Author Archive
Stories written by skiniubcono

Krazy Kar Kapers IV

   The Stealth Porsche—At a
Shelby American Auto Club convention in Anaheim, July ’84, a member at
a nearby table caught my attention when he unscrewed the top of his
cane (more an accessory than necessity), and poured liquor of some sort
into a dry water glass. The ensuing conversation revealed that he was
the proud owner of a number of very high performance cars, including
genuine 289 AND 427 Cobras, and a late model Porsche 957 “whale tail”
coupe. He enjoyed Shelby outings at Willow Springs, Carroll Shelby’s
original high-desert test track, but was becoming fed up with the
hifalutin’ doings of the L.A. Porsche Club, which also held events

Wow! We may not be Amerika, after all

 A basic truth:  There will always be tinkerers.  Many a worthy machine
has been converted to junk by someone trying to find out how it works,
or worse, how to “fix” it.
   In regard to the American invention of freedom from oppressive
governments, with liberty and justice for all, the working parts are
our Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and its succeeding amendments.
From this, our three branches of government, too. Used properly, this
arrangement has kept us well for 234 years.
   But still, there will be tinkerers. About 90 years ago, some
well-meaning folks thought they could “save” us from Demon Rum by
passing the Volstead Act, which became known as prohibition.  Although
it was finally scrapped after proving that one cannot legislate
morality, the American Underworld (Mafia, et al) we have known since
would not have prospered as it did without prohibition.

Christmas Memories & the Depression Era . . .

   First, let me set the stage for those dim days of my early youth—the
little town of La Mesa, population maybe a few thousand, a place where
agriculture is thriving in the waning days of the Great Depression. 
Not far from the main intersection of La Mesa Boulevard (now Lookout
Avenue) and Palm Avenue, rabbits and chickens are bred and raised. A
packing shed for citrus and avocados is a mere block-and-a-half from
the center of town, and a stone’s throw from the tracks of the San
Diego & Arizona Eastern Railway. But, in this village, blessed with
the sun and climate of Back East dreams, there is no wrong side of the

Dear Mr. Prez: Please Lose the Hellthcare

   When one deducts those who DON’T WANT health insurance and those who
are young enough to think they don’t need it, we are left with the 5
percent who are the illegals in our nation. A consistent 85 percent are
satisfied with their current coverage, and in baseball that’s an
amazing batting average.  
   That doesn’t mean that they don’t want improvement, but, given our
government’s fiscal work at the plate, it is either foolish or too
political to tinker with our healthcare system in the way you and your
liberal comrades are lusting for.

This month, it’s the ‘Village Voice’

   Yep, in these times of our “Big Bro’s Gas Attack” from D.C., it may
be helpful and reassuring to have some plain old helpful advice from
your faithful smith.  Herewith, some words of wisdom gathered from
numerous sources, which may prove valuable as you take on each day, and
for many years to come.

Gee! How the Mighty have fallen!

The “General” (Motors) has been around so long (1908) that many of us
have no idea where such an industrial giant came from. Time was, 40 to
50 years ago, the corporation was building roughly half of America’s
cars and trucks, as well as locomotives, and rail cars, too.
But, it started as the brainchild of a very successful Flint, Mich.,
businessman, one William Crapo “Billy” Durant, who, at a young age,
along with his partner, J. Dallas Dort, had become millionaires (when
the word really meant something) building carriages and wagons in the
late 1800s.

Krazy Kar Kapers — III

It’s that time, again; mechanical IQ not required, merely an
appreciation for the absurd, amazing, awful, and wonderful, life on a
planet overrun with powered wheels. Sign said, “Do Not Pass.” Do not
pass WHAT?  
The National Hot Rod Association got going in the early ‘50s, and soon
after there was a national drag race meet, the first being held at
Great Bend, Kansas, near the geographic center of the U.S.  By the
mid-‘50s, the meet had been moved to Oklahoma City, and, in San Diego,
two guys were desperately finishing their race car, and watching the
clock in order to get on the road and be in OK City on time.

They weren’t flying saucers… but, they hit Chula Vista with a ROHR!

Longtimers will remember Rohr Aircraft, and, perhaps, its founder, Fred
“Pappy” Rohr, whose company played a major role in U.S. military
aviation in WWII.  But, before that happened, Rohr, as a young man in
the mid-’twenties, was earning his keep as a metalworker at T. Claude
Ryan’s plant on Harbor Drive.

David Brinkley said it first: Everyone is Entitled to My Opinion — II

Herewith, the smith sounds off on current issues in a sort of annual
rant . . . possibly irritating many, but hopeful of pleasing at least a
— A.G.S.

Recession/Depression?  The first Recession took place in l958.
Ike was president, the country had enjoyed a long run of post-war
prosperity, and it was inevitable that the gravy train would derail.
To top it off, the auto industry, having wowed most of us with some
wonderful, high-powered and/or economical cars, ran out of ideas on
what they should look like.  Virtually all of the ’58 crop was dull,
homely, or, in the case of Olds, ghastly baroque.

Some More Christmas Memories…

One of my earliest is lodged in the glorious scent of a freshly cut
tree,  of being small enough to wriggle under its lowest branches and
gaze upward through the maze of needles and see the colored lights cast
their annual glow upon the many ornaments and the carefully hung,
slender, shiny lead icicles.  
I had little to do with the whole business. Dad brought the tree home,
fetched a galvanized 12-quart bucket full of wet sand and, with a
trowel, dug a socket in which the trunk would rest for the next two or
three weeks. The bucket lasted until its bottom rusted out in the ‘50s.