Wednesday, December 13, 2017

A Chilling Story Told in This Driver's Ed Film: "And Then There Were Four" 1950...

Narrated by Jimmy Stewart, this film is simply captivating. It is about taking small risks and thoughtlessly driving by consciously performing minor violations, writing them off as insignificant.  Five people leave in the morning for school and work -- a young man driving a hot rod; a landscaper driving a broken down truck that is improperly maintained.; a newly married salesman who drives off after dropping off his wife at a bus stop reckless turning left without consideration for other traffic; an arrogant  Doctor who is due in traffic court and later forced to attend a Driver Ed class; and a widow with two young children driving into the city to try to find a job. Only four come home.

If there is one lesson that stuck with me after watching this heart-wrenching film is that you should always leave in the morning telling your loved ones that you love them.  Never take them or your own life for granted.  It can change or end in a second!

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Why Young People Continue to Fail to Buckle Their Seatbelts??

Well, you may think you are indestructible or immune to calamity, but it can happen to anyone.  And your life will change in an instant.

Below is a contribution from Ed:

Probably worthy of a blog post, John, but have you noticed the shear number of local area car crashes where occupants have died and were not wearing a seat belt.  It just amazes me as long as we've had seat belts in vehicles, many people still refuse to wear them.  Why do folks not heed the obvious proven safety value of seat belts?  

This accident occurred in Greene County yesterday during the snow that fell rapidly.  Photo of the crashed truck attached here.  My late stepfather was one who never wore a seatbelt and, indeed, when vehicles started to have buzzers or bells that would ring when seat belts were not fastened, he would find a way to disable the bell and then he would sometimes just cut the seat belts out proclaiming them to be "useless" and that in a wreck he'd prefer to be "thrown clear" of the car.  Yes, land and be impelled by a fence post. 😣

This local story also sadly reminds me that my late father-in-law was killed in a pick-up truck on ice slick roads in northeastern Ohio over twenty years ago.  The state trooper report, which was shared with us stated, yes, he wasn't wearing his seat belt.
A young girl is the lone survivor of a double fatal crash this evening in front of Camp Jabez in Spring Valley Township.
XXXXXXXX, 49, of Xenia, was identified as the driver of a 2004 Ford F-Series pickup truck who was pronounced dead at the scene. His passenger, XXXXXXX, 73, also of Xenia, was taken with life-threatening injuries to Miami Valley Hospital, where she died, according to the Ohio State Highway Patrol’s Xenia Post.
At the time of the crash, reported around 5 p.m., it was snowing and the pickup was headed north in the 3100 block of Ohio 380. The pickup struck a sign, overturned, struck a fence and then struck a tree.
“They were going down a downhill grade, so obviously it struck the tree with a significant amount of force,” Sgt. Richard Milstead said.
A young girl was restrained in a child seat. She suffered injuries that were not life-threatening and was taken to Dayton Children’s Hospital. Neither adult was wearing a seat belt, according to the state highway patrol.


Hi folks -- I am getting interested in the history of Driver's Education and started looking at film that might be shown in a classroom. This film is as gory as it gets. But once viewed, was it really effective? I am not so sure!

1961 -- seat belts only rarely used, safety not yet mandated by the federal government.

Sum up:  we take driving not very seriously.  Too many distractions, not enough respect for speed limits. Nevertheless, the kind of accidents shown in this film will never happen to us. Seriously?

Put away the cell phone and stop texting. Focus on driving!

Friday, December 8, 2017

Porsche Leipzig: The Machine in the Garden!

In May of this year, the Porsche location in Saxony set up 25 bee colonies in the factory’s off-road area. The honey is even available in the Porsche Leipzig customer centre shop under the name “Turbienchen”.
The honey bees will spend the upcoming winter months in the off-road area before appearing again in the spring. “We will continue the initiative next year and we are planning to expand it. Our nature reserve offers the ideal conditions for bees”, says Gerd Rupp, Chair of the Executive Board at Porsche Leipzig GmbH. Bees are some of the most important productive creatures in Germany but are severely endangered. They pollinate most of the country’s agricultural crops. Environmental factors such as pesticide residues, bacteria, viruses and parasites have threatened bee populations for decades. In addition, there has been a gradual loss of natural bee habitats. As they are so important in ensuring biological diversity, bees are protected in Germany by the Federal Nature Conservation Act and the Federal Species Protection Regulations.

Sustainable pasture concept

The sustainable pasture concept at Porsche Leipzig is unique in the automotive industry. In addition to the honey bees, Porsche established colonies of Exmoor ponies and aurochs in the factory’s off-road area as long ago as 2002. The 132-hectare nature area is also home to many other wild animals, including various species of birds, amphibians, hares, deer and bats

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

The First SUV? Willys-Overland Jeep Station Wagon

A Contribution from Ed --Thank You!

The first SUV?  The Willys Jeep 4x4 Station Wagon?  Just ordered a newly released 1:16 scale model (see attached photos) of this vehicle (the 1955 version).  Our rural West Virginia mail carrier whose name was "Punk" Mann drove one exactly like this one pictured.  If one met him at one's mailbox he would sell you stamps and money orders.  

Brings new meaning to "back in the day" and "Rural Free Delivery" (RFD).  During my years as a newspaper boy delivering the small town Hinton Daily News, I also delivered The Grit (Williamsport, PA).  Every Thursday, without fail, "Punk" would deliver my roll of The Grit to our mailbox.  Punk's Jeep station wagon is fixed in my brain!

An Interesting Memoir Dealing with WWI and the Automobile: William Yorke Stevenson, "At the Front in a Flivver"

At Verdun

Recently I ran across a citation for an interesting book on WWI and the Ford Model T -- Stevenson's "At the Front in a Flivver." (New York and Houghton Mifflin, 1917).  The work is really a diary written by an American Ambulance Driver and what he saw during 1916. He drove a Ford Model T with a ambulance body improved and placed o the chassis.  He is a member of an American volunteer corps, and his account has some real merit to it, particularly related to his description of the battles of Verdun and Champagne.
The Fords just keep going, repaired when necessary, drive on muddy, shell hole marked "roads." A good number of Americans participated in this effort, funded by the wealthy, mostly from the East Coast and with Ivy League social connections. 

From time to time the narrative has striking parallels to descriptions from Erich Maria Remarque's  All Quiet on the Western Front.  What did I learn from reading this book?  First, I did not know that Russian troops ever served on the Western Front. Secondly, Stevenson's description of the French Colonial Senegalese and Into Chinese troops was quite interesting.