Saturday, May 26, 2018

Good old PhotoBucket®

“That’s as far as I get,” I said the other night.
Yrs Trly keeps his blog-photos at PhotoBucket®. “View-Source” the html for this blog, and you’ll see http’s to PhotoBucket for pictures I run.
It’s fairly reliable, but often it hangs. Like pictures won’t upload; they wouldn’t the other night. Or it won’t run at all = “Firefox can’t connect the web-address you gave. Maybe you mistyped or it’s your firewall.” Baloney! This rig ain’t firewalled, and I used a saved bookmark.
I imagine them poor techies at PhotoBucket pulling their hair trying to get it to work. “Give ‘em a night,” I say; “and it may work tomorry.” It usually does.
My http gets pictures previously uploaded. But if I can’t upload newbies, I can’t publish a blog with new pics.
PhotoBucket goes back 8-10 years. My wife and I switched to it because BlogSpot no longer crunched my pics. Stabbing around I found I could http to pics at PhotoBucket.
A guy I attended college with, more ‘pyooter-savvy than me, tells me PhotoBucket is evil. I guess his BlogSpot picture-app still works. The fact mine gave up proves I’m stupid and inferior.
And the fact I have the awful temerity, unmitigated gall, and horrific audacity (cue Sharpton) to claim I’m no longer the bumbling acolyte I was in college — which was 52 long years ago — is awful.
I drove transit bus, for crying out loud. That gave me experience dealing with blowhards. Compared to some of my bus clientele, this guy is angelic.
He then insisted I didn’t know what a pixel was. I drove a newspaper website for years. I sure as Hell know what a pixel is.
The fact I challenge him, instead of immediately kowtowing, is disgusting. Regrettably I’m no longer the dork I was in college. It’s my bus-driving. I was able to even shut down my father. I could tell stories. A dreadful childhood reversed by Regional Transit.
Google® is evil too — hot to control the entire universe. They’re gonna hafta uncurl my cold, dead fingers from the steering-wheel before I allow Google’s computers to drive my car.
I also hear sanctimonious blustering about Google, but my friend uses it. YouTube also. Computering’s axis-of-evil.

• My beloved wife died of cancer April 17th, 2012.
• For 16&1/2 years (1977-1993) I drove transit bus for Regional Transit Service (RTS) in Rochester, NY, a public employer, the transit-bus operator in Rochester and environs. My stroke October 26th, 1993 ended that. I retired on medical-disability. I recovered well enough to return to work at a newspaper; I retired from that over 12 years ago.


Friday, May 25, 2018

What were they thinking?

Fer cryin’ out loud!

Better yet, “What were they smokin’?”
Every time I see one of these travesties, I nearly throw up.
A friend of mine, ex of the Mighty Mezz, disputed my claiming the ’59 Olds was the ugliest car of all time.
UGLIEST car of all time.
Inspiration in college = 904 racer by Porsche. (Photo by BobbaLew.)
“It’s the Pontiac Aztek,” he exclaimed. Score one for him! —But even the Aztek looks good compared to this thing.
I admit as an old geezer I tilt toward cars I consider attractive. That is, not necessarily aero-friendly but pleasing to my eye. Go back far enough and the 904 Porsche was very attractive. I was drawing back then, and many of my cars had 904 styling cues.
Get a 904 up near 140, and it tries to fly. Racers grafted air-dams to counter that.
For a long time, up through the ‘30s, automotive styling was dictated by function. The passenger enclosure was the largest segment, with motor enclosure up front, and luggage enclosure behind. Often the “trunk” was an actual trunk. Wheels and tires were at the four corners separate from the enclosures.
Slowly this all melded such that tire enclosures became part of the motor and trunk boxes.
Humans still determined the largest segment of the car body. The motor and trunk could be small, but the car still had to enclose humans. Those humans sat erect, and had to be able to look out.
Stylists were trying to ram that large passenger box through the air. The driver also had to be able to see ahead.
Classic three-box styling evolved, perhaps best exemplified by the ’55 Chevy. Two boxes were at each end of the passenger box. One, at front, encased the motor and front wheels, and the box at the rear was the trunk and rear wheels.
The passenger box had to have glass windows above the other two boxes so passengers (and driver) could see over the front and rear boxes.
Automotive styling has since evolved such that the motor and trunk boxes melded into the passenger box. The front windshield can be extended far over the motor box, and the car can become fastback. All to make the car more aero-friendly.
Fastback a car and ya run into poor visibility. This Prius’ solution was to do glass below the fastback. Honda is doing that too. (Ugh!)
A more aerodynamic car shape has better gas-mileage — manufacturers are trying to meet stringent gumint-mandated mileage goals.
Cars became bars of soap. I look at what’s marketed now, and they all look the same. There are slight differences in motor air-intakes — the grillwork. Behind that they’re identical, although with differing taillights.
All if which is okay. I compare Chevrolet’s new Malibu to a Kia or Accord and they’re not repugnant.
The reason is tumblehome. Car styling wraps inward. It’s that bar-of-soap thing.
This new Prius doesn’t do that. It reminds of a dude with a purple-dyed Mohawk haircut. Fenders come to a point aiming outward. They got the wheels and tires looking like donut mini-spares.
Early Priuses weren’t too bad, but I wouldn’t touch this newbie with a 10-foot pole. And that’s even though hybrid auto technology is good.
Shelby Mustang, versus.....
Dodge Challenger.
I compare Ford’s new Mustang to the new Dodge Challenger. Mustang is the better car, but Challenger looks better. The Challenger is following muscle-car styling laid down in the late ‘60s and early ‘70s.
Mustang has independent-rear-suspension and a double-overhead-cam V8; the Challenger has neither. The Challenger also looks much less air-friendly than the Mustang.
But I’ll take the Challenger unless they graft Prius spikes to it.

• The “Mighty Mezz” is the Canandaigua Daily-Messenger newspaper, from where I retired over 12 years ago. Best job I ever had — I was employed there almost 10 years — over 11 if you count my time as a post-stroke unpaid intern. (I had a stroke October 26th, 1993, from which I recovered fairly well.) (“Canandaigua” is a small city nearby where I live in Western NY. The city is also within a rural town called “Canandaigua.” The name is Indian, and means “Chosen Spot.” —It’s about 14 miles away.)
• My drawing ability, which was fairly good, was lost with my stroke.


Tuesday, May 22, 2018

At long last......

My peripheral keyboard is in front. (iPhone photo by BobbaLew.)

My ancient Apple keyboard, which came with my long-ago G4 tower, needs to be replaced.
Blame Rodney Dangerfield. The keyboard didn’t just quit. I upchucked on it laughing at a YouTube Dangerfield video. Dangerfield was being interviewed by Jay Leno, and had Leno hiding under his desk, expressing fear his show would be taken off the air.
All-of-a-sudden ULP!
All over the spacebar, splat-key, option, etc. Also some of the nearest typewriter keys: “N,” “M,” “B,” and “V.”
“Splat-V” is a hot-key = “paste.” (There goes that function.)
I tried to sop it up. I’d let it dry overnight, and hope it still worked.
Thankfully I have an alternative: this laptop’s keyboard. The ancient keyboard was peripheral. I was using it because it’s faster.
Wireless? Are you kidding? That keyboard is probably 20-25 years old. Its hard-wired to a laptop USB port, plus my mouse is also hard-wired. Hardly state-of-the-art, but they did what I wanted.
My mouse used to be USB-ed into that keyboard; now it’s USB-ed directly into this laptop.
What got regurgitated was chocolate, a gooey brown slurry. I wiped it up with paper-towels, dabbing between the keys.
Why thank you, Rodney — “I don’t get no respect.”
I couldn’t think of Dangerfield’s last name, so cranked “I don’t get no respect” into YouTube.
Fabulous videos; Leno et al duck-and-cover. How could I resist?
By so doing my ancient G4 keyboard became toast. Maybe I should join the 21st century, and start using my laptop’s keyboard, plus its swipe-pad. I do when I fly and can’t take my peripherals.
But my peripherals are faster. That silly swipe-pad is an impediment. I may go wireless for a mouse, but there will be a mouse.

• The “Splat” key is Apple’s “Command” key. It also is called the “pretzel key,” or “propeller key.” It also is the “Bowen knot (⌘).” My good friend Anmari Linardi, ex of the Mighty Mezz, calls it “The Splat key,” and I prefer that. “The Splat key” may only be Apple Computer, but I think Windows PCs also have a “Command” key. Apple’s “Splat key, ” together with other keyboard keys, executes specific computer shortcuts, which I use a lot.


Sunday, May 20, 2018


1956 Cadillac El Dorado. (Photo by Dan Lyons©.)

—In 1956, when Yr Fthfl Srvnt was only 12, my paternal grandfather and I ventured off Atlantic City’s boardwalk into the entryway of Steel Pier. Steel Pier, once home of the “high-diving horse,” still exists. It became an amusement-park eons ago, and was set to become a casino, but couldn’t get approvals.
Unlike many ocean piers in Atlantic City, it was built on steel pilings with concrete substructure. Which supposedly made it fire-resistant, although it had numerous fires.
Parts washed away in storms, but it’s always been rebuilt. “Miss America” used to be crowned on Steel Pier, and it hosted many music stars. I also remember a movie where Rodney Dangerfield was driving toward Steel Pier to see the “high-diving horse.” They muffed depiction of Steel Pier.
I think you had to pay admission to Steel Pier, but only past the entryway, which was being used as an exhibit for General Motors cars.
One of these “Eldos” was front-and-center on a rotating display table. I was smitten, as I was by GM’s tailfin styling at that time, prompted by Lockheed’s P-38 Lightning fighter-plane.
Except the El Dorado went beyond that. It had actual fins, as if they’d stabilize a speeding Caddy.
The May 2018 entry in my Tide-mark “Cars of the Fab ‘50s” calendar is a 1956 Cadillac El Dorado Seville.
My paternal grandfather was into Packards. But by 1956 Packard was pretty much toast. The premier luxo-barge was no longer Packard, it was GM’s Cadillac.
My paternal grandmother wasn’t into either. As a Depression victim, she was intensely practical. Automobiles were just a way of getting around. For that a mere Chevrolet would do. Luxo-barges were posturing.
My grandfather attained a Packard, but only their el-cheapo six-in-line, about 1936 or so. Used of course. My grandmother was probably appalled, much as she was when one of her sons chose Fords.
So Fords were speedier than Chevys: “SO WHAT? Disgusting, I tell ya!”
So here we were in Steel Pier’s entryway, my grandfather and I, in awe of Caddy’s Eldo.
In college I drove a majestic 1955 Cadillac four-door sedan. It was owned by the guy who owned my sophomore-year rooming-house. He worked in the college kitchen.
One night he suggested we order pizza, which I’d get in his Caddy. It was snowing mightily, a blizzard.
“Sy,” I said — his name was “Sy;” I can’t remember his last name. “Are you sure? I don’t wanna wreck yer Caddy.”
“You won’t;” so off I went, me behind the gigantic steering-wheel of that Caddy. I cruised to the pizza joint, and couldn’t resist pedal-to-the-metal driving back.
The Caddy’s back-end began a ponderously slow side-step in the snow, easy to correct. I returned placidly to Sy’s house.
No wonder Sy loved that Caddy. Even I, a sportscar junkie, was impressed. Completely insulated from the blizzard outside.
Is Cadillac making anything like that any more? Nope! Bloated, tail-finned luxo-barges are done. The last luxo-Cadillacs were into the ‘80s.
Cadillac had to redefine itself, and did I guess. Except they lost me as a potential customer. Now the megabuck luxo brands are Mercedes and BMW — and wannabees from Lexus, Infinity, and Acura.
Hear “Lexus” and I think “gussied-up Toyota;” “AUDI is a gussied-up Volkswagen.”
Cadillac prompted similar: “gussied-up Chevrolet,” and it’s interesting the most successful Chevys looked like Cadillacs.
Despite that Sy’s Caddy would be more pleasant to drive than a recent Beemer or Merc.


Thursday, May 17, 2018

Rochester & Sodus Bay Railway

In the trench.

The other day I finished a booklet (above) by William Reed Gordon about Rochester & Sodus Bay Railway.
Rochester & Sodus Bay was only a trolley-line, more precisely an interurban, using cars somewhat larger and faster than city trolleys. The cars were electrically powered by overhead wire.
Rochester & Sodus Bay wasn’t as serious as railroading can be. Grades were often too steep for serious railroading, plus track curvature also tended to be extreme.
Anything by William Reed Gordon is not scholarly. Gordon was a railfan heavily into trolleys. I have many of his books. Most are collections of trolley-based arcana only marginally organized.
Gordon once worked for Rochester & Sodus Bay. The booklet is his most organized. There are numerous ancient photographs of trolleys seemingly unrelated to text.

Along the old Ridge Road.

What text there is was cribbed from old newspaper stories, and interviews with ex-Rochester & Sodus Bay workers.
First was a railroad to an amusement park on Irondequoit Bay. The bay was once the outlet of the Genesee River, but ice-age glaciers rerouted that river.
The bay still exists, but that amusement park is long-gone. Railroad was built from where the bus-barns are now on East Main Street in Rochester down to that amusement park.
Not much of that right-of-way still exists, but my wife and I traced it on bicycle years ago. We followed that right-of-way from the bus-barns to what is now Empire Boulevard — it was Clifford Street then.
That railroad was steam narrow-gauge at first, but converted to electrically-powered standard-gauge interurban cars.
From Empire the right-of-way is pretty much obliterated, but down near the bay the watery trench it traveled is still there. That defile was probably there in the first place, and now it’s returning to as it was before the railroad. There used to be houses, but they’re gone.

To left is the amusement park; to right is toward Sodus.

Promoters decided to extend the railroad east. A junction was put in near the amusement park. Railroad to the amusement park remained, but past the junction the railroad climbed out of Irondequoit defile, then went east through West Webster and Webster toward Sodus.
Residents didn’t expect the railroad to get past Webster, but it did. All the way to Sodus, then Sodus Point north of Sodus Bay: 41.12 miles.
Gordon included a newspaper article containing the hoary chestnut about evil Henry Ford and his Model-T putting interurbans out of business. But to me other things were at play.
—1) Railroading was such a success at first because it gave reliable footing to wheels. Roads, which were dirt, rutted when wet, and often became sloughs of despond. Wagons bogged down in the ruts, especially the mud.
Railroad track, though confining, rendered excellent footing to wheels. Shipping became slam-dunk. Every town wanted a railroad.
Now roads are much better. They’re paved, no longer the dirt that mired wheels.
Railroads can still ship incredible tonnage. You can’t trailer 120 trailer-bodies on a highway — highways aren’t fixed guideways like railroad track.
And 120 tons of coal, the current capacity of a single railroad coal-car, would collapse the highway.
But highways have the advantage portal-to-portal. With railroad one has to build a siding to a nearby railroad. This limits location.
And roads became prolific. The fact they’re paved means heavy loads can be shipped.
—2) Railroad shipping has to be wherever the railroad goes. No longer are railroads shipping small quantities of freight. Railroads are now shipping gigantic quantities of similar freight, e.g. long trains loaded with automobiles, 15,000 tons of coal, unit-trains entirely of crude-oil, ethanol or grain, or hundreds of double-stacked freight containers from overseas or domestic shipping.
Small freight shipments were turned over to trucking, which is more flexible anyway. Factories no longer locate next to a railroad; they rely on trucking. Many old railroad branch-lines were abandoned or turned over to gumint authorities. What remains are the main stems moving vast quantities of similar freight.
Paved roads are now in places that easily bypass railroading.
This also happens moving people. All I hafta do is buy and maintain an automobile, and I can drive from my garage directly to my destination.
Factor in railroading, and I complicate. Fort Lauderdale, FL, would mean -a) getting to the railroad, and -b) being picked up or renting a car in Fort Lauderdale. Theoretically I could drive directly to my niece’s house in Fort Lauderdale.
Gordon has a point — rumor has it General Motors bought all the trolley services to better market its buses.
Uhm, track for those trolleys is privately maintained; right-of-way for buses is public; it’s not maintained by the transit company. Plus, a trolley can’t detour, or just go around an accident. It follows the track.
For Old Henry to make a killing, there had to be a market. Portal-to-portal is much more attractive, and highways are much better now than when the Model-T was engineered.
Rochester & Sodus Bay ended in 1929. By then Ridge Road was improved.
When I began driving bus in 1977, we still ran bus-service to Sodus. That was probably per the franchise for Rochester & Sodus Bay Railway. Regional Transit Service, my employer, succeeded Rochester Transit Corporation, which succeeded New York State Railways, which came to include Rochester & Sodus Bay Railway.
Hundreds of times I drove bus to Webster, the location of Xerox. My route was that of Rochester & Sodus Bay Railway east of Irondequoit Bay, but never as far as Sodus. Only Webster — it was 3005, Transit-readers.
3005 was a pleasant ride, especially in apple-blossom season. Rochester & Sodus Bay was also called “the Apple-Blossom route.” It passed many apple orchards. That picture of the railroad next to Ridge Road appears to be next to an apple orchard.

• The “Genesee River” is a fairly large river that runs south-to-north across Western New York, runs through Rochester, including over falls, and empties into Lake Ontario. Its valley was our nation’s first bread-basket — it had a canal that fed into the Erie Canal in Rochester. Grain was also milled in Rochester with water-power.
• RE: “the bus-barns.....” —For 16&1/2 years (1977-1993) I drove transit bus for Regional Transit Service (RTS) in Rochester, NY, a public employer, the transit-bus operator in Rochester and environs. My stroke October 26th, 1993 ended that. I retired on medical-disability. I recovered well enough to return to work at a newspaper; I retired from that over 12 years ago. “The Barns” were where buses were stored inside.


Sunday, May 13, 2018

“Unannounced and unexplained”

Yrs Trly, despite advancing age, has a Facebook.
I don’t do much with it, unlike my younger siblings. Although one sibling refuses to have one. His wife does.
I consider the fact I have one the result of a Facebook fast-one. “In order to befriend someone, you have to have a Facebook of your own.”
Little knowing the import of that, I inadvertently set up my own Facebook. It suggested “friends.” I befriended many Messenger newspaper contacts, most of whom never amounted to anything.
That was years ago, when Facebook was fairly simple. now it’s so complicated, it would take years to fully understand.
Most of my Messenger “friends” have since been unfriended. How I did this I have no idea.
My siblings began using Facebook to communicate. Some time ago my nephew and his wife had a baby, and I never knew about it for three months. E-mail, telephone: no. Facebook only, so being an old geezer it’s my fault. Announcement was probably in my news-feed. But since I rarely look at it, dark for you, baby!
Did my non-Facebook brother know? Probably. His Facebook wife would tell him. My wife probably accessed that feed too, but she’s gone. The fact I rarely fire up Facebook makes me rebellious and stupid.
My own Facebook profile-page displays 89 bazilyun “friend” suggestions, most with one “mutual friend.” That’s probably my Rochester niece’s daughter, who seems to have “friended” the entire population of north Jersey.
Well, maybe not. But at least all the scantily-clad soap vixens from daytime TV. Probably not, but most I don’t know.
I have 59 Facebook “friends.” Not many, about the same number as my actual friends. Among these Facebook “friends” are people I never hear from. Maybe they’ve shut me out — however that is done. But I’m more inclined to think many walked away from their Facebooks.
My wife died six years ago and my sister died before her. Both their Facebooks are still going.
So, how do I “unfriend” contacts I never hear from? I got better things to do, but I fired up YouTube for videos about “Facebook unfriend.”
I fired one up the other night; I haven’t “unfriended” anyone yet. Yada-yada-yada-yada, then “this video was made in 2012,” the instructor said; “and we all know how Facebook likes to change things” (“unannounced and unexplained,” I add. After which you figger it out: = “try-it-and-see-what-happens”).
I could tell stories: e.g. Facebook ads with balloon-breasted hussies targeted to my profile-page all because my age makes me a “dirty-old-man.”
One Facebook “friend” suggestion came after Suckerbird and his cronies secretly plumbed my iPhone contact-list. A while ago I tried to find the Facebook of a high-school female classmate. I got acres of deep cleavage clearly not my classmate. Was that a result of Facebook’s many slut wannabees, or targeted friend suggestions because of my age?
“I’m not into Facebook,” a real friend says.
Two of my college-graduate friends also refuse to have Facebooks. “Real friends are much better,” they say. I agree.
An actual friend suggests Facebook is for those lacking a life. Since when do 4,000 Facebook “friends” constitute worth?
My non-Facebook brother may have the better idea.

• The “Messenger newspaper” is the Canandaigua Daily-Messenger, from where I retired over 12 years ago. Best job I ever had — I was employed there almost 10 years — over 11 if you count my time as a post-stroke unpaid intern. (I had a stroke October 26th, 1993, from which I recovered fairly well.) (“Canandaigua” is a small city nearby where I live in Western NY. The city is also within a rural town called “Canandaigua.” The name is Indian, and means “Chosen Spot.” —It’s about 14 miles away.)
• My wife died of cancer April 17th, 2012. I still miss her. She was the best friend I ever had.


Friday, May 11, 2018

“What is it?”

18N on Barree Straight-line. (Photo by Sam Wheland.)

—My brother and I had a fevered discussion about this photograph. That’s because it’s on Barree Straight-line, which is in the area we photograph trains.
The May 2018 entry in my Norfolk Southern Employees’ Photography-Contest calendar is a Norfolk Southern auto-rack train on Barree Straight-line.
We’ve been there, but the other end. It’s near Altoona, east of Tyrone. My brother and I got familiar with what trains we’ll see, especially my brother.
So “Hey Jack. What train do you think this is?”
“11J,” he said.
“I don’t think so. It’s morning; the fog hasn’t lifted yet. 11J is afternoon, and westbound. This train looks eastbound to me. It’s at the other end of Barree Straight-line; we never shot there.”
My brother is management. He manages electricity generation in the Boston area. Unfortunately I’m a retired Irish bus-driver, so I don’t cave easily.
“How about 27N? That’s early morning.”
“27N is westbound too” (odd are westbound). “This looks like it was shot off a highway overpass. There may be a signal-bridge at the west end of Barree Straight-line; all there is is a grade-crossing. If there’s a signal-bridge, Wheland had to climb it, and there are barriers.”
So what other eastbound auto-racks are morning? 36A often has auto-racks, but it’s not solid auto-racks. This train looks solid.
18N in Gallitzin. (Photo by Jack Hughes.)
I called my railfan friend in Altoona — he knows everything. “18N” he suggested. My brother shot 18N in Gallitzin a few years ago. We knew it was 18N because the train’s engineer called out a nearby signal, and we heard that on our railroad-radio scanners.
The west end of Barree Straight-line is just that grade-crossing into tiny Barree. But there is a highway overpass at the east end.
A track supervisor named “Pearson” rode the line from Tyrone to Barree in his Chevy pickup track-mobile. He stopped to check us out. I had my tripod set up trackside.
“What are you guys doing?” he asked.
“Livin’ the dream,” my brother exclaimed. “We’re waiting for 04T (Amtrak’s eastbound Pennsylvanian),” I added; “and C42 (a local) just passed.”
These guys are serious. I doubt they’ll do anything stupid.”
He left us alone. “Move if you have to.” “Already did,” I said. “They drove around us.”