incur some kind of cost to him. Smart man. Each stop had its own priceless objects of desire. Its own candy for sale to desert-weary travellers. Its own soda pop to necessitate additional rest stops down the road. Nope. My Dad would have none of that. He really missed his calling as a long-haul trucker. He could drive. For. Ever.
Did I mention the chilly air-conditioning that we enjoyed on our summer trips through places like Arizona and Florida? I didn’t because there was none. We did, however, get to travel with our good friend Prince Albert. My Dad rarely smoked but, for some reason, he chose to enjoy cigars on long trips in the car. With us. Would you believe me if I told you that we sometimes traveled in the same fashion in a tiny VW Bug? We did. It was jet black, all the better to absorb that cozy-warm solar heat. You know that little cubby hole in the back of the old Bugs that held, like, a bag or two of groceries? That was Monsieur Legume’s spot. Its upholstery was of fine, Corinthian Brillo-Pad. That particular model will always bring back memories to me because there is something about the smell of Mid-60’s German pleather bucket seats that stays with you. Hotels were places reserved for people like the Waldorfs and the Astorias. We usually camped in a big WWII surplus tent (which was great) but there were a few times when we stayed in a motel. One rainy night in the Ozarks, my Dad was so exhausted that he gave in and stopped at a real Norman Bates Special. I think that even he was grossed out. I was five or six and I distinctly remember making my first sarcastic joke. We walk into our room and my Mom asked how we liked it. “The only modern thing in it is the towel rack”, I remember saying.
That bumper sticker of the campground or that souvenir glass from some foreign country like Arkansas not only brought back, hopefully, fond memories of the trip but proof to others that, yes, we were travelers. We went on adventures. In fact, the Grand Canyon was so exotic that they still had arrows and head dresses for sale on the side of the road. The fact that the arrows were rubber and the feathered head dresses were paper didn’t matter.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Trailer Trad Hall of Fame: Robert Hardy

It's surprising that a kid growing up in the rolling countryside of the Virginia Piedmont could be influenced by an Oxford educated English actor starring on a little known BBC TV show. But Robert Hardy had such an influence on me and many others. His Show All Creatures Great and Small was a favorite of mine even though it was on PBS (which at the time I associated with The Woodwright's Shop, The Victory Garden and other stuff that a teenage boy wouldn't be interested in).

In the show, Robert Hardy played veterinarian senior Siegfried Farnon, senior partner of a country practice in rural 1930s Yorkshire, England. His younger brother Tristan (Peter Davidson) was somewhat the black sheep and Christopher Timothy played James Herriot (the author of the wildly successful books that the series was based upon) who was usually caught somewhere in the middle. The beautiful English scenery actually reminded me quite a bit of my own Virginia stomping grounds and the parade of livestock and cool dogs every episode always interested me.

I think my Anglophilia began in ernest with All Creatures Great and Small. Siegfried, even when really frustrated with his younger brother, was always ready to offer encouragement, wisdom and good cheer. And the costume designer was brilliant. The tweeds, tattersall shirts, fair-isle sweaters and wellies looked incredible to me. Being Southern Baptists growing up in the country, my family liked the wholesome 'working farmer' tone of the show too (I don't think my parents would have gotten into the more hedonistic, aristocratic Brideshead Revisited at all!) The following are a couple of clips if you've never seen the show.

Tristan and Siegfried With Fantastic Dogs

Siegfried Judging Cakes

Until fairly recently, I had no idea just how accomplished Robert Hardy is. He has accumulated a tremendous body of work and, even now in his mid-80's, shows little sign on slowing down. He was friends with Richard Burton, Albert Finney and other British stars of the 1950s and 1960s and starred in movies and TV adaptations spanning Dickens' David Copperfield to Shakespeare's Henry V. You might not know that he also was the narrator for all of the Patrick O'Brien novels or that he is a graduate of Oxford University and holds three honory doctorates. One of my favorite performances was his legendary Winston Churchill for the miniseries Winston Churchill; The Wilderness Years. If you are a fan of him or of Winston Churchill (or both, as I am), you should seek it out.

Robert Hardy As Churchill on Socialism

I was late to the party regarding the Harry Potter craze, but I've really grown to enjoy them. And the icing on the cake for me was the appearance of Hardy in the series, albeit in the slightly villianous role of bureaucratic Cornelius Fudge. And typical of Hardy's range, he does a great job in that role too.

So here's a TT Hall of Fame nod to this fine Englishman to accompany his Yorkshire barn full of accomplishments and awards!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Trailer Trad Job & Money: My Kind of Green Product

It doesn't require billions of dollars of stimulus money to get it into use. It doesn't break and leak hazardous chemicals when you drop it. It doesn't fill your kitchen with smelly sorted trash. No, the product that I'm going to show you is MY kind of environmentally friendly, green product.

This product greatly reduces the volume of paper used in my house and, most important, it saves me money and it accomplishes this in a way that even I can understand.

I'm talking about 'Pick-Your-Size' paper towels and they work like this. These towels have perforations every 5 inches instead of every 10 inches. So, you get twice as many towels and use half the paper per use. Most spills that happen in our kitchen don't require the full size sheet and if it does, use what you need. Brilliant.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Trailer Trad Collecting: Late Summer Picking

The summertime 'dog days' are over and the pickin' was as parched and dead as my lawn. Well, maybe not THAT dead. I did come across a few nuggets here and there and it's always fun to look. -Always remember, if you have a great-aunt who is a hoarder of old junk and has packed three barns full of stuff and is downsizing to a condo, give me a shout. I'll be glad to help with picking it in disposing of the all the clutter.
I picked up these oak file boxes for $20 each. Pretty good for dovetailed boxes with original finish and hardware. They even had the original handwritten drawer labels on them! I sold the larger one and cleaned up the smaller one.

I bought this deck of cards for a quarter at an estate sale. I guess that they're pretty old (1900?) but I'm not sure. They appear to be French or Belgian. They're not worth that much but I thought that the face cards were kind of unusual.
These are indian blankets from the 1940s. The tan one has some repairs but I think that the applied antique material looks pretty cool and doesn't really detract.
I picked up this 1950s doctor's office/beauty parlor chair at the flea market. -Wasn't really looking for more Mid-Century chairs but I thought the look and condition of the chair was too to pass up.
Down the street, some neighbors had a yard sale and had some cool stuff. -These folding chairs were probably made in the 1930s approximately and were used as spare seating in a church. They are solid oak have a nice finish. These neighbors also had a big pile of soul/R&B 45s that I regret not buying.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Trailer Trad Attire: Fall Leather Weatherproofing

The summer's over and, even here in Raleigh, the cool weather has arrived. So it's time to protect your 'buddies' against the elements. In return, they may spare your feet from freezing after you've stepped in a puddle this winter!

Let me introduce you to some friends of mine. They average about 12-15 years of age; Alden blutcher moccassins, Gokey chukka boots, Marley Hodgson Ghurka messenger bag and Orvis leather and canvas doctor's bag.
-By the way, those mysterious oil stains appeared years ago on my messenger bag and I was THIS close to throwing it out. Glad I didn't.

Have you ever tried to protect your prized leather boots or other leather goods by waterproofing them only to discover that your leather conditioner makes them oily and dark looking? This weird Swedish (Norwegian, Icelandic...??) stuff is really good and doesn't smell and doesn't discolor your leather goods or make them greasy to the touch.

While I'm conditioning my leather gear, I might as well polish my silver belt buckle. For that, I prefer using a German metal polish called Wenol. It's fairly difficult to find but Williams Sonoma always has it. You might be able to obtain it cheaper elsewhere but, for me, the convenience is worth paying a little extra. As you can see, it does a fantastic job. Just a rag and a moment or two of elbow grease gets silver mirror bright. Since its not too abrasive, you can use it on a number of different things around the house.