My cars - Phase II - and my night in jail

After admitting the impracticality of my Simca Cinq and it ran into some severe engine trouble I decided to get a full-sized car. The '40 Chevy was still on my parents property in Stormville, ran and used there a bit, but wasn't licensed. So I bought a used 1953 (I think) Pontiac in about 1957.

During the summer ('57 or '58 I think) when I was working as a camp counselor in Maine one night I and a few other counselors drove into Lewiston, Maine (~ 20 miles away) for pizza. On the way home I got into a minor accident hitting another car in an intersection (not clear who was at fault). My car wasn't drivable so it had to be towed. The police took us to the Police Station and when we were done I called the camp but no-one answered the phone (it was close to midnight). The cops asked what we were going to do and our reply was we'd try to hitch a ride back to camp. They said if you do we'll arrest you since hitchiking is illegal, but you can spend the night in a jail cell and we won't book you. And so we did! As I recall there were four of us and there were at least that many cots and no-one else was there. The door wasn't locked. In the morning we called camp and someone came to pick us up.

The car got repaired and was drivable but the frame was a bit twisted so soon after I got back home I bought another car - a ~54 Dodge. My fuzzy memory says that it had some engine problems and I then used a spare car my father had - I think it was a Ford.

In the spring term of 1962 I had gotten tired of grad school and my attempts to be a physicist and having taken a computer programming course in the fall term plus several that term I decided it was time to get a job in the computer industry. And with a job I could get a new car and decided on a 1962 MG-A. I had a great interview at Honeywell and got a verbal offer at the interview. On the way home I stopped at a bank and got a loan application. A few days later I received the written offer, accepted it and set a starting date in June. So I went out and ordered my new car. Took out the loan (better deal than financing through the dealer). And soon I had my bright red MG-A.

That spring term and during the summer I had been living in a rented room near MIT but often spent the night on the couch in a friend's room in Baker House at MIT - and had my own bed there during the summer. I and two other friends found an apartment in Belmont and we moved in late summer or September.

One of those people, Roger, had won an MG-Sprite in a contest, and the other, Doug, bought a Triumph TR-3. They were all red so in our backyard parking area there were 3 red sports cars. Several years later I replaced my MG-A (it was having not serious, but annoying and not properly fixable engine troubles) with a red 1964 MG-B. (An amusing thing ablout the MG-A was that the carburator and ignition control were on the left side of the engine and there was a linkage to the right side because it was a right-side drive car for England; the US verion had a linkage from the rignt side linkage back to the left side to acomodate the left-side drive version.) Roger moved away and his "replacement", Mac, had a green VW beetle. - so no more 3 red sports cars in our backyard.

Listening to records on Christmas day

We normally have WQXR or WCRB on listening to classical music in the background but since we were tired of Christmas music and too much talking so I decided to listen to some of our records. We have many of them. Last year we listened to one and for a number of years it was none. Of course we also have lots of CDs that we rarely listen to.

Yesterday it was 15 of them in a pretty broad range of genres. Not in the exact order but close:

Christmas in the New World by The Western World - North and Latin American Christmas music

Palestrina: Missa Hodie Christus Natus Est & Six Motets - King's College Choir

A Ceremony of Carols and other Britten - Robert Shaw Chorale

Long Time Ago - The Quadrivium, an early music group that I was a member of and one of the performers in this record.

Don Alfonso the Wise, Music of Medieval Spain -Trio Live Oak, a "spin-off" from the Quadrivium

A Coat of Many Colors , Songs of the Sephardim, Vol II by Voice of the Turtle, another Quadrivium "spin-off"

Musica Antiqua Slovac - Prague Madrigalists

Jacob Obrecht, Pierre de la Rue Motetten - ProCantione Antiqua

Harp of Joy - The Chancel Choir of Plymoth Church, Shaker Heights

A boy was born - The Boston Cecilia Chorus; Robert was a member and on this record

Turkey, songs and dances of Turkey - singers and ensembles of Radio Ankara

Goofing-Off Suite - Pete Seeger

Demolition Derby - Sandy Bull (only listened to a couple of cuts of this)

Greenhouse - Leo Kottke (side one only)

Abbey Road - Beatles

My cars - phase I

When I was a little kid my parents had a 1941 Buick; it was one of the last cars that you could buy before the war started. After the war they got a 1946 Buick and in 1952 got a Chevy station wagon.

In my junior year in High School - spring 1955 - I took Driver Ed and got a New York junior Driver's licence. You could only drive alone in daylight - otherwise a licenced driver was needed to be present and you couldn't drive in NYC at all. Although normally you had to be 18 to have a full licence but because I took Driver Ed I could get one when I turned 17. We lived in NYC, but had a summer house in Dutchess County. I bought my own first car - a 1940 Chevy and could drive it around there. And after I got my full license I drove it to school once in awhile and had it at the summer camp in Maine where I was a counselor. I did lots of maintenance on the car and painted it. I took Auto Mechanics in High School which helped.

My next car, bought in 1956, was a 1947 Simca Cinq - French version of the Fiat 500 called a Topolino. Part of my motivation was that my Physics and Auto Mechanics teacher, Ray Darby, had one it seemed to be a really cool car. A very impractical car. a trunk not big enough for a sutcase, and the space behind the seats was so small so that if you went grocery shopping and had a passenger there wasn't really enough room for the bags. But I really liked it. The windshield wipers were hand operated as were the directional signal flags and I don't remember if it even had a gas guage.. It wasn't very powerful and you had to shift down several gears when going up a hill. Once when driving on an uphill portion of the Taconic State Parkway a cop stopped me and said I was going too slow and should take another route. It did get 50 MPG. I did some maintenance on it also.

I don't seem to have any pictures of mine.

Birch Tree removal

Today we had a birch tree removed. It was dying from the top and started doing so last year. Whwn we acquired the house in 1978 it was a couple of feet tall.

The birds who nest on our porch will be disappointed since some of the branches were nearby.

Before and after:

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More MetOpera broadcasts that we watched

Since May 18 we have watched 26 evenings of MetOpera streams. 27 operas since one night had two of them. That is in addition to the 22/23 we had watched before. And more to come. Although in 3 weeks from now we will have probably have the nightly showing of the RedSox opera.

Mozart: Idameneo
Wagner: Lohengrin
Mozart: Don Giovanni
Gounod: Faust
Berlioz: La Damnation de Faust
Verdi: Ernani
Bellini: La Somnambula
Strauss: Salume
Gluck: Orfeo ed Euiridice
Puccini: Tosca
Adés: The Exterminating Angel
Verdi: Otello
Tchaikovski: Iolanta / Bartók: Bluebeard's Castle
Corigliano: The Ghosts of Versailles
Handel: Rodelinda
Gluck: Iphigéni en Tauride
Verdi: La Forza del Destino
Verdi: La Traviata
Saint-Saens: Samson et Delila
Massenet: Manon
Massenet: Cendrilla
Mozart: Die Zauberflöte
Wagner: Die Walkũre
Shostakovitch: The Nose
Bizet: Carmen
Mozart: Don Giovanni
with camera

Southern Africa Trip recap

It's hard to believe that it was 5 months ago when we returned from our Southern Africa trip. It was a Road Scholars trip, our first one, with a bit of time on our own on the way.

We started out with two days/one night in London and went to some museums and popular sites.

Then we flew to Johannesburg and spent a couple of days there - visiting among other places, the Apartheid Museum and Constitution Hill - some very interesting history explained there - especially with what is happening here now.

The we flew to CapeTown to join the tour. We had an excellent very knowledgable guide for the trip - a native Southern African (white) who gave us lots of information in small spurts and a few formal lectures. After several days we flew to Pretoria, spent a short time there and then embarked on a 3 day luxury train trip to Victoria Falls. I've always wanted to see it. There were various short safaris in vans and boats sprinkled througouht the trip. We got to see lots of animals - some in the distance and some up close - we did go to an elephant spot where we got to touch them.

We'll definitely do more Road Scholar trips when it is possible to travel again - just got a new catalog - mostly US trips.

So we got to add three countries to our list: South Africa, Zimbabwe, and Botswana. (On previous trips we were in Egypt, Kenya, and Tanzania.)