Monday, June 29, 2009


As I do tend to wander here on my online journal and post all to many videos (doesn't work well with publishing sites like Blurb). I'm still dedicated to the idea that writing things down will be something I look on decades from now as a thing I'm glad I did.

I'm a little over two years on now (started June 2007) and extremely happy about starting this. I like to think of it as writing about things going on that often get forgotten do to time. In the same overt vain as "life is what happens when you are busy making other plans".

I'm saying some of this because I am applying for a place with the organization called "Sons of the American Revolution". My father and a family friend have been organizing officially family documents to create a direct link to a family member who fought in the war. They have compiled documents all the way back to Abel Johnson born 1757. The real stuff, handwritten sometimes and testimonies from his children claiming he was in fact in the war. I think this was to get pension given to relatives after the war. They are a fascinating read. Hey! maybe I'm entitled to the 20 shillings a year.

I'll probably be posting some pretty boring stuff here soon about it, but before I get to that I have discovered some interesting factoids.

1. I am the first Johnson in Abel's line to be born outside of, not just NC, but Harnett, Pitt or Johnston Counties. 80% of them being born in Johnston Co.

2. Only three times since Able has a Johnson not married another Johnson. Two of those times were my father and grand father. In 1856 Amos Greene Johnson, my grand fathers great great grandfather (who fought in the War Against Northern Aggression) married a Sutton. If that sounds weird (or worse) join the club. Either way what happened happened. The fact is that there are so many intersecting trees make up what we are today... that said though, my brother and I have known this for some time. In fact he nearly lost his mind researching that family tree. Think about it.

And, yes, we have counted our toes. Our sanity? that's another matter.

Loss for Words

Not sure what to say here. I found it over at Dubious Quality of which claims it as the worst music video ever. It's got over 600,000 hits so I'm behind the curve on this one me thinks. But, how on earth, or perhaps... Space, did this happen. Here is the Youtube link to dig around for answers yourself. If you dare.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

The Hangover

Surprisingly good. Of the summer movies I've made it out to see this is one going into that I thought for sure I'd have nothing good to think about, let alone write about.

What set me up from the get-go was the opening shots of Las Vegas. I can be a sucker for the west, I know. But the opening shots were done from slightly different angles with slightly different objects and subject matter. To be sure, there have been plenty of 'Vegas' movies done in the past. Remarkably, I've been to Vegas. After seeing in person I realized that what you see in movies is the completely wrong way to show it. Of course the angles and sight lines you get from the ground there are not what you see in movies. You generally get the helicopter view, or the quick post card looking shot of a too insane to be true hotel. But Vegas, on the ground is completely different looking. Almost too strange to believe in size and scope. It is no wonder so many movies take place there. There aren't many movies that shoot it well. This one is and I can see that this can be attributed to Larry Sher.

Sher doesn't seem to have an impressive resume of great looking movies. He is a younger guy. But he does of a couple that stick out that I have seen. Garden State being one and Dukes of Hazzard being another. Yeah, I said Dukes. He also did Captain Jack way back. Yes! This guy is clearly having fun with his craft.

Comedies can be funny in script and this one has that in a way of an over the top Swingers. But only rarely can they also be beautiful to look at. Sher sets it up from the start and doesn't turn it off. I think if this movie were to have shown Vegas in the way that we are so familiar with seeing it then it would've fallen flat. But instead of the 'Helicopter/Micheal Bay' looking Vegas we get one where our cast of characters have to climb the stairs to the top of Cesar's and see it from there.

Good stuff.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Noise About Automobiles

For posterity and before I completely forget, I am going to list out all the cars I've (partially) owned. In my lifetime I've purchased two cars by myself (well, one and a half). I've had hand me downs, cars on lone while mine was getting worked on, one donated from a church to me, one lost in a divorce, one loaned for the summer, I could go on. But without further ado... here we go:

1. 1984 Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme.

I got this from my parents when I was around 17 years old. It took me through most of my college days. Good car and worth more then you think now out here in the mid-west. The fall came when I obliterated a deer one very early morning. It lasted for a time after that, but she was never the same. Eventually the timing went out and she got put out to pasture.

2. 1987 Pontiac Fiero.

This car was on loan to me for one summer between my senior year of high school and freshman year of college. I drove it once on a long trip to the beach. On the way down I stopped at a gas station and was pumping gas when another guy there calmly stated, "you're engine is on fire". Sure enough it was. The station attendant put the fire out and I continued on. There was no fall with this car, it went back to it's owner.

3. 1978 Monte Carlo

I had this beast for a little while after the Olds went bye-bye. I got it from my grandfather. I had the choice of this or a El Camino. I don't know where the Camino went (wish I had either of these at this point). The Monte Carlo was beautiful. It had a coolant issue and a bad thermostat. But it was fixed and eventually given to my bother. He drove it all through college at UVA where it gain quite the reputation. After much leaking and minor issues my brother moved on to buying a Chevy Malibu. The Monte Carlo sat at my parents for years until recently my dad donated it to the Salvation Army.

4. 1979 Mercedes 280 E Class.

My father purchased this car for $850 from an older lady. I wound up with it somehow for a short time. Best car I ever had? Maybe. She drove like a tank but could pass any car between 60 and 80 like nobodies business. I loved this car but I killed it. She had a leak in the radiator and she over heated and the engine froze up.

5. 1988 Honda Civic.

This little hatchback deserves the title of the worst car I ever had. It ran alright at first. It was donated to my fathers church and he passed it on to me. The civic pretty much died after a long trip with my mother, brother, and a friend on a trip down to another friends wedding in Florida. Hundreds of miles with four passengers did her in.

6. 1994 Dodge Intrepid.

My first car! I purchased this down in Coats, NC. I'll never forget the experience I had buying it. She ran well for the four years I spent (painfully) paying it off. The month I paid it off the PCM board failed and I spent nearly $2500 trying to fix it. The steering column eventually bent and she became un-drivable. I gave her away to one of the greatest men I know, he fixed and and after that and she kept going strong. I she still out there??

7. 2004 Oldsmobile Aurora.

The muscle car for the 21st century. Now hold on a second... I know She was a 5.0 L V8 and I know that She was a 2004. I know that she was the 2nd to last production model Oldsmobile coming off the line in April 2004 (the Alero was stopped a month after). I can't find her on the web. This is getting interesting. I know she was unique because of her year. She also didn't have a front hood ornament. I can't find a 5.O online. I'll keep looking. Did I have something unique here? Anyway, life circumstances forced me to get rid of her. She did start having numerous electrical problems and was very expensive to maintain (low profile, $300 tires anybody?).

8. 2003 Honda Accord.

My current car. My coupe. My daily driver. She's got a V6 that gives me 240 HP. Pretty potent for a smaller car. She also boasts a sporty, more rounded shape. She is still valued at around $13,000. Not much less then I paid for her a few years back. Pretty amazing. Honda made a quality car here. I've been washing here and maintaining her diligently here recently with the idea of a possible trade in for another car and get better financing. It is a possibility. But until then I am very, very satisfied with this car.

So there it is. All my rides.

Some Notes:

Five of the eight have come out of Detroit, which really means nothing I guess cause they where older. However, two (out of three) of the ones I have a direct hand in picking where later models out of Detroit. The Honda I drive was manufactured up the road in Marysville, Ohio. No Fords on my list.

The satisfying car I have ever driven is the 2004 Olds, I wish I still had her. The overall best car I've ever owned is my Accord.

"Clunkers" Plan

Some details on the plan is here to get you started.

First question is: Does this make economic sense?

Second question is: With the level of interest in older cars increasing, will this increase the value of older cars with more of them getting shredded and becoming more rare?

Monday, June 1, 2009

Catherine Marshall via My Mom

The stage is set like this... Peter Marshall is trying to gain the attention of a large crowd anyway he can when he shouts out "how about a song!". From the crowd he hears "how about a song about Rosie?"

Catherine Marshall steps up and says the following:

“I never thought much about being a girl, until two years ago when I learned from a man what a wonderful thing it is to be one. Until that Sunday morning, I’d considered myself lucky to be living in the twentieth century; the century of progress and emancipation. The century when supposedly we women came into our own.

“But I’d forgotten that the emancipation of woman really began with Christianity, when a girl – a very young girl – received the greatest honor in history. She was chosen to be the mother of the Savior of the world. And when her son grew up and began to teach His way of life, He ushered “woman” into a new place in human relationships. He accorded her a dignity she had never known before and crowned her with such glory that down through the ages she was revered protected and loved. Men wanted to think of her as different from themselves. Better.

“It remained for the twentieth century, the century of progress, to pull woman down from her throne. She wanted equality. For nineteen hundred years, she had not been equal; she had been superior. To stand equal with man, naturally, she had to step down. Now, being equal with men, she has won all their rights and privileges … The right to get drunk. The right to swear. The right to smoke. The right to work like a man, to think like a man, to act like a man. We won all this, but how can we feel so triumphant when men no longer feel as romantic about us as they did about our grandmothers, when we’ve lost something sweet and mysterious … something that’s as hard to describe as the haunting, wistful fragrance of violets?

“Poets have become immortal by remembering on paper a girl’s smile, but I’ve never read a poem rhapsodizing over a girl’s giggles at a smutty joke. I’ve never heard a man brag that his sweetheart or wife could drink just as much as he and become just as intoxicated. I’ve never heard a man say that a girl’s mouth was prettier with a cigarette hanging out of it or that her hair smelled divinely of stale tobacco…”

My mom states at this point it is known that Catherine Marshall stopped abruptly as she realized she had given her first speech.

I'll like to note that one of my very first memories is asking Catherine Marshall a question (which my mom wrote and forced me to ask:) during an event at Len LeSourd's home in Northern Virginia. I also remember from that day that there was a parade of stuffed animals that everyone had dressed up. Strange, I had forgotten that till now. I'll have to get with my mom on that.

Thank you mom for this article today!

I Believe, GM

I believe we can make an automobile in the United States.

I believe we can make it something the world wants because they will have a custom hand in what they order.

I believe that with the promise of a quality product, you deliver a quality product.

I believe that we can make this product as fast as they are ordered and get them to the customer within three to five days of purchase. No massive inventories of finished product. No unnecessary labor and materials put into finished goods that will sit on a lot and depreciate and cost money to store.

I believe we can retool many of our current manufacturing facilities to create this product.

I believe we can keep raw material inventory low and replenish it when demand dictates.

I believe that the labor cost can be managed with good wages and retail kept low with this product.

I believe employees will be proud and motivated of the product they make because the will help in the continuous improvement of production and product.

I believe that good companies are ran autonomously. With high regard and respect for all employees.

I believe that leadership is not a birthright. They are made through hard goddamn effort, just like everything else good in this country.

I believe that our government should stand aside and support, not finance and police, what I believe.

I believe that demand for your product should be your forecasting model and sales history only a compass.

I believe manufacturing your product on the other side of the globe is a colossal mistake.

I believe that the United States should lead through innovation, design, openness, and hard work. Not through fear.

I believe misguided, disconnected and off the mark political wrangling/suggestions are damaging, divisive, unnecessary, and counterproductive.

I believe we have the people in this country that can make this happen.



Once again. Goodness.