Friday, March 31, 2006

The M-80

One of my best friends in high school drove a little Datsun. Back then, there were not that many Japanese cars. You'd see some German Opels, and a few British MGs and Triumphs, but very few Japanese cars. For small cars, Vegas and Pintos as far as the eye could see.

One night we were cruising in my buddie's Datsun and he had scored some M-80 firecrackers. Firecracker is misleading, these things were close to dynamite strength. You'd put one in a mailbox, and it would shred the box. And that's exactly what we were doing - putting them in mailboxes. I'm sure our experience was enhanced in some manner, they usually were. Schlitz, Bud, PBR - it could have been any of them. Or it could have been something different...

We were down to our last M-80. We had driven into a field, wondering what we could do for maximum effect. Finally, my buddy said screw it, let's just get rid of it before we get busted. He rolled his window halfway down, lit the M-80 and through it hard at the window. It hit the edge of the window, and bounced back into his lap.

SHIIIIIIIITTTTTTTT! He yells and bails out of the car brushing off his crotch. I'm still clueless as to what's happening and he's running full blast away from the car. I look down and see the M-80 burning fast, the fuse almost completely burned. I bailed too. I get a few steps away and...

WHOOOOOOOMP! We look, and smoke is rolling out of the car. There was so much smoke we thought the car was toast. Literally. The smoke cleared after a few seconds, and we crept back. My buddy gingerly reached in for the overhead light, and we took a look. A burned spot on the carpet. That was it! We got in, still shaking a little, and drove away. We didn't screw with M-80s again after that. When we wanted to take out mailboxes, we did it the old fashioned way - with a baseball bat.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Any Major Dude Will Tell You

It fits my mood today.

I never seen you looking so bad my funky one
You tell me that your superfine mind has come undone

Any major dude with half a heart surely will tell you my friend
Any minor world that breaks apart falls together again
When the demon is at your door
In the morning it won't be there no more
Any major dude will tell you

Have you ever seen a squonk's tears? Well, look at mine
The people on the street have all seen better times

Any major dude with half a heart surely will tell you my friend
Any minor world that breaks apart falls together again
When the demon is at your door
In the morning it won't be there no more
Any major dude will tell you

I can tell you all I know, the where to go, the what to do
You can try to run but you can't hide from what's inside of you

Any major dude with half a heart surely will tell you my friend
Any minor world that breaks apart falls together again
When the demon is at your door
In the morning it won't be there no more
Any major dude will tell you

Steely Dan
Any Major Dude Will Tell You
Pretzel Logic
©1974 MCA Music Publishing, a division of Universal Studios, Inc. (ASCAP).

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

The Neighborhood Drive In

What would a seventies blog be without a drive-in movie post?

We had one in our neighborhood, about 8 blocks from home. When we were kids, if we were lucky enough to get out after dark and able to stay out a while, we would walk down there. We had to cross a highway to get there, and if our parents knew we'd get in trouble. But there was a golf course directly behind the theater, and we'd pull a bench from the course up to the back fence, and watch the show.

I had a paper route when I was a teenager, and I'd deliver papers from my Schwinn Orange Crate, and later, from my 10 speed Schwinn Continental. If I got done early, I'd pedal down to the drive-in.

There was a couple of big, mean, brothers my age that cleaned up the drive-in parking lot the morning after shows. You had to get there early to beat them to the lot. But if you did... There were always cans of un-opened beer, partially full bottles of Boones Farm, and all kinds of assorted goodies. It was a teenagers paradise. I'd make a quick swing through, throw the best stuff in my paper sack, and pedal home before the clean-up crew got there. I'd ditch the stash somewhere on the banks of the creek that wound through our neighboorhood park. We'd come back later and pretend we actually liked the stuff.

Later, when we were actually driving, we hit that drive-in with buddies and dates. I saw "Star Wars" for the first time there. Yet another memorable night was spent with a few friends, beer, and other leafy "illicit substances". We watched "Marathon Man". The sound of that dentist's drill was absolutely horrific.

All in all, it was a spot of significant memories for this Product Of The Seventies.

Old Mill Hill

Building on my last post about Old Mill Hill.

We would scrounge behind service stations (remember those?) for old tires. Every sorry excuse for a service station had a mountain of old tires behind the station. Depending on who was driving, what vehicle they had, and how many people were in the vehicle, we took as many tires as we had room for. We would drive up to the top of Old Mill Hill and wait for cars to come along. When they got about 200 yards away, we'd start the tire rolling. It took great timing, skill, and luck, but we did manage to nail a couple of cars. Funny, looking back we never considered it vandalism or criminal, it was just a way of having fun.

Then once the tires were gone, we had more room in the vehicle. If Jud was along, he had some big ones. He'd go to the back door of the Holiday Inn, and steal an empty beer keg. Then he'd take it back to a liquor store for the keg deposit. We weren't often lacking for beer money...

Monday, March 06, 2006

My 72 Bug

All through school I drove a 72 bug. Not the one pictured here, but pretty darn close. While I hated that car, it was memorable.

We had a hill in our part of town called "Old Mill Hill". There was a Holiday Inn hotel at the top of the hill. You could drive the road around the hill, or you could gto across country, and climb the greater than 45 degree slope up the side of the hill. Guess what we liked to do in the VW? I'd get started up the hill, and we were pointing so far up you'd think you were going to flip over backwards. The people in the back seat were always terrified. It was a great time. More on Old Mill Hill in future posts. A lot of stories around that.

One time, we were off-roading in another field close to a highway. We had 3 or 4 of us in my VW, along with beer, of course, and we cruised across the wooded field to a big lighted billboard next to the highway. Crazy man Eugene (Geno), climbed that billboard, and stood on the lighted platform in front of the sign. He was mooning all the cars driving by, and they were honking, of course. We finally got him down, and drove back towards the road. As we get close to the road, we saw a vehicle trailing us, but a quarter mile off. We looked hard, and thought we say lights on the top. We floored it, hit the road, made a couple of quick turns, and were home free. A friend in a nearby house saw the whole thing, and confirmed that it was a police car. Yet another escape by the skin of our teeth.

I could tell stories about the VW forever, and probably will. When I got into college, they used to kid me about having 7 back seats in that car. But that's another topic...

Walk The Line

Watched "Walk The Line" last night, the movie about Johnny Cash. I was a little surprised. It was good, but not as good as I expected it to be. And it was much more critical of him than I imagined it would be. It also had a very unsatisfying ending. The characters were not developed well enough, Johnny and June were, but that's about it. The music was OK, but didn't show much of the stories behind the songs.

Overall, I give it 3, maybe 3.5 out of 5. Fair to good, but not great.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Peter Benchley Dies

Peter Benchley, Author of 'Jaws,' Dies at 65

Peter Benchley, whose 1974 novel "Jaws" turned shark attacks into a national obsession and who later used what he called his "fish story" to help promote oceanic conservation, died yesterday morning at his home in Princeton, N.J. He was 65.

The cause was pulmonary fibrosis, a progressive scarring of the lungs, said his wife, Wendy.

In Honor Of Oscar Night

The Top Ten box-office movies of the Seventies were, in order:

1. Star Wars (1977)
2. Jaws (1975)
3. The Godfather (1972)
4. Grease (1978)
5. Superman (1979)
6. Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977)
7. Saturday Night Fever (1977)
8. The Sting (1973)
9. The Exorcist (1973)
10. National Lampoon's Animal House (1978)

I don't understand why "Logan's Run" didn't make the list...

Here is a cool site with this information: