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Thursday, February 3, 2011

thinkin thursday 2 03

1.1,500-year-old church (talk about pews)

2.Nikki Blonsky (looking for some glee love)
3.Britney Spears (preggers!)
4.Kristen Stewart( gains 40 lbs)
5.iPhone (now makes toast AND coffee)
6.Halle Berry (hot, so f*ing hot!)
7.Angry Birds (take a shit on jerry jones!)
8.Tiger Woods (comes outta the closet)
9.Day of Rage (against the machine…Egypt’s political machine!)
10.Airline tickets (douchebags fly free….the problem is convincing the airline you are a douche to fly and then the rest of the world your now when you are done flying!)

i stole borrowed the above from my EvilTwin! for a change!

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For my Thinkin Thursday I was feeling like waxing nostalgic and reposting a instant classic.  (i had about 3 followers when i first posted this...)

The captain

When my father was alive he had a Chrysler New Yorker. My father was a guy that grew up in Brooklyn, it was apropos. I often wondered why it took so long for a car to be named after the Big Apple, but then after seeing all the traffic, I can understand the hesitation. In a big city you can catch a cab, more easily than drive the few blocks to the next destination. And do not get me started on the parking. However, a car called the Los Angeles, would be stupid and probably very green, given the amount of smog in LA.

All digression aside, the New Yorker was a fine car, with all the bells and whistles afforded from its era. It did not have leather seats, but fine velour. Complete with numerous cigarette burns. It even had a lighter and an abundance of ashtrays which also had lighters. Every smoker in the car could light up and smoke. Those were the days! Ashtrays in a car now are mainly a place to keep change. And fewer cars have lighters, but they have a plethora of lighter shaped “convenience outlets, because, heaven forbid that your cell phone is not charged so you cannot keep abreast of all the tweets and texts. Also, Sheila can give you her particular brand of misinformation even if you forgot to plug her in.

The New Yorker also had the captain. Not the greatest captain in all of sports history, Steve Yzerman, nor the second greatest captain, Nick Lidstrom. The New Yorker’s captain was a computer voice that my mother gave the moniker of “The Captain.”

The Captain kept track of all kinds of things that the average driver of such a car might not have forefront in their mind. For example, he would say “The door is ajar.” in his Max Headroomesque voice. ( Max Headroom ). Actually, it is not a jar, it is a door, my mother would remind The Captain, and soon anyone that rode in the car would as well.

For the elite non-driver types (holders of Operator licenses as in the state of Michigan) of the world, this little voice probably helped them to navigate thru the often confusing world of operating a car. Or that was someone’s idea of what this voice could be. That someone had to think this was a good idea. I do not know who would agree that a computer voice command, ordering you around, would make the driving experience more enjoyable. I would suspect that is the same person that suffered from all kinds of other social inadequacies. (People even more nerdish than me….I know they are out there, just like the truth).

The Captain had no mute, so if you wanted to drown him out, you had to crank the stereo. However, the stereo was never balanced and faded correctly. In this car it was simply mono. My father did not understand the intricacies of the burgeoning stereophonic era. The speakers were always left balanced and faded full front. Basically, one speaker of the four was usable to him. But then again, AM radio and talk shows did not need stereo. And The Captain had his own speaker, he did not come thru the “MONO”

If your seat belt was not on The Captain, would insist that you, “Please, Fasten your seatbelt.” Yup, it was a car in command. It like to tell you what, where, when, and more what. My mother would then implore my father, “Ed, put on your seatbelt.” He would usually reply that a car was not going to tell him what to do. Eventually he just left the seatbelt fastened and sat in front of it.

The Captain would comment on the fuel range and say, “XX miles to empty” and “fuel is low.” That would mean that my father would have to take the car and put gas in the tank, because my mother did not have a clue as to how to fill up the tank. She had to learn after my father died, or find a full-serve gas station, which is even rarer than a cigarette lighter for lighting smokers in a newer car. Sometimes she would say to The Captain, that he could go fill up himself. But, she always seemed to answer back. I think that it was a game to her.

I inherited The Captain, a few months after my father died. My mother did not like the memories attached to the car. I parked it in my side yard for a while. We drove it occasionally. Eventually I traded it and some cash for a new electrical service in the house in Cedar. For some reason there were about ten sets of keys for this car, and it took me two trips to the new owners house to hand them off. I said goodbye to The Captain.

The other day as I was leaving my car I thought about The Captain. My truck now has some bells that remind me that the lights are on. There is a different sound for keys in the ignition. I do not know which sound is which. I really do not care. Until I lock my keys in the car, then I may care a little more. I came dreadfully close at the Easttown Post Office. For some reason I ignored the bell that said the keys were in the ignition. I pushed the lock down manually, instead of hitting the button. Then I shut the door. And then I realized what that dinging meant. The Captain would have sounded the alarm.

I looked to the other door. Please be unlocked! Please! Please! Please! be unlocked. If it was not magic, it was something else. The door was unlocked. The Captain would not have let me get that close to catastrophic lockout. Maybe it was the ghost of The Captain. If it was not The Captain, maybe it was the ghost of my father...

Just another day in paradise


  1. That was a poignant, yet funny story, Bruce. :) I'm glad that you shared it again for us newbies who weren't around when you originally posted it.

    I hope you are feeling well today, too, and please say hullo to Tucker for me.~ I gave you both an award over at my place. Cheers, dears!

  2. Since I've been driving around a lot the car beeps at me with lights and keys in the ignition when I have to turn on the lights manually (at like dusk or when it's a light rainy day).

    The first day I did that with the lights I couldn't figure out what the beeping was for because I had the keys in my hand. It took me five minutes to figure out it was the light thing haha.

  3. My Mom was from Brooklyn too Bruce and also own a Chyrsler New Yorker. Small world. hee

    I have a funny story about my parents selling it to a pastor in our town, but I think I won't leave it in comments. ::winks::

    Thanks for the memories.

  4. what a gorgeous story. My dad always talked to machinery too, whether it talked to him or not. When we would kid him, he would laugh and say he was just getting ready for when the machines took over the world. I find myself sometimes saying thankyou to the ticket machine in the parking lot which makes hubby laugh. But when the time comes, I will be ok, cause they will remember the humans with manners lol

  5. Great blog, Im gonna start following and supporting you!!

  6. Katsidhe- thanks for your kind words! and the awards...I will be posting a few more oldies in the coming weeks...tuck says hello back!

    AD- new vehicles make a ton of freaky noises, once you figure them out it is not so bad...

    skippy mom- you should post about the new yorker story on your blog! my father never really lost most of the brooklyn brogue..

    Mynx-i think when the machines take over the world they will remember you!
    you will be saved!

    OFT- thanks!

    Nik Mekeena- wlecome and i will swing by and check your blog out!

  7. Awesome story, Bruce! Thanks for sharing! My car beeps at me when the fuel is low, when seat belts aren't on, when the lights are on and when the keys are in the ignition. It is really freakin needy and I'm pretty sure it just likes to beep to annoy me. If my dog jumps into the passenger seat, or I've got books stakced there, it will beep the whole entire ride. I don't know how many time I've fastened the seat belt around books.

  8. beautiful story thanks for sharing

  9. This was a great story. Max Headroom. OMG! Blast from the past. My brother bought a 1967 Chrysler Imperial. It was the Cadillac of Chryslers. He got it from an old lady who's husband died. It was mint but he wouldn't let anyone drive it. Nice cars those old Chryslers. Good memory lane stroll.

  10. JM- thanks! yup some things we have to protect us are freaking a pain in the ass!

    becca- you are welcome!

    BB- i would figure that some of us can appreciate the nostalgia!

  11. I remember the Captain. We didn't have one in our car, but the fancy schmancy people who lived across the street from us did and I loved riding in it. I would do things just to make it talk. Needless to say I was easily amused as a child.

    a bitch called mom

    the well fed spirit

  12. My mom used to have a Crysler LaBaron that would speak and ask you to buckle your seat belt and remind you that 'a door is ajar'. Of course like your mom, my dad always had to argue (as opposed to your mother's gentle reminder) with the computer voice about the veracity of a door actually being a jar.

    Hey I tagged you at my place. No award, but you might find it entertaining just the same.

  13. "Eventually he just left the seatbelt fastened and sat in front of it."

    totally pointless kind of guy!

  14. Mrs Hyde-i am still easily amused as an adult...hey wha? wait...ooohhh shin-ey!

    Tory-It was fun but after a 600 mile trip, you REALLY wanted the captain to STFU! popped by your site...should be fun!

    Kage-i so totally agree. My father was muchly a cross between george costansas' father's charcter on Seinfeld and Red on that seventies show...


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