Monday, September 10, 2018

Rat-rod trucks: oh, so tempting (untagged)

One of the longstanding delusions of my adult life is that when I buy a book I am also buying the time to read it. It's a fairly harmless delusion as these things go, and at least I never lack for new reading material on my shelves at home.

Lately, however, I seem to be susceptible to a more dangerous delusion, that if I buy a project car I will have time, money, space, and skill to do the project. The delusion entered an acute phase recently -- perhaps assisted by my brother Mike's purchase of an old Jeep CJ-5 that he has somehow already managed to get running again:

Was it wrong of me to suggest he nickname it "Rusty"?

The fever peaked when Monique and I saw several beautifully patina-ed trucks while we were visiting Lebanon, Missouri. Suddenly, I could envision the lovely rat-rods that would emerge at the end of what I optimistically described as "a fun little project" to Monique.

This was a dangerous, deluded moment for a man with an unfinished rowboat project in his yard, much less for a man who still hasn't finished off three old "Fantastic Four" comic books he bought at his local comic-book shop back in July.

Some of you may recall that the ol' Patio Boat blog visited the topics of rat rods a few years back: Detroit AutoRama: Rat Rods. Most of those were, of course, extreme rats -- Rodents of Unusual Style, if you will -- suitable for a high-end hot-rod show like AutoRama. But the ones that particularly appeal to me are the ones that combine a worn patina on the outside with fresh mechanical and interior parts.

Here are a few photos of a lovely Chevy station wagon rat-rod that I spotted at the weekly Baker's Sunday Night Cruise in Milford, Michigan. Look past the big pile of patina to check out the beautiful engine and interior work. This is the style that I'm talking about:



Score a victory for the "Don't judge a book by its cover" crowd. This thing could swap leather-care tips with my Jaguar.


So what brought on this sudden desire to haul a beat-up old truck back from Lebanon, Missouri, to Michigan? It turns out that Lebanon was once a hot-bed of used-car dealers, thanks to its location on historic Route 66. And some of those dealers know just the right cheese to use in a rat-rod trap, rusty old trucks that look like they need to be rescued.

The first that tugged at my heartstrings was an old International Scout. It reminded me of my own rusty old International Scout II that I managed to keep running for a year or so when I was in college. It was my last running wreck before I graduated and moved on to the style and elegance of the Mighty Plymouth Acclaim. All the rust you see here really is surface rust. The inside was a wreck, but it looked basically solid underneath, unlike my own rusted-out Scout:



Next came a GMC pickup from the late 40s or the early 50s with its windows broken out. We drove by this magnificent wreckage several times that weekend:


Monique inspects it...

... and is shocked! ...


... to discover that its wooden bed is just a sapling growing inside the frame!

But the crème de la crème was this 1939 International Harvester pickup in the same lot as that GMC. I don't know what it was about its lines, but it looked just perfect as the starting point for "a fun little project":



When you make a Corvair look new and cutting edge, you've really accomplished something.

Look, my future old pickup with my shiny new pickup behind it! Don't they belong together?!

Fortunately, sanity and a lack of a trailer prevailed. Monique and I drove our shiny, fresh, decidedly un-ratty pickup truck back to Michigan without dragging any rusty hulks behind us. The future rat-rod trucks of Lebanon, Missouri, are still there to make "a fun little project" for somebody with a wee bit more time, money, and space, not to mention infinitely more mechanical skill. 

But, oh, that old International pickup would've looked sweet in our driveway.

----

Rat-rod trucks: oh, so tempting (tagged)

One of the longstanding delusions of my adult life is that when I buy a book I am also buying the time to read it. It's a fairly harmless delusion as these things go, and at least I never lack for new reading material on my shelves at home.

Lately, however, I seem to be susceptible to a more dangerous delusion, that if I buy a project car I will have time, money, space, and skill to do the project. The delusion entered an acute phase recently -- perhaps assisted by my brother Mike's purchase of an old Jeep CJ-5 that he has somehow already managed to get running again:

Was it wrong of me to suggest he nickname it "Rusty"?

The fever peaked a couple of weeks ago when Monique and I saw several beautifully patina-ed trucks while we were visiting Lebanon, Missouri. Suddenly, I could envision the lovely rat rods that would emerge at the end of what I optimistically described as "a fun little project" to Monique.

This was a dangerous, deluded moment for a man with an unfinished rowboat project in his yard, much less for a man who still hasn't finished off three old "Fantastic Four" comic books he bought at his local comic-book shop back in July.

Some of you may recall that the ol' Patio Boat blog visited the topics of rat rods a few years back: Detroit AutoRama: Rat Rods. Most of those were, of course, extreme rats -- Rodents of Unusual Style, if you will -- suitable for a high-end hot-rod show like AutoRama. But the ones that particularly appeal to me are the ones that combine a worn patina on the outside with fresh mechanical and interior parts.

Here are a few photos of a lovely Chevy station wagon rat-rod that I spotted at the weekly Baker's Sunday Night Cruise in Milford, Michigan. Look past the big pile of patina to check out the beautiful engine and interior work. This is the style that I'm talking about:



Score a victory for the "Don't judge a book by its cover" crowd. This rusted-out wagon could swap interior leather-care tips with my Jaguar.


So what brought on this sudden desire to haul a beat-up old truck back from Lebanon, Missouri, to Michigan? It turns out that Lebanon was once a hot-bed of used-car dealers, thanks to its location on historic Route 66. And some of those dealers know just the right cheese to use in a rat-rod trap, rusty old trucks that look like they need to be rescued.

The first that tugged at my heartstrings was an old International Scout. It reminded me of my own rusty old International Scout II that I managed to keep running for a year or so when I was in college. It was my last running wreck before I graduated and moved on to the style and elegance of the Mighty Plymouth Acclaim. All the rust you see here really is surface rust. The inside was a wreck, but it looked basically solid underneath, unlike my own rusted-out Scout:



Next came a GMC pickup from the late 40s or the early 50s with its windows broken out. We drove by this magnificent wreckage of the one-time pride of GMC several times that weekend. It looked better every time I passed it by:


Monique inspects it...

... and is shocked! ...


... to discover that its wooden bed is just a sapling growing inside the frame!

But the crème de la crème was this 1939 International Harvester pickup in the same lot as that GMC. I don't know what it was about its lines, but it looked just perfect as the starting point for "a fun little project":



When you make a Corvair look new and cutting edge, you've really accomplished something.

Look, my future old pickup with my shiny new pickup behind it! Don't they belong together?!

Fortunately, sanity and a lack of a trailer prevailed. Monique and I drove our shiny, fresh, decidedly un-ratty pickup truck back to Michigan without dragging any rusty hulks behind us. The future rat-rod trucks of Lebanon, Missouri, are still there to make "a fun little project" for somebody with a wee bit more time, money, and space, not to mention infinitely more mechanical skill. 

But, oh, that old International pickup would've looked sweet in our driveway.

----

----

VIAF

International Harvester company
International Harvester Company Neuss
VIAF ID: 141863341 (Corporate)

General Motors Corporation. Truck Division 
GMC Truck Division‏
General Motors Corporation.‏ Truck & Bus Group.‏ Truck Division‏
GMC Truck Operation‏
VIAF ID: 133788459 (Corporate)

Lebanon (Mo.)
Lebanon
לבנון (מיזורי)
Missouri Lebanon
VIAF ID: 130208795 (Geographic)

Milford  
Milford (Mich.)
Michigan Milford
VIAF ID: 129022107 (Geographic)

Charter Township of Milford (Mich.)
Michigan Charter Township of Milford
Milford (Mich. : Township)
VIAF ID: 137416217 (Geographic)


Wikidata

Rat rod (Q17014999)
Ratrod

GMC (Q28993)
American automobile manufacturer
GMC Division of General Motors LLC

International Harvester (Q263800)
company
International Trucks | The International Harvester Company| IHC | IH

International Harvester Scout (Q10859812)
International Harvester Scout
international scout

Jeep CJ (Q1512553)
public version of the famous Willys Military Jeep from World War II

Lebanon (Q954894)
city in Laclede County, Missouri, United States
Lebanon, Missouri

Milford (Q2400322)
village in Oakland County in the U.S. state of Michigan
Milford, Michigan

Milford Township (Q589637)
charter township of Michigan

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Hurricane Matthew in 2016 and the long road back for Grand Bahama Island (Tagged)

The Beach isn't just closed. It's broken.

As the 2018 North Atlantic Hurricane Season hits its September peak, I find myself thinking back to the wintertime vacation that Monique and I took with my folks to Grand Bahama Island in The Bahamas. The weather was warm, the island beautiful, but the most memorable thing I learned was how hard it is for a Caribbean Island to build back after a major hurricane.

Grand Bahama Island was struck by Hurricane Matthew in October 2016. The hurricane made landfall in Freeport on the west side of the island as a Category Four hurricane, damaging 95% or more of the homes in some areas. Eighteen months later the devastation was still awful to see in some areas.

Good from afar...


 ... but far from good.

Beyond the physical impact, the economic impact lingers. One day, Monique and I took a walk along the beach in front of the Grand Lucayan resort in Port Lucaya, which has been closed since the hurricane struck. The resort has more than 1,000 rooms, 59% of all the rooms on the island. The owners, Hong Kong real estate company Hutchinson Whampoa, also known as Cheung Kong (CK) Property Holdings, decided to pocket the insurance money and sell off the property instead of rebuilding and reopening, leaving more than 1,000 former employees out of work and leaving many of the surrounding businesses with only a fraction of their previous trade. Only a couple of small pieces have thus far reopened.

When we visited this winter, this huge resort and casino was supposed to be sold off to a Canadian firm, the Wynn Group, and mostly reopened by August. That didn't happen. That didn't happen, perhaps as a result of Wynn Resorts owner Steve Wynn's problems after his history of sexual harassment was revealed. Instead, the government of The Bahamas itself purchased the resort in August 2018, hoping to eventually re-open it.

Lots of work still to do before it can open.

Despite all the damage ashore, the beach is still beautiful.

The Taino Beach Resort, where we stayed, also suffered a lot of damage. The storm surge rose to fill the unit we stayed in three or four feet deep. The resort reopened for business in just a few months, though the repairs still continue now, 18 months later.

In the meantime, this touristy island felt like a ghost town during what should have been its the high season. Hopefully for the sake of everybody who lives here they’ll be back in business this winter.

-----

(This post is part of a metadata tagging experiment on the ol' Patio Boat blog.)

Photo subjects
Hurricane Matthew | Q27058656 | Freeport | Freeport, Bahamas | Bahamas Freeport | 136086537 | Q867573 | Lucaya, Bahamas | Bahamas Lucaya | 148983536 | Q6696401


VIAF cluster hubs

North Atlantic Ocean
Atlantique (océan ; nord)
المحيط الأطلسي الشمالي
צפון האוקיינוס האטלנטי
Atlântico Norte, Oceano
VIAF ID: 172332360 (Geographic)
Permalink: http://viaf.org/viaf/172332360

Caribbean Sea
Caribbean Sea
カリブ海
הים הקריבי
VIAF ID: 236345924 (Geographic)
Permalink: http://viaf.org/viaf/236345924

Grand Bahama Island
Grand Bahama
Bahamas Grand Bahama
גראנד בהאמה (איי בהאמה)
Grand Bahama (Bahamas)
Grand Bahama Island
VIAF ID: 242312267 (Geographic)
Permalink: http://viaf.org/viaf/242312267

The Bahamas
Bahamas.
איי בהאמה
バハマ
VIAF ID: 131337264 (Geographic)
Permalink: http://viaf.org/viaf/131337264

Government of The Bahamas
Bahamas Government
VIAF ID: 148675372 (Corporate)
Permalink: http://viaf.org/viaf/148675372

Freeport
Freeport, Bahamas
VIAF ID: 136086537 (Geographic)
Permalink: http://viaf.org/viaf/136086537

Port Lucaya
Lucaya, Bahamas
VIAF ID: 148983536 (Geographic)
Permalink: http://viaf.org/viaf/148983536

Steve Wynn
Wynn, Steve, 1942-
Wynn, Stephen A.
Steve Wynn entrepreneur américain
Wynn, Stephen A. (American developer, born 1942)
VIAF ID: 137117761 (Personal)
Permalink: http://viaf.org/viaf/137117761


Wikidata items

North Atlantic Ocean 
North Atlantic
North Atlantic Ocean (Q350134)
https://www.wikidata.org/wiki/Q350134

Atlantic hurricanes
Atlantic hurricane (Q2547976)
North Atlantic tropical cyclone | tropical storm | hurricane
https://www.wikidata.org/wiki/Q2547976

Hurricane Matthew (Q27058656)
14L | Tropical Storm Matthew
https://www.wikidata.org/wiki/Q27058656

Caribbean Sea
Caribbean Sea (Q1247)
https://www.wikidata.org/wiki/Q1247

Grand Bahama Island
Grand Bahama (Q866345)
https://www.wikidata.org/wiki/Q866345

The Bahamas
Bahamas (Q778)
https://www.wikidata.org/wiki/Q778

Freeport
Freeport (Q867573)
https://www.wikidata.org/wiki/Q867573

Port Lucaya
Lucaya, Bahamas (Q6696401)
https://www.wikidata.org/wiki/Q6696401

Cheung Kong (CK) Property Holdings | CK Property Holdings | Hutchinson Whampoa
Hutchison Whampoa (Q15805)
Hutchinson Whampoa | Hutchison Whampoa Limited
https://www.wikidata.org/wiki/Q15805
Cheung Kong Holdings (Q709535)
https://www.wikidata.org/wiki/Q709535

Wynn Group | Wynn Resorts
Wynn Resorts (Q2274089)
Wynn Resorts Limited
https://www.wikidata.org/wiki/Q2274089

Steve Wynn
Steve Wynn (Q524369)
Stephen A. Wynn
https://www.wikidata.org/wiki/Q524369


Uncontrolled keywords
Grand Lucayan resort
Taino Beach Resort
Taino Beach

Hurricane Matthew in 2016 and the long road back for Grand Bahama Island (Untagged)

The Beach isn't just closed. It's broken.

As the 2018 North Atlantic Hurricane Season hits its September peak, I find myself thinking back to the wintertime vacation that Monique and I took with my folks to Grand Bahama Island in the Bahamas. The weather was warm, the island beautiful, but the most memorable thing I learned was how hard it is for a Caribbean Island to build back after a major hurricane.

Grand Bahama Island was struck by Hurricane Matthew in October 2016. The hurricane made landfall in Freeport on the west side of the island as a Category Four hurricane, damaging 95% or more of the homes in some areas. Eighteen months later the devastation was still awful to see in some areas.


Good from afar...


... but far from good.

Beyond the physical impact, the economic impact lingers. One day, Monique and I took a walk along the beach in front of the Grand Lucayan resort in Port Lucaya, which has been closed since the hurricane struck. The resort has more than 1,000 rooms, 59% of all the rooms on the island. The owners, Hong Kong real estate company Hutchinson Whampoa, also known as Cheung Kong (CK) Property Holdings, decided to pocket the insurance money and sell off the property instead of rebuilding and reopening, leaving more than 1,000 former employees out of work and leaving many of the surrounding businesses with only a fraction of their previous trade. Only a couple of small pieces have thus far reopened.

When we visited this winter, this huge resort and casino was supposed to be sold off to a Canadian firm, the Wynn Group, and mostly reopened by August. That didn't happen. That didn't happen, perhaps as a result of Wynn Resorts owner Steve Wynn's problems after his history of sexual harassment was revealed. Instead, the government of the Bahamas itself purchased the resort in August 2018, hoping to eventually re-open it.


Lots of work still to do before it can open.

Despite all the damage ashore, the beach is still beautiful.

The Taino Beach Resort, where we stayed, also suffered a lot of damage. The storm surge rose to fill the unit we stayed in three or four feet deep. The resort reopened for business in just a few months, though the repairs still continue now, 18 months later.

In the meantime, this touristy island felt like a ghost town during what should have been its the high season. Hopefully for the sake of everybody who lives here they’ll be back in business this winter.

-----

(This post is part of a metadata tagging experiment on the ol' Patio Boat blog.)


The Open Web Tagging Experiment on the Ol' Patio Boat Blog

Just a quick note to eagle-eyed Patio Boat blog followers. If the fine content you always see at this site seems a bit ... um, repetitive ... this month, it is. We're trying an experiment at work to see how tagging open web content with terms from Wikidata and the VIAF (Virtual International Authority File) affects web visibility.

Our hypothesis is that by adding some open-web authority control, we will make content more visible, which will result in seeing more hits for the tagged versions of the posts.

What I'll be doing is posting two versions of various posts that I've meant to write up this year, but haven't yet written up. One will be tagged with those open-web vocabulary terms, mostly names, but also a few concepts. One will just launch naked unto the web. (Note to self: the phrase "naked unto the web" will probably generate the most search hits of all.)

The idea is to see whether doing this tagging on the Blogger platform makes a significant different in the visibility of each post to search engines. The untagged versions will serve as a control. I'll be alternating posting the tagged and untagged versions of posts first, so that hopefully the release order won't affect the outcome.

I'll collect up the posts and some statistics here, as the experiment unfolds.

So stay tuned, gentle reader! The Patio Boat blog is embarking on its most ambitious scientific experiment since The Great Sierra-Nevada Beercicle Experiment of Twenty-Fifteen.

Update: We now have a few posts up. I won't link to them here. Obviously you can find them on the blog, but if you get a chance, go look out on the web and see if you can find them. Here are the topics:

1. Hurricane Matthew and its lingering economic impact on Freeport and Grand Bahama Island.

2. Some lovely prospective rat rods that I saw in Lebanon, Missouri.


Monday, August 20, 2018

Rescuing a Sandhill Crane

One thing I'll miss after I step down as our Village President is that you never really know what each month will bring. Sunday brought the opportunity to help an injured sandhill crane.

Village resident Nan Navalta Nehls reached out to me a few weeks ago because a family of three cranes had taken up residence in her yard, and the adult male and juvenile both had leg injuries. Nan had reached out to the Bird Center of Washtenaw County for advice and potential help. The initial advice was to monitor the situation to see if they recovered, and indeed the young one did. But the adult male's injury was too severe to heal on its own, and on Sunday a wildlife rescuer named Andrea came up to Wolverine Lake to see if we could capture the crane to take him to the Howell Nature Center for rehabilitation.

Here are some pictures from the rescue:




Standing on his right leg only.



So, he couldn't walk, but when Andrea approached with her long rod and loop we found that he could still fly...



... and so he did, across the street to the lakeshore.



From there he took off again, flying...



... between this hedgerow and the house next door. This is where I finally became useful because I heard him headed down that small passageway, and blocked his way with an umbrella that I had brought along to help with the crane capture. (The umbrella gives you added size to help herd the bird, a useful tip I picked up in a goose management class.)

When faced with an unexpected umbrella the injured crane dodged and crashed into the shrubbery, where Andrea managed to capture him.

With some help after he was captured she gave him an initial examination:



His leg was indeed broken and infected. Andrea also said that she could feel that he had lost a lot of weight. He was indeed in need of rescue and rehabilitation if he was going to one day return to the wild.




Everybody helped to wrap him up so that she could bring him to her car:






... and from there, it was off to the Howell Nature Center, where he is now Case # B-980-18. They have confirmed the fractured leg and infection. He'll be getting antibiotics and a splint. Hopefully he'll recover and be well enough to release before November, so that he can be reunited with the female adult and the juvenile before they migrate.

I'll post any updates on his health below.

Many thanks to Nan for reaching out and organizing the rescue, to Andrea for her expert crane-wrangling, and to our volunteer bird-herders, Paul and Ryan Nehls, my wife Monique, our next door neighbors Anna and Lexi, and my fellow Wolverine Lake Councilperson David Dumont, who took on the task with zero warning under the mantle of "other council duties as required."

Get well soon, Mr. Crane. We hope to see you back on the lake with your family.