On Winning the 1975 Pinewood Derby

If you’re a Cub Scout, there’s a yearly reckoning waiting for you — the Pinewood Derby — where you get to build your own race car out of wood and plastic and nails and race it down a track to see how fast your mind and hands are in the creation of something separate and spectacular that you cannot control. You build it and let it run away from you.  I had some success with the Pinewood Derby, as I share here:

As a Cub Scout in Lincoln, Nebraska David Boles entered, and won the Pinewood Derby. In 1973, igniting the fighting Fireball , he came in second place. In 1974, riding The Phantom, he did not place, likely due to the air-sucking quality of the jaw-like bat mouth. In 1975 — flying the Spirit of ’76 — he won First Place as the Grand Champion, even though race officials drilled out an ounce of golden lead weight from his undercarriage! Here are the requisite beauty shots of those historic racing fascinations.

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Moving Boxes and Boxes of Kittens

Big boxes, little boxes, round boxes, wooden boxes, plastic boxes, crates, chests and of course a suitcase or four, plastic bags a plenty and of course a kitten or five — yes it is official — we are on the move.  Official tenancy starts 1st June — we have until 31st May to pack up the contents of the house — that is my job — and all the agricultural equipment, a dead car or two plus all the tools and spares and their housing as well as our tractor. There is also a garage to clear — thank goodness that is his job!

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Gender Rules for Crossing the Street

I walk everywhere.  Not needing to have a car is a blessing of living on the East Coast.  Janna walks everywhere, too. Sometimes, we walk together — and therein lies the rub when it comes to combining our love of walking — because we usually have trouble crossing the street.

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Do Not Sunbathe in the Middle of the Road

Being a parent is really difficult as far as jobs go, and it doesn’t get much easier for quite awhile — I imagine that my mother would argue that she is still on the job nearly thirty-five years later. There is so much advice to be given to children, much of which has to be repeated over and over again until it sinks in and has some meaning to the child. Make sure to put on sunscreen when you lay out in the sun, for example. Even the best sunscreen is not a perfect protection against the sun and you will eventually get a sunburn. Oh, and then there is the piece of advice that most parents never think that they will have to give their children but apparently is sometimes quite necessary — don’t sunbathe in the middle of the road or you may just get struck by a vehicle.

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Futile Button Mashing in New York

When I was growing up in New Jersey, I would dream of one day driving a car and being able to go wherever I wanted. I knew that it would be years before I would actually be able to steer and control an actual car but there was a way in which I could exert some kind of power over not just one car but many cars at once — the crosswalk button at most intersections.
Pressing that button gave me a dramatic injection of power and, as I have now learned, a dose of unwitting, medicinal, gullibility.

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Labelling Yourself with Shirts and Stickers

When I had a car that I drove regularly in New Jersey, I used to buy bumper stickers with the intention of putting them on. I never put them on, partially because of something my brother said about having your car stick out. What makes it all the more interesting is that I was ultimately glad that I did not put a sticker on the car because of an observation that I made while attending Phish shows from 1995-2000.

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34 Billion for Auto Salvage

The Big Three automakers want $34 billion so they can keep making bad cars and losing even more money.

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