What is wrong?

Pages lifted directly from How Do We Know?, a disappointingly sensible and worthwhile children's book from 1945, mostly about animals and the natural world. On the cover, two splendid children can be seen feeding a squirrel rare earth magnets, so that he may survive the winter stuck to the side of a dumpster, and once again caper and frolic, come spring.

After spending 27 pages teaching kids about animals, there comes a horrific two-page quiz. These images are unmolested, and exactly as they appear in the book.

"What is wrong?" "What is wrong?" What's wrong is that they didn't even tell them the names of these monstrosities.


Extra wading pool uses.

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Bigness can be clicked for.


Junior's Errand Cart

Readers, I hope you're sitting down. Please stand up and sit down again to be sure of your sittingness. Now, observe with horror this monstrosity from our past: plans to build a cold-war-era shopping cart, just for a boy! Yes, that's right. Children... CHILDREN!...were allowed out of the house, unaccompanied. Wait. it gets worse. The children were sometimes sent on errands DOWN THE STREET... ON THEIR OWN!... to BUY GROCERIES for their PARENTS! You will also want to shout in all caps when you see the horror. Prepare to witness an atrocity. Here are the stolen plans to construct this most hideous of weapons.

These "parents" (humph!) probably didn't even dip the boys in sunscreen before sending them out into the wastes of suburbia. Oh, the humanity. Citizens, it is because of the abduction and presumed devouring of all our school-age boys in The Sixties that the human race died out and there are no more people left. Irresponsible parenting, child slave labor and lack of round-the-clock protection were directly responsible for our extinction. Now you know why you're extinct. You're welcome.


Metropolitan Life Insurance Company - Nature, It's Gonna Get Ya.

Summer is (more or less) here, Citizens! Get these urgent summer tips in your head, courtesy of MetLife in 1948!

And, just in case you were wondering what to have nightmares about tonight, please fail to enjoy this little song by Blue Wank, which has some background vocals with lots of reverse reverb. It makes a nice chant as you trudge through the undergrowth. "Nature. It's gonna gonna gonna gonna get yaaa..." May it shiver your timbers even more than nature does. Watch out for bugs... and commies.

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Blackhawk Vintage Classic 2015 - Pt. 3

Here's the last page of photos from the Fathers' Day weekend event at Blackhawk farms. More jokes or something tomorrow, with apologies to those who are bored by cars. Hang in there!

That kid there, whose dad apparently takes him racing on the weekends? That's one lucky kid. A) because his family can afford an expensive hobby like this and B) He'll probably have his own car to race in short order. What a life.

This pretty thing had an argument with the tire wall in the previous day's practice runs. The massive tires make promises of huge power and a sausage-shaped body. Too bad it was out of commission. However, the gent in the red jacket insisted it would be back later in the season.

Oooo. A honking big Vee Eight Modurr (see below). Such a glorious noise it must have made.

It must have spun around at some point. The wing is usually pretty hard to mess up.

Race tires are really soft and sticky. Did they get shredded just because they don't like sliding sideways?

A Chevy Corvair. Very much an oddball in the vintage racing scene. Ironically, Ralph Nader's book "Unsafe at Any Speed", criticized the Corvair for its handling in corners. Opinions are divided whether this was just hype. The guy lying on the ground would seem to imply that they can be raced without dying, as he's not dead.

This man's MG was running rich. I didn't want to bug him with questions, but he volunteered the information.

A terrific badge, with some gorgeous deco design and beautiful enamel. Brooklands was the first purpose-built motorsport track, now derelict. It was featured in an episode of James May's Toy Stories, in which he built a Scalextric slot car track around the full length of the historic race course. Available on Hulu. Definite recommendo.

Worlds collide. That tent is covered with biking sponsors prominent in the offroad bicycling industry. I remember them from my time racing mountain bikes in the 90s. Apparently, Answer now owns all those brands you see there. Hayes makes disc brakes, Manitou was a suspension products company, and SunRingle made really good hubs and wheels. Maybe somebody used to race mountain bikes but has since graduated to vintage racing?

Possibly one of my favorite tracking shots from the race. Reason number one, the car is successfully in sharp focus, despite the required slow shutter speed (60 milliseconds). About 80% of my tracking shots are throwaways due to the challenge of following the car perfectly with the camera while using a slower shutter speed, to get the blurred background. Reason number two, I always liked the way turquoise and orange make each other pop when they're in the same picture. The tire wall was actually wrapped in blue plastic, as you can see in the other photos. But because in this photo, that was the only blue in the picture, it was a simple matter to selectively rotate the hue of the blue tire wall over to turquoise, without effecting anything else, or need for masking.

here, you can see some of the limitations of the 1980s-era lens I'm using. It has some serious chromatic aberration. See the purple fringe at the edge of the leading driver's helmet? That's some of the color spectrum not being properly focused onto the sensor. CA will generally show up where white meets black, or other areas of high contrast. That's okay. It's a hell of a long lens for ninety dollars.

Not the greatest feat of tracking the lead car on my part. It's blurry, but I still like the way the cars framed up.
EMERGENCY UPDATE: Arthur Reginald NoJagsInMyPants_2 (Mrs.) Retired was saddened by the presence of only one E-type Jag. Let no one say we do not respond to reader requests. Fixed! Ding!


Blackhawk Vintage Classic 2015 - Pt. 2

More pictures from last weekend's Blackhawk Vintage Classic. Today's batch of photos features possibly my favorite thing from the event. The Shriners were there!

I only saw this Modus on its way to the grid for practice runs. I didn't find the car in its paddock. beautiful car. It looks like a mid-seventies Formula 1 car, but that's just a guess.

Formula Vees fall into group B. They're monoposto (single seat) purpose-built race cars that use a Volkswagen Beetle engine and drive line. They represent the lowest barrier of entry into vintage racing, as you can find a good example with a trailer for about 10,000. However, you also need a truck to tow it, spare parts, tools, and the mechanical ability to maintain and repair the car. They are always present at the vintage races in robust numbers and every color.

Yep. That's all you get. With this little protection, the front wheels in clear view, and your butt a few inches from the tarmac, Formula Vee is about as pure as racing can get. The cars only have about 50 horsepower, but with a total weight of about one thousand pounds, the owner insists it's a blast to drive.

A HANS (Head And Neck Safety) device and a really cool helmet.

A portable battery. Presumably, the car does have a starter on board somewhere, because there didn't seem to be one on the portable unit. A battery is about forty pounds of weight that the car only needs before the race is started. No point in dragging that around the track.

A Jag E Type. I couldn't tell if it was a V-12 or not.

The Shriners were there, promoting a charity circus taking place that evening. Humanitarian works benefiting children's hospitals, funny hats, and kooky little vehicles. What's not to like?

I never had a go-kart as a kid. It's a miracle I didn't become a Shriner just out of spite. Check out the airplane behind the go-kart. There's a clearer shot of it down below.

The younger guy wasn't even looking at anybody, but still wore the glued-on grin. I would too if I had a mini bike. His dad seems to have a better poker face.

Tebala Birds are GO!

This group of Formula Vee owners all share a tent. They are either a team, or are just friends. Probably both. I caught up with them just as they were pulling out for practice laps.