August in Florida, Part II

After Part I

August 6-13, 2005

Saturday, August 6, 2005

Thanks to Sandra, THOCBDC now brings you the complete Ruthless Rhymes.

Harry Graham

Harry Graham was born in 1874. He trained for a military career at Sandhurst and joined the Coldstream Guards, after three years taking up an appointment as aide-de-camp to Lord Minto, then Governor-General of Canada. He saw active service in the Boer War and in 1904 resigned from the army to become private secretary to Lord Roseberry. Before that, while still in the army, he had written the verses in this book. Under the ingenious pseudonym Col. D. Streamer, they were first published in 1899 in Ruthless Rhymes for Heartless Homes. From 1906 he devoted his time entirely to writing — biographies, novels, plays and the lyrics for musicals as well as verse.

He was an engaging character and an excellent companion. With a fine sense of the ridiculous combined with a taste for the macabre, he wrote, in a completely deadpan manner, rhymes of the most memorable silliness. On his death in 1936 The Times paid tribute to him in a leading article entitled 'What Nonsense!' He is generally regarded as one of the best writers ever of a peculiarly English kind of nonsense. H.G.

Today's theme is 'indifference' ... with little love for Grandmamma.

Sunday, August 7, 2005

Some of these are more nonsensical than others. This second one (*) in our series is not at all ruthless.

If Andy P. is reading these new pages I'd like to hear his comments ... "Andy, have you read Harry Graham; in particular his rhymes?"

(*) From Google:

"Saint Vitus is the patron saint of dancers, young people and dogs. There is a disease named after him, Saint Vitus Dance, or Sydenham's Chorea, which can sometimes cause dancing mania."

"Sydenham's Chorea got its name from the Greco-Latin word implying the act of dancing, the word chorea was first applied by Paracelsus to the frenzied movements of religious fanatics who during the middle ages journeyed to the healing shrine of St. Vitus."

"Chorea: St. Vitus's dance, acute disturbance of the central nervous system characterized by involuntary muscular movements of the face and extremities. The disease, known also as Sydenham's chorea (not to be confused with Huntington's disease, a hereditary disease of adults that is sometimes called Huntington's chorea), is usually, but not always, a complication of rheumatic fever. Sydenham's chorea, a disease of children, especially females, usually appears between the ages of 7 and 14. Facial grimacing and jerking movements persist for 6 to 10 weeks and sometimes recur after months or even years. Eventually the symptoms disappear. Although there is no specific treatment, sedatives and tranquilizers are helpful in suppressing the involuntary movements. Technically, it is sometimes called chorea minor or juvenile chorea to distinguish it from several less common choreas, chorea also being a general term for continuous, involuntary jerking movements."

Monday, August 8, 2005

Googling "golf in Rye, England":

Rye Golf Club,
Camber, , Rye,
East Sussex, TN317QS
Activity: 10189 - 374
Tel: 01797 225241
Description: Not Available
Directions: Not Available
Opening Times:

PS: Admittedly, that Rye thing you just read lacked any semblance of visual voltage. How about a real macho engine shot to make up for that wimp posting! Guys love to look under the hood.

And, maybe Paul can link the SL55 AMG's pistons to those of the Bangkok based S and SLK. I'd love to see all three engine compartments lined up together.

Tuesday, August 9, 2005 (Lisa's Birthday)

Cars again.

And Google comes to the rescue on hand cranking:

Hand Cranking - Safe and Easy

Always grip the crank with the thumb wrapped below with the fingers.
NEVER push the crank down the right side of the rotation!

Starting a Model A with the hand crank was once as common as driving one. It seems hand cranking has become nearly a lost art over the decades. Following a few basic rules, hand cranking is perfectly safe and quite simple. The hand crank should be one of the most useful tools in your toolbox!

The following list outlines the procedures for starting your Model A with the hand crank. The specifics apply to a properly tuned engine. Some variations may be required and are discussed later.

  1. Set the emergency brake and be sure the shifter is in neutral.
  2. Retard the spark by raising the left (spark) lever to the top of it's quadrant.
  3. Lower the throttle lever approximately three notches, or until the gas pedal lowers very slightly.
  4. Adjust the mixture on the dash to the setting appropriate for the conditions.
  5. With the ignition OFF, hold the choke out (fully closed). This will require either a helper, a pull cord from the lever on the carburetor to the front of the vehicle, or one of those modern undersized and sticky choke rod grommets.
  6. Carefully position the crank in place engaging the ratchet with the crank left of center in the lower of the two possible positions. Grasp the crank as shown in the photo above, paying close attention to the thumb position below the handle. Pull the crank to the top briskly but carefully. Repeat with a second pull.

    At this point there should be gas running slightly from the carburetor to the floor.

  7. Release the choke and turn ON the ignition.
  8. One more pull of the crank and the engine should start. NEVER push the crank down the right side of the rotation with the key on!
  9. Advance the spark lever about half way down the quadrant and adjust the throttle speed.

Other considerations: Although there is no serious risk of injury when handling the crank as shown, it's startling when a kickback occurs. Most kickbacks occur when the choke is closed. The probability varies depending on the position of the crank ratchet relative to top dead center. Leaving the switch off during the choking step almost eliminates the chance of kickbacks.

With a low battery the engine will fire more quickly by hand than with the starter because the starter isn't starving the ignition system.

Variations: The car should start similar by hand as it does with the starter. For example, using the starter I always start my cold A's with the choke pulled for exactly two compression strokes or one turn of the crankshaft. At that point I release the choke and the engine fires. I NEVER hold the choke until it fires as suggested in the "Model 'A' Instruction Book".

If your car REQUIRES the choke to be held more than two compression strokes with the starter, you may need to adjust step #6 similarly.

Experiment with a good battery so if you have difficulty starting, you can use the starter to determine if the problem is too much or too little gas. Be conservative with the choke. It is much easier to repeat the process than to hand start a flooded engine. A flooded engine is guaranteed to provide more exercize than you desire!

If your hand crank binds when inserted through the starting crank bushing and into the crank ratchet, don't crank start your car. Too much bind will prevent the crank from releasing from the ratchet. See Front Engine Support for more information.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Thanks to: Working group, European Avalanche Forecasting Services

avalanche size

Extent of the avalanche, classified by runout length, volume and destructive potential.


runout classification

damage potential classification

quantitative classification

Size 1


small snow slide that usually cannot bury a person but push over a cliff

relatively harmless to people

length<50 m,    volume<100 m3

Size 2

small avalanche

stops within the slope

could bury, injure or kill a person

length<100 m,  volume<1000 m3

Size 3

medium avalanche

runs to the bottom of the slope

could bury and destroy a car, damage a truck, destroy a small building or break a few trees

length<1000 m,  volume<10000 m3

Size 4

large avalanche

runs over flat areas (significantly less than 30) of at least 50 m in length, may reach the valley bottom

could bury and destroy trucks or trains, large buildings and forested areas

length>1000 m, volume>10000 m3

Thursday, August 11, 2005

THOCBDC turns to "Sparknotes" to discover the meaning of "loss of honor".

The Importance of Honor

The aborted wedding ceremony, in which Claudio rejects Hero, accusing her of infidelity and violated chastity and publicly shaming her in front of her father, is the climax of the play. In Shakespeare's time, a woman's honor was based upon her virginity and chaste behavior. For a woman to lose her honor by having sexual relations before marriage meant that she would lose all social standing, a disaster from which she could never recover. Moreover, this loss of honor would poison the woman's whole family. Thus, when Leonato rashly believes Claudio's shaming of Hero at the wedding ceremony, he tries to obliterate her entirely: "Hence from her, let her die" (IV.i.153). Furthermore, he speaks of her loss of honor as an indelible stain from which he cannot distance himself, no matter how hard he tries: "O she is fallen / Into a pit of ink, that the wide sea / Hath drops too few to wash her clean again" (IV.i.138140). For women in that era, the loss of honor was a form of annihilation.

For men, on the other hand, honor depended on male friendship alliances and was more military in nature. Unlike a woman, a man could defend his honor, and that of his family, by fighting in a battle or a duel. Beatrice urges Benedick to avenge Hero's honor by dueling to the death with Claudio. As a woman, Hero cannot seize back her honor, but Benedick can do it for her via physical combat.

Friday, August 12, 2005

Delacroix, Eugene
The Death of Sardanapalus
Detail of cut throat
Oil on canvas
392 x 496 cm
Musee du Louvre, Paris

The Death of Sardanapalus (1827, Louvre, Paris) by French painter Eugène Delacroix represents the height of romantic painting in its theatrical and emotional depiction of a massacre in a distant locale (Assyria). The tangle of bodies and vivid colors combine sensuality with violent death. The painting was based on a play by English romantic poet Lord Byron.

Saturday, August 13, 2005

Famous Plumbers

Gabriel Byrne

Gabriel Byrne Born in Dublin in May, 1950, Gabriel Byrne set out to become a priest but was somewhat put off by being molested by his Latin teacher while at an English seminary preparing for the cloth. That was enough to send him on a number of different career paths from archaeologist and schoolteacher, short-order cook and bullfighter to plumber's assistant and toy factory worker installing teddy bear eyes, before finally settling on acting as a career at the age of 29. After a series of minor roles, Byrne finally gained the attention of American audiences for his portrayal of the calculating, enigmatic gangster in the Coen Brothers' film Miller's Crossing in 1990. Later successes included Defence of the Realm, In The Name of the Father and The Usual Suspects. Gabriel says that plumbing was not his finest hour. "I was an absolutely useless plumber. There are places in Dublin now where you switch on the light and the tap comes on." He was such a liability that his mates would send him back to base for a wrench - with instructions to walk, not take the bus - just to get him out of the way. True to his plumbing roots, Byrne is set to star in Ken Russell's upcoming movie on the life of American gangster Pretty Boy Floyd... [see below]

Michael Caine

Michael Caine Born Maurice Mickelwhite - not a lot of people know that - actually everyone knows that - in St Olaves Hospital in South London in 1933. In 1986, the same building became Bob Hoskins' production offices for the making of Mona Lisa, which starred Hoskins and Caine. The son of a fish market porter, Maurice was born with swollen eyelids, ears that stuck out at right angles to his head, rickets and St Vitus Dance. And lucky white heather. Leaving school at 16 he worked in a number of jobs until he was called up to do his National Service with the Royal Fusiliers, which took him to Korea. After leaving the Army he spent his working day in various manual jobs, including a plumber's assistant whilst studying acting in the evening. His first film part was ironically enough, A Hill in Korea, but his breakthrough was as Lieutenant Gonville Bromhead in Zulu. He went on to star in The Ipcress File and Alfie which gave him his first Academy Award nomination. He has worked non-stop ever since, including films such as The Italian Job, The Man Who Would be King, Hannah and Her Sisters and Little Voice. His fear of returning to poverty drove him to keep making films. "I never thought I was going to get another movie, so I always took 'em," said Caine, "It's the old cliche, he's a young boy, he's got to buy his mother a house. I bought everybody a bloody house." That explains Dirty Rotten Scoundrels then.

Russ Conway

Russ Conway He was the pianist who brought joy with his tinkling fingers and his twinkling smile. This attractive combination brought Russ Conway huge success in live concert and on record, and made him one of Britain's biggest-selling artists of the 1950s and 1960s. From his first chart success in 1957 with a medley of other artists' Party Pops through to his 1962 hit Always You and Me, Conway spent 168 weeks in the music charts. After leaving school at 14, his father found the young Russ a job in a solicitors' office, but this ended when he was sent to borstal for three years after stealing some money he found in a packet. He had always wanted to go to sea and, following his release from borstal, his father agreed to send him to a Merchant Navy Training School. He served in the Royal Navy during the war, taking part in minesweeping operations in the Aegean, before returning to the Merchant Navy. He was discharged in 1948 with a stomach complaint and worked as a salesman, machinist, plumber's mate and barman before another spell back at sea. He became one of Britain's biggest-selling music artists before The Beatles, chalking up sales of 30 million records, but his career came to a premature halt when he suffered a stroke in 1965. He died in November 2000.

Charles Dance

Charles Dance Walter Charles Dance was born in Birmingham, England, in 1946, son of a parlour maid and a civil engineer who died when he was four. When the son was four that is, not the father. Dance junior dropped Walter from his name because he didn't fancy having the initials WC. He was a nervous child and suffered from both a stammer and dyslexia. He left school at 16, found work as a window-dresser and a plumber's mate before encountering, in a pub in Plymouth, a couple of retired actors who were to coach him in the business of being theatrical. Dance spent five years with The Royal Shakespeare Company before gaining fame here and abroad as Sergeant Guy Perron in the TV mini-series The Jewel in the Crown (1983). It was the first of many roles in which Charlie was to make his mark as a bit of posh. He had debuted in the small role of a gunman in the James Bond film For Your Eyes Only (1981), but made a striking impact as Meryl Streep's patient diplomat husband in Plenty (1985). Other memorable roles include White Mischief, The Golden Child and Ali G Indahouse. Most often described as suave, debonair and a bit posh, Charlie is sauve and debonair. He's not posh really. He was a plumber after all. He married his wife Jo in 1970 and they have two children, Becky and Oliver. They currently live in Somerset.

Bob Hoskins

Bob Hoskins Short, bad baldie who rose to fame in The Long Good Friday, Hoskins was born in Bury St Edmunds in Suffolk in 1942 where his mother had been sent to escape the Blitz. They couldn't have enjoyed it too much because Hoskins was sent back to London with his mother when he was only two weeks old. He stayed at school until he was 15 and in the next 10 years took on a string of undistinguished jobs including Covent Garden porter, member of the Norwegian Merchant Marines, steeplejack, banana picker, circus fire-eater, trainee accountant, and even spent time working on a kibbutz in Israel. Amidst all that mediocrity there was a little light when he spent some time as a plumber's assistant. Hoskins began acting at the age of 25, learning his trade in theatre before going into films. His breakthrough was in the aforementioned LGF before going on to such hits as Mona Lisa, Who Framed Roger Rabbit, Mermaids and Nixon. Despite his ability and success, Hoskins couldn't escape being typecast as short, bald guys. However this and his previous real-life experience came to his aid when he played what is undoubtedly his greatest role - as the world's greatest plumber. Bob played Mario in the wonderful Super Mario Bros, surely the best film about plumbers never to have won the Best Picture Oscar. Unless of course you count Brazil, but then that also starred Bob Hoskins as a plumber. Hoskins was once asked if he had ever considered doing a couple of homers just to keep his hand in. "I wouldn't advise it," he said. "I was an apprentice plumber once, burnt the boot of the bloke I was with. I was on a ladder and he was fixing a pipe up in the ceiling. I got a blowlamp, and set fire to his boot! That was the end of the trade for me".

Ronnie Laine

Ronnie Laine Ronnie Laine, bassist and founder member of The Small Faces, was born in Plaistow, East London, on April 1, 1946, son of a lorry driver. At 16 he left school and began working as a plumber's mate then, aged 17, he bought his first guitar and began playing in a band called The Outcasts with drummer Kenney Jones. Laine invited Steve Marriott, the shop assistant who sold him his guitar, to an early Outcasts gig. Marriott turned up at the pub, promptly wrecked the piano and got the band barred. He joined as singer and guitarist soon after. Rechristened The Small Faces by Marriott''s girlfriend - all four members struggled to hit 5ft 5ins - they had a series of Top Ten singles including their only Number One single, All Or Nothing in 1966. Following Marriott's departure in 1969 the others welcomed singer Rod Stewart and guitarist Ronnie Wood to their fold and struck out as The Faces, the purveyors of rhythm 'n' booze who became revered for their shambolic concerts and geezer-down the local pub image. In fact, so raucous were the band that they were banned from the entire Holiday Inn hotel chain. The Faces called it a day in 1975 due to Stewart's burgeoning solo career and Wood's absorption into The Rolling Stones; Laine went solo and charted with a couple of singles and the LP Anymore for Anymore. Ronnie died at the age of 51 of multiple sclerosis at his home in Trinidad, Colorado. He had been debilitated by the nerve destroying disease since the late-1970s.

Matt Munro

Matt Munro Britain's answer to Frank Sinatra. Okay, Matt was no Ol' Blue Eyes but he carved out a successful career as a romantic ballad singer both in Britain and America in an age dominated by raucous pop singers. His rise to fame against the Elvis Presley tide was a singular achievement for a small man with no stage background. He represented Britain in the Eurovision Song Contest, coming second in Copenhagen in 1964 with I Love The Little Things. He had 15 hits in the UK though he never topped the charts. His songs included Portrait of My Love, Born Free and From Russia With Love. His career was as romantic as his songs. He was born in Shoreditch, London as Terry Parsons and brought up in a council flat. His father wore cor' blimey trousers but died when Matt was three and his mother, left with four sons and a daughter became a Mrs Mopp to keep the family together. For a while Matt, the youngest son, was in an orphanage and began work in a tobacco factory later working as a plaster's labourer and a plumber's mate before becoming a London bus driver, working the No.27 route from Highgate to Teddington via Kentish Town. On leaving the Army he found the competition of show businesss tough but he gained his first break in 1956 when he became the resident singer with the BBC Show Band. The pianist, Winifred Attwell, had helped him make a record and the rest was almost history. Matt Monro died from cancer in February 1985 aged 54.

Screaming Lord Sutch

Screaming Lord Sutch Few political party leaders have had funerals marked by the presence of leopardskin armbands, a cavalcade of motorbikes and rock and roll. But then David Edward Sutch was no ordinary politician. Screaming Lord Sutch, who was the longest-serving party leader as head of the Monster Raving Loonies, was found hanged at his home on 16 June 1999 after apparently committing suicide. After school in South Harrow, David Edward Sutch worked as a plumber until turning to rock 'n' roll where he recorded such enchanting ditties as Jack The Ripper and Dracula's Daughter. He is reckoned to be the first long-haired pop star. The nickname "Lord" came from his first stage headgear, a fur-lined crash helmet topped with bobbles to resemble a coronet; in 1968 he adopted the name Screaming Lord Sutch, 3rd Earl of Harrow by deed poll. (Once, he said, he had tried to change his name to Mrs Thatcher, but was told it would be too confusing when he got to the Commons.) He became a fixture of British political life, fighting more than 40 elections in his trademark top hat and gold lame suit, memorably overtaking Lord Owen's SDP in the 1990 Bootle by-election. His most incisive political moment was probably when he asked, "Why is there only one Monopolies Commission?"

Arthur Haynes

Arthur Haynes Born in Hammersmith in May 1914, Arthur Haynes was the only son of a baker. Although remembered today only by Nissan Micra drivers, Haynes was an immensely popular television comedian throughout the middle of the last century, winning awards and acclaim from all quarters. His eponymous show, The Arthur Haynes Show regularly topped the ratings and featured such stalwart figures as Nicholas Parsons and Patricia Hayes. Arthur's early dreams of becoming an architect were dashed when his poor family worked out just how much it would cost to send him to Art School. Instead, he became a bus conductor. A stint as a furniture store clerk followed before he entered the noble profession. "I was everybody's mate. Plumber's mate, painter's mate, carpenter's mate and so on." And who knows how Arthur's career might have progressed had it not been for the outbreak of war in 1939? Failing his army medical, he managed to pick up a job as a props man with the impressario George Black and never looked back. Teaming up with the excruciatingly unfunny Charlie Chester, Arthur's career as a top-class radio comedian was never in doubt but his big break in television came when he was reunited with his old mucker George Black in 1956. Strike A New Note saw him teamed up with scriptwriter Johnny Speight for the first time, a partnership that was to last until Arthur's untimely death from a heart attack in 1965. Together they built a series of memorable characters culminating in Arthur appearing in a Royal Variety Show performance in 1961 and being voted Independent TV Personality of the Year in 1962.

Albert DeSalvo

Albert DeSalvo AKA The Boston Strangler. Or was he? And come to that, was he really a plumber? His father Frank DeSalvo certainly was, although he let down the profession by being an alcoholic who knocked seven bells out of the missus, broke every one of her fingers, occasionally sold his children as slaves for $9 and made them watch him having sex with prostitutes in the front room. No wonder Albert went bad. In 1948 Albert joined the army straight from school and was stationed in occupied Germany where in Frankfurt he married a local girl. In 1956 DeSalvo left the army with an honourable discharge when it was claimed that he had sexually molested a nine-year old girl. He returned to Boston, Massachusetts. From June 1962 to January 1964 The Boston Strangler held the women residents of that city in fear for their lives as he claimed 13 victims in a 19-month reign of terror, talking or breaking his way into his victims apartment then strangling them to death. The Strangler sometimes passed himself off as a detective to gain entrance, sometimes as a plumber. He certainly was a plumber as played by Tony Curtis in the classic movie, The Boston Strangler. DeSalvo was arrested for sexual assault in 1964 and it was when he was in prison that he first boasted, then confessed to being The Boston Strangler, telling police in great detail about each killing. There are now grave doubts that he was indeed the killer. In November 1973, Albert DeSalvo was found dead in his prison cell, stabbed through the heart six times, although his killer was never caught.

John L Sullivan

John L Sullivan Recognised as the first heavyweight boxing champion of the world, John Lawrence Sullivan was born in Boston, USA, in 1858. Son of a quick-tempered Boston Irishman, he at first attempted to learn a trade, being for a while an apprentice plumber, tinsmith and stonemason. However, as some journeymen colleagues of Sullivan painfully found out, John L's personal attributes and ego were in fact perfect for prize fighting. On the 7th of February (Super Mario's birthday) 1882, Sullivan defeated Paddy Ryan to become the first world champion, in front of an audience containing Frank and Jesse James. For the next decade or so Sullivan, despite chronic alcoholism, easily held on to his title, defending it nearly thirty times. These fights were predominately arranged around Sullivan's great tours of the United States in 1883-4 and 1886-7, whereupon at each stop John L. made his standard offer of one thousand dollars to any man who could last four rounds. He rarely had to pay out for he could "lick any man alive". Finally, on 6 September 1892 in New Orleans, Sullivan lost his title to James J. "Gentleman Jim" Corbett. A visibly ageing Sullivan was knocked out in the twenty-first round. He died on 2 February 1918, probably of heart failure. A massive funeral followed. Fittingly, the frozen earth had to be blasted to make his grave. In the commotion that followed, the Boston Irish finally realised that neither they, nor anyone else, would ever again queue "to shake the hand that shook the world". He is considered still by some to be one of the best heavyweights ever.

Pretty Boy Floyd

Pretty Boy Floyd Born in Barrow County, Georgia, in 1904, Charles Arthur Floyd, alias "Pretty Boy", participated in the Kansas City Massacre in 1933 when four law enforcement officers, including one FBI Special Agent, were killed. A leading light in the classic age of American gangsters, Pretty Boy was up there with John Dillinger, Bonnie and Clyde and Baby Face Nelson. Known as Choc, after the popular local Choctaw Beer, for which, early in his teens, he displayed a liking, Floyd first fell foul of the law when he took part in a hit on a payroll in St Louis in 1925. When the payroll master first described the three unidentified hoods to the police, he referred to Choc as "a mere boy - a pretty boy with apple cheeks." Charlie was sent to Missouri State Penitentiary where for a spell he worked as a cook on kitchen duty, then as a machine operator in the factory where the inmates made their own shoes and clothing, then as a plumber's assistant. On his release he gained nationwide notoriety as one of the most colorful, nervy bank robbers in the history of Depression-era America. A Robin Hood who enjoyed hitting back against the wealthy for the defence of the poor, he is remembered in legend and in song, recalled not with a shudder but with almost a fond salute. Floyd was killed in 1934 by FBI Agents and local police officers while resisting arrest.

Next: Part III

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