I first saw a Smart Car last year when my wife and I were in London. I thought it was so odd and notable that I took a photo of it. "Surely they won't catch on in the U.S.," I thought. But then, shortly after arriving home I saw one in Springfield; as it turned out, the owner lives somewhere near me - I see the car frequently. Anyway, I figured this had to be one of the smallest cars, ever. But as it turns out, I was wrong.
I was watching a Top Gear episode last night and caught their hilarious segment on the Peel P50, a tiny little thing manufactured on the Isle of Man during the Sixties. In fact, it is the smallest production car ever built. In this video, Jeremy Clarkson - all 6' 5" of him - takes it for a spin. He gets it into some truly interesting places - another example of why Top Gear is the greatest show on television.
At the end of the Top Gear segment they show the sports version, the Trident, which is also illustrated in this funny youtube clip. I like the shot of the Peels moving out of the factory crossing the bridge. They look like a line of tiny Daleks.
Last night my wife and I saw a great local service band performance, this time it was the U.S. Air Force Band at the base of the Air Force Memorial (what I call the "crown roast"). They still have a lot of performances left in their summer schedule; I shall see them play again there soon.
Last night it occurred to me that the quality of my life is proportional to the amount of good live music I hear!
On the way home we listened to an oldies station that had a segment, "Your first 45." (That's a 45 rpm single vinyl record, in case you're young.) Callers described their very first 45, after which the station played the song. I remember mine very well; it was "I Want to Hold Your Hand" by the Beatles, 1964. A Capitol Records pressing, it had a swirly orange and yellow vortex label that looked hypnotic spinning on the turntable. Naturally, I wrote my name on it - we all did back then. I was an enormously proud eight year-old when I got it, and I felt cool because I owned it.
The other 45 I owned was "Theme from 'A Summer Place,'" a hit in 1959 - but I inherited this one from my parents.
I still own a small stack of 45s - mostly of 1970's and 1980's vintage. I see collections for sale occasionally at yard sales, but I'm not interested.
I am on page 88 of 582 of my Jay Winik book, "The Great Upheaval." As I wrote yesterday, his sentence construction is often odd. For instance, take this example on page 69: "Not long after the ink was dry, the English delegate Caleb Whitfood (sic) was asked by a Frenchman what he thought of the new thirteen United States; his reply is unforgettable. "Yes," he hissed through clinched teeth, "and they will all speak English."
Who is speaking? The English delegate Caleb Whitford (note misspelling) or the Frenchman? If the Englishman, why the hissing? Doesn't he like English? The odd thing is that Winik mentioned this very same exchange in his other book, but it made much more sense there. And the other book came out before this one. You'd at least think that if Winik was going to repeat historical anecdotes he would at least be consistent with their meaning!
By the way, try clenching your teeth, hissing and talking. It can't be done.
On page 78 I encountered an odd phrase I have never before seen, "filthy weather." What's that? Offal falling from thunderclouds?
And so on... how Winik gets published is beyond me. How he gets published with such a need for a good editor and then gets praised by known authors is imponderable.
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