Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Funkengroovin Wednesday - Around The Hood



22nd of June, 2008

Today, VB includes a excerpt from a commentary by Garrison Keillor of A Prairie Home Companion fame.
The motor home fades into the sunset
"There's nothing like having the freedom of the road and the comforts of home. But $5 gas is pushing the fantasy of comfortable vagabondage to the wall."

"Nonetheless it's sad to see the motor home fade into the sunset. I used to despise them when I was a canoeist, of course. You paddle up to a campground at the end of a hard day and see a few R.V.s parked there, the air conditioners rumbling, the flickering blue light of the TVs in the windows, and as you set up your tent as far from them as possible, you feel a moral grandeur purer than you will ever feel again. A holy Christian pilgrim among the piggish heathen.

The fantasy of comfortable vagabondage lies deep within each one of us, though, and once, 30 years ago, driving a GMC motor home around western Minnesota, I fell under the spell. To have the freedom of the road and the comforts of home -- your own books on the shelf, your clothes in a drawer, your brand of beer in the fridge -- is an aristocratic privilege and I was happy to give up moral grandeur for a couple weeks and enjoy it."

And, if you are still on the road, regardless of gasoline prices, you just might bump into a truck stop that offers a place to pray: "To the Rev. Shannon Rust, a diesel-soaked lot alongside a truck stop in Pennsylvania is a parish ideal for preaching to the traveling masses about life’s ultimate arrival."

(Below): Yellow food delivery van, at nearby neighborhood (Maadi, Cairo) restaurant.

(Below): Caught this Bug while the owner was at the neighborhood McDonald's eating lunch. As the owner drove away, VB yelled out, "nice car!" - He then stalled, while waving "good-bye".

VB is still in Connecticut.

(Assume all links not only have full articles, but photos as well, since just about all of them do!)

Remember the question and answer section from the Freakonomics Blog at the New York Times, from last week's post? Well, more on why traffic safety measures aren't really that safe.
"Why stop signs and speed limits endanger Americans": Distracting Miss Daisy

Mexico City putting green Beetles on endangered list
"Mexico City’s government has implemented new requirements for taxis that will force drivers to replace the VW taxis with four-door cars. Officials estimate that nearly two-thirds of all the city’s cabs are Beetles, but up to a third of those will be retired this year."

‘Carbecue’ a hit at parties around county

Death Of The S.U.V. -- Why Now?
"Fuel prices are not killing the S.U.V. A reversal in mass social mood is, as described in detail by the July 2006 Elliott Wave Theorist’s special, two-part study titled “Social Mood and Automobile Stylings.” In this fascinating report, editor Mark Galasiewski drives home the following insights:

"Cars reflect the spirit of their times…During periods of rising social mood [as reflected by rising stock prices]” cars take on more “angular styles, boxier frames, wider windows. As the mood rises toward excess, consumers also demand more room, bigger engines, and more sophisticated stylings, prompting designers to push the limits of length, width and height."

Conversely: A falling mood will see cars built of "simpler styling and smaller capacities” and for “increasing efficiency.”
(S.U.V. + R.I.P. = B.E.A.R. In the June 4, 2008 Socio Times post, editor Pete Kendall reveals the historic link between a slump in S.U.V. sales and a bear market in stocks. Access to Pete’s analysis is available via a risk-free subscription to Elliott Wave Financial Forecast. Learn More.)"

"To reinforce his analysis, Mark surveyed the past 85 years of automotive history, covering almost three complete cycles in the stock market. The correlation between a rising mood and muscle cars, and falling mood and minis is unswerving. To wit:
1921-1929, Bull Market: Ever wonder where the phrase, “It’s a doozy” comes from? The “Duesenberg J.” Debuted 1928. The prototype for the large, boxy, high-performance vehicle.
1929-1949, Bear Market: “Flash and dash” no longer sold. Focus on simplicity and economy. The “Coupe” is born. 1938: Volkswagen Beetle began production as Hitler’s “People’s Car.”

Volkswagen lovers show off their Bugs, (Photo gallery here)
"As some Ozarkers itch and scratch as the chiggers come out, people like Rick Hirsch are bitten by a different bug.

Or Bug, in Hirsch's case.

Hirsch's ride was among Volkswagens displayed around the VFW Post 639 on South Scenic Avenue for the 14th annual June Bug Jamboree put on by the General Registry of Ozarks Volkswagen Enthusiasts -- GROOVE."

The Who Magic Bus to make a Special Appearance at CamperJam
"This year, van lovers visiting CamperJam will have the chance to see and buy tickets to win a special 1965 ‘split-screen’ Transporter known as The Who Magic Bus. CamperJam is a weekend event dedicated to owners and lovers of Volkswagen vans and will be held in the beautiful parkland of Weston Park, Staffordshire from 20-22 June."

VW camper owners rejoice! Vanfest and CamperJam are coming
"Fans of Volkswagens legendary campervans get ready: Vanfest, the worlds largest gathering of campervans, is near (if you happen to call Britain your home).

If you can't wait until September, another camper gathering called CamperJam will take place next weekend. In addition to the hundreds of expected campers, the smaller show will feature The Who's special edition 1965 'split-screen' camper that will be raffled for charity."

Help find Worthing woman's beloved campervan
"Vicki, of Grand Avenue, was left with 70 per cent burns to her body after the gas cooker inside the campervan she was travelling around Australia in burst into flames in 1999.

The whole van was engulfed in flames while Vicki, who was 24 at the time, was inside.

Despite being left in intensive care, Vicki made an amazing recovery and went on to buy another campervan when she returned to England."

"The Crichton Estate is the spectacular setting for an outdoor performance by the touring company of Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre, which features a cast of eight, a VW camper van and minimal props."

No matter what his mode of transport, Burgess finds Egypt a tricky place to navigate
"In fact, I almost didn’t make it to Cairo at all. After a nightmarish struggle to get a visa at the Taba border crossing, I was escorted to my Cairo ride. “Not an ordinary car, sir,” the agent assured me. “It’s a limo.”

Which translated as a VW wagon with Tweety Bird headrests. My driver’s name was, yes, Kamal."

Kombi passion on show
"Hosted by Klub VW and The Kombi Club, and sponsored by Kombis in Paradise and The Bus Stop, the event attracted Kombi-lovers in their droves last year and organisers are not expecting any different this year.

John Kupsch from Kombis in Paradise said interest had only grown.

"It gets bigger each year and we could have anywhere between 1000 and 2000 cars at the show," he said.

Mr Kupsch said there had been a resurgence in interest in the humble Kombi.

"Within the last five years there has been a boom in people wanting Kombis," he said."

"If you have attained midlife or better, you remember "Magic Bus" by the Who. A number of years ago, I bought my own. It wasn't magic when I bought it, of course. Magic is not purchased. "Bus Magic" is like a tattoo. My favorite tattoo artist once said "You don't buy a tattoo, you EARN it." I think he was referring to the discomfort.

Yes, in a very simple way, the bus IS magic. It works some of its magic on the people inside it, and some of it on the people outside it."

Do you know how Ben & Jerry's Ice Scream got started?
The food chain: How big business bought up the ethical market
"All of the brands mentioned above, for instance, are now owned by big business empires. Green & Black's, maker of gourmet high-cocoa bars, is owned by Cadbury, the makers of mass-market, low-cocoa bars. Ben & Jerry's groovy, often highly political, ice-creams belong to the Anglo-Dutch household-goods giant Unilever. Rachel's Organics, a big organic dairy brand, is owned by the US's largest dairy company, Dean Foods, which produces 2bn gallons of conventional milk a year.

In 2000, Unilever scooped up Ben & Jerry's, whose funky flavours include Cherry Garcia and Bohemian Raspberry, for £175m.

Greenfield, a 57-year-old millionaire social entrepreneur, is wondering whether he could have done anything to halt the sale of the hippie ice-cream empire he and his schoolfriend, Ben Cohen, started in 1977 after he had failed to get into medical school for the second time and his friend had been fired from a series of low-paid jobs.

They took a correspondence course in ice-cream making, bought a dilapidated shop and starting selling scoops of their ice-cream out of the back of a VW camper-van. Their company had ideals....

Food brands are divvied up between a handful of big players, who have economies of scale and negotiating power with the Big Four supermarket chains, who, in turn, between them control 76 per cent of grocery shopping."

Local artists paint VW buses for beer
"Thirteen Seattle artists are among the creative crew contributing to Pacifico Beer's latest promotional campaign."

On the Job Training: Chuck hires on as a farmhand
"Trust me when I say that the first day this summer to see the mercury hit 90 was the perfect time to visit Murray Hill Farm in Clarkfield Township and work for owners Chuck and Suzy Murray, who also raise Navajo-Churro sheep on their Huron County spread. Perfect, that is, if you like sweat and pain."

"Did I mention that the Murrays, who found each other a couple of years ago during a St. Patrick's Day celebration, are into organics? Oh, they use fertilizers and such, but these folks are old hippies. Especially Suzy, who once lived in the artist-rich community of Las Cruces, N.M. That's why when you visit the farmers market at Kamm's Corners this summer, you'll likely see their special delivery vehicle: a beautifully restored 1972 VW van, complete with flowers, Grateful Dead stickers and peace signs."

From Jalopnik, an interview with many photos: Algae Powered VW Van

Alice Cooper - School's out 1972


  1. $4.30+ in Seattle these days. I'm in Minnesota this week-Garrison exaggerates a bit: $3.99

  2. Here in CT it ranges around your Seattle prices, but up the road, in Agawam, MA the price is about 12-15 cents cheaper.