Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Four Way arc welder

Apparently this was a 110 volt carbon arc type welder, allowing the buyer to solder, braze, cut and arc weld. By the ads in old magazines, the company was around from the fifties into the seventies. In 1966 Popular Science did a comparison test that included the Four-Way machine.

Canadian Wright explains supercharging, 1944

Awfult Reads: Riding Home by Ted SImon

Years ago, I devoured Ted Simon's 1979 book, Jupiter's Travels, in which he recounted his four-year journey through 126,000 km across 45 countries on a Triumph Tiger 100 500 cc motorcycle from 1973 to 1977.   (Below, Triumph Motorcycle's typical response, taken from the 1984 book.)

So, when Riding Home came out in 1984, I bought it, but it's sat on my shelf since.  (As Arthur Schopenhauer famously said in 1851, "“Buying books would be a good thing if one could also buy the time to read them; but as a rule the purchase of books is mistaken for the appropriation of their contents.”) The back of the book proclaimed, "Dramatic, alive, questioning, Riding Home is very bit as compelling as Jupiter's Travels." So, I expected the same from Riding Home when I recently cracked the cover.

Instead, what I got was the moanings and groanings of a man who doesn't seem to know what he's doing, what he wants, who he is, or even what the book was about (a medieval French hovel he was rebuilding, failed relationships with various women, travels in South America spliced into more relationship difficulties as he prepares, at age 48, to have his first child?)  The narrator reminded me of the depressed robot Marvin in The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.

Still, I found a couple of passages I could wholeheartedly agree with, and these written over 30 years ago before our world seemed to be in as parlous state as it is today:

I could not read the book in its entirety.  In fact, I had to skip through whole sections of this book, something I almost never do. Simon is a terrific wordsmith, mind you, but the book seemed pointless and distressing.  I'd give the book a pass.  

Mr. Simon, who will turn 89 this year, has published several books of new adventures since, including another 59,000 mile trip on a BMW GS under the title Dreaming of Jupiter (2007). There's a nice summary of Simon's accomplishments in The Telegraph. Maybe his later books are better.

Popeye rides Speedway, 1937

There's even a young Popeye watching from the sidelines!  More spinach!

Chevy Nomad, 1955

Flatheads at Daytona, 1998

Monday, January 15, 2018

The Modern Visual Ego

From James Gibson, Visual Perception.
Back in my undergraduate days, I took several courses on visual perception.  James Gibson was a huge name in this area.  In any event, I always liked this drawing.  It's really how we see the world visually from moment to moment.  You can find other similar ones on the web.

Syracuse Mile, 1984

From the brochure.  An American friend invited me down to attend this. I remember it was a very exciting race! There's nothing like the smell of gasohol and dust--really!  Even if you don't smoke Camels.

Sears Diehard

March 1984

"There's more for your life at Sears."  Not any longer.  Sears died hard.  Yesterday was the last day for all of their stores in Canada.

Although the writing was on the wall for a very long time, it's still a sad end to a once great company.  I own loads of Craftsman hand and power tools which were quality items at one time, backed by a fantastic guarantee.  Then they started having them made off-shore. I pointed this out to the guy in the tool section who just shrugged and actually said, "Expect less from Sears."  Now the Craftsman brand name has been sold to Stanley Black & Decker.  Same name, same or similar off-shore source, different corporate ownership.


Sunday, January 14, 2018

Did you ever lose a wrench?

As seen in Canadian Tire... a set of wrenches done in camouflage? I feel the buyer may not have ever used a tool in their life.
To the credit of the buying public, it was in the clearance bins...