Tom Flanders World

All the stuff about me and my life
Baby Can-Am on eBay

If I buy this baby can-am do I get to be Peter Revson?

baby can-am carThis baby can-am car is the lower 99 percenters hope for owning a cool old race car. Real can-am cars cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. That’s way more than I could ever justify paying for a toy.

The little PBS looks remarkably like it’s fire-breathing 7 liter monster big brothers but is powered by a high revving 1.3 liter engine. Very quick, responsive and I imagine very very loud.

It is currently used for vintage racing and I can’t imagine a better car for the job. This would be a blast to drive without the fear of chipping the fiberglass of a half-million dollar machine.

In SCCA terms, I believe this is a D Sports Racer which is the emotional successor to H Modified, which are my favorite race cars ever. I love race cars built to limiting rules. It requires the builders to use their imagination rather than cubic inches and piles of cash.

It’s funny how this thinking translates to other areas. In the world of RVing there is a huge dollar range from 10’s of thousands all the way up to million dollars rigs. The weird thing is, the smaller the rig, the better the layout, usually. For small RVs the builders have to put thought and creativity into getting all the essential pieces to function in a small package.

On the other hand, the million dollar machines have so much room that things are just thrown together hap-hazard. This wastes a lot of space. One side-effect of this is you have 50 foot rigs that only sleep 2 or 4 people and also have 25 foot rigs that sleep 6 or 8.

Sorry, off on a tangent. Anyway, as usual, I want this car but don’t have the money, garage space, etc.

Look at this on eBay

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Belly tanker of the beast on eBay

Who needs a belly tanker? I do.

belly tankerOK, I don’t need a belly tanker but I really really want one. Yes, the only places to drive it are many hundreds of miles away. So what? It’s cool and I want one. I can’t afford one but what does that have to do with anything?

For those of you who don’t know, a belly tanker is a airplane fuel tank that sat outside the plane’s main body. After WWII the mechanically hyperactive ex-military hot rodders discovered that they made great bodies for the all out speed wars happening out on the flats. Since the army didn’t need them anymore they could be had for cheap.

This particular example is not just a great example of a tank but is also powered by the ultimate early hot rod engine, the flathead V8. This was an engine simple in design and not overly amazing in performance. However its design was intended to be nearly indestructible.

This allowed the crazies to add ridiculously severe camshafts, pistons, ignitions, piles of carbs and even the occasional supercharger without blowing the block apart. (Well, sometimes.) Seriously, look at the pictures in the listing. You will see all kinds of what-the-hell-is-thats bolted on or around the engine.

Salt flat racing is an interesting tangent to the history of hot rodding. At first there was a lot of crossover between drag racing and the cars on the flats, but quickly the specialized needs of each discipline began excluding the other.

So if I were to buy this car what would I do with it? The biggest problem is that I not only don’t have a garage, I don’t even have a driveway. Perhaps I could rent a crane to lift it into my back yard. Invite my motorhead friends over for group tinkering. Maybe not.

Look at this on eBay

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Fruit and Memory – 100 words

Fruit and Memory

The field is full of fruit. It’s picking time. Fred wires the big speakers in the trees so the workers can listen to their music. The accordions remind him of the polkas he learned back in dancing school. Dusty Thursday nights where he learned which girls you could touch and where.

It wasn’t till he was in his 20’s that he learned that his gropings were not a secret to his parents and that this was their goal. Apparently they were worried that their poetry-loving little boy was headed down the wrong sexual path. Fred Smiles. They were so wrong.

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Quiet – 100 words

quiet pierSunset over the fishing boats. Where have all the sea lions gone? It’s so quiet you can hear the sheets slapping the masts in the breeze. No seagulls. No otters. A distant fog horn. No fog here.

The fishermen pack their things away weary and uneasy. They don’t talk much and seem guilty when they do. The beauty of the quiet had been broken. They have sinned.

The sun is now down. The men gone. The breeze has retired for the night. Even the ocean is unsettlingly still. As if the world has ground to gentle halt. Time to sleep.

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Some story arcs are flat, and that’s OK

Not all story arcs reach for the stars.

story  arcsSome story arcs are gently rolling hills and plateaus. Now I just have to get the inner critics to agree.

Here’s what led me to this train of thought; I was meditating and a worry cloud drifted in. My new novel is forming well but didn’t seem to be going anywhere. There was no big story climax on the horizon. Then I realized that’s OK. I’ve read and enjoyed many novels that had no car crashes or explosions.

Now that I’ve gotten over that for my current novel, I realize that was the problem with the recently abandoned novel as well. I was forcing all the characters into an artificial drama that even I couldn’t make sense of. I will however finish the current project before I go back to the other one.

The current novel is the story of a woman’s life. My attempts at plotting have concentrating on some big and explosive way for her to die at the end, but that just doesn’t fit the character or the message I think she is trying to send. Now I realize that she must die quietly and oldly to make her life complete. She is a survivor, so she must survive as long as humanly possible.

I attribute the desire the need for explosions and car chases to an inner critic I call The Manly Man. He thinks I have far too feminine an outlook on life. He’s one of those go big or go home kind of characters, but since he lives in my head he’s already home.

He is usually quieted by a vigorous bike ride and watching a Shakira video or two, but as I’ve managed lately to calm most of my other inner critics he’s gotten pushier. I think he enjoys the increased attention.

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