Saturday, August 30, 2014

Saturday Night Doo-Wop

The Skyliners

(From Wikipedia)

The Skyliners were best known for their 1959 hit "Since I Don't Have You". Covers by the Four Seasons, Trini Lopez, Chuck Jackson, Don McLean, Guns N' Roses. The Brian Setzer Orchestra, Ronnie Milsap, Art Garfunkel and Buckaroo Banzai   kept the song in the public consciousness. They also hit the Top 40 with "This I Swear" and  Pennies from Heaven". Other classics include "It Happened Today" (1959), "Close Your Eyes" (1961) and "Comes Love" (1962). The original group dissolved in 1963, but re-united eleven years later (without Jack Taylor), for what would become their last charted record, "Where Have They Gone?"

In 1965, Jimmy Beaumont recorded two notable singles for the Bang label: the first, "Tell Me"/"I Feel Like I'm Falling in Love", were medium-tempo soul-styled tracks. For his second Bang 45, "I Never Loved Her Anyway"/"You Got Too Much Going for You", Jimmy transformed into an impressive soul singer, sounding nothing like his previous more pop-styled efforts, leading some to question in later years, if it actually was his singing. These two tracks are now considered Northern Soul collectibles. The second 45 was also issued on UK London HLZ 10059 in 1966.

Jack Taylor was drafted in 1965. In 1975, Wally Lester and Joe Versharen left the group; they were replaced by new members Jimmie Ross and bass Bob Sholes.

In 1978, Detroit producer Don Davis—who produced Marilynn McCoo and Billy Davis Jr., Johnny Taylor, the Dramatics, and the Dells—picked up one of his favorite groups (the Skyliners) to record in his United Sound Studios. They recorded the group's "comeback" album for the RCA subsidiary, Tortoise International Records. The songs "Oh, How Happy" and "The Love Bug" were included, as was a hefty re-make of Dan Schaefer's original RCA Victor single, "A Day Without You, Dear".
1978 Tortoise International/RCA Side B
Janet Vogel committed suicide in 1980; Cathy Cooper joined the group as a replacement. She and Ross left two years later to form a duo; they were replaced by Rick Morris and Donna Groom.

Morris retired in 1993;] In 1993, David Proch was singing with another group. At first listen, the Skyliners' original lead singer, Jimmy Beaumont, invited Proch to join the group; Proch joined as a replacement. Also performing with the group at this time was Tom Sholes, brother of Bob Sholes. The two were local to the group; they attended St George High School in the Allentown neighborhood of Pittsburgh. The group became Beaumont, Groom, Proch, and Nick Pociask.
David Proch, at age 44, the third person to sing first tenor for the Skyliners, died Monday Oct 19, 1998 in a car accident. His car collided with a truck hauling asphalt on U.S. Route 30 near Ligonier, about 45 miles east of Pittsburgh. Proch's place was taken by Dick Muse, a former member of The Laurels. Rick Morris replaced Muse in 2011

Today, Jimmy Beaumont performs with The Skyliners in their current line-up of Nick Pociask, Rick Morris, and Donna Groom (whose husband, Mark Groom, has been the group's drummer/conductor for more than 25 years). Two of the original members have died — Janet Vogel (suicide) in 1980 (aged 37), and Joe Verscharen of cancer in 2007 (aged 67). Their longtime manager and producer Joe Rock, who also co-wrote "Since I Don't Have You", died on April 4, 2000, at age 63, after complications from quadruple bypass heart surgery.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Friday Night Steam

For Cap'n Jan:


About the Train

Alco Diesel 442 

When the Austin Steam Train Association found itself without a serviceable 786 in July of 1999 we were forced to use diesel-electric locomotives to continue uninterrupted service. At first, borrowed engines from the local freight carrier sufficed, but a decision was made in 2000 to purchase our own diesel. That process culminated in the acquisition of engine 442.
Built by the same company that built 786 in 1916, the American Locomotive Company constructed a series of these six-axle RSD-15 road-switchers in 1960 for the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railway. Our 442 was built as Santa Fe 842, and was later renumbered 9842. The RSD-15s saw service in all parts of the Santa Fe system, and were gradually retired in the '70s as the Santa Fe modernized its motive power fleet.
The 9842 was purchased secondhand by the Squaw Creek Coal Company of Indiana and was used to haul heavy coal trains. Our engine later wound up under the care of the Indiana Hi-Rail Corp., where it was again renumbered 442. We purchased the 442 from Indiana Hi-Rail in early 2000. ASTA staff and volunteers rebuilt the 442 for regular service and painted the engine in a modified Southern Pacific "Black Widow" paint scheme. The 2,400-horsepower locomotive is the last known operating example of its class.
The Alco RSD-15s are more commonly known to railroad enthusiasts as "alligators" in reference to the locomotives' long, low noses. So don't be surprised if you hear that your train is being pulled by a 'gator!

Southern Pacific 786 

Southern Pacific 786 imageThe 786 was completed by the American Locomotive Company's Brooks Works of Dunkirk, New York in August of 1916. The locomotive was one of the group of 20 Southern Pacific Mk-5 class 2-8-2 Mikados (numbers 775 to 794). 786 was placed in service on the Houston & Texas Central subsidiary of the SP in September of 1916.

The locomotive received several upgrades throughout its career, including:
  1. Original extended smokebox shortened in the 1920's
  2. Boiler pressure upgraded from 200 to 210 psi at Houston in 1930
  3. Installation of a feedwater heater and superheaters at Houston in 1941
786 was retired from service and donated to the City of Austin in March of 1956. It was placed on display near the firehouse on Trinity between 4th and 5th streets. It would remain there for 34 years. In 1989 the 786 was leased to the newly-formed Austin Steam Train Association and was removed from display the following year. Restoration of the locomotive began in June of 1990 at the Westinghouse Motor Co. shops in Georgetown, Texas. A team of both professional and volunteer crews completed the intense restoration in a relatively brief amount of time. For three days in December 1991 the operational 786 and one coach car were at the center of a celebratory festival in downtown Austin. The first passenger excursion pulled by the restored 786 arrived in Burnet on July 25, 1992.
After seven years of reliable service, 786 was temporarily sidelined in July 1999 following the discovery of cracks in a key component of the locomotive. The cracks, which had apparently started decades ago and worked their way to the surface, will require replacement of the cylinder saddle casting -- a task which has not been undertaken in the United States in more than 50 years. Read more about the restoration at "Where Is the Steam Locomotive?", our news page, or take a look at our photo gallery.

SP 786 technical specifications, present day

Wheel arrangement: 2-8-2, Mikado
Drivers: 63 inches diameter (the tire at the rails)
Cylinders: 26 inch bore, 28 inch stroke
Loaded weight of engine: 285,980 lbs. (143 tons)
Loaded weight on drivers: 213,380 lbs. (107 tons)
Operating steam pressure: 200 psi
Computed tractive effort: 53,360 lbs.
Overall length: 80 ft. 2 1/16 inches (engine and tender combined)
Overall height: 15 ft. 10 3/8 inches (over the stack)
Width over cylinders: 10 ft. 8 3/8 inches
Wheel base:
    Drivers 16 ft. 6 in.
    Engine 35 ft. 2 in.
    Engine and tender 73 ft. 7 7/8 in.
Wheel diameters:
     Pilot 30 in.
    Drivers 63 in.
    Trailing 45 in.
Feedwater heater: Worthington 'S' or 'SA' type Whistle: Nathan 6-chime, brass
Boiler design: Straight top, sloping backhead
Heating surfaces:
     Tubes 3,974 sq. ft.
    Superheater 865 sq. ft.
    Firebox 235 sq. ft.
Firebox: 120 5/8 in. x 84 in.
Boiler tubes: 275 each of 2 in. tubes plus 36 each of 5 3/8 in. tubes
Valve gear: Walschaert's with power reverse
Design: Vanderbilt type (horizontal cylindrical water tank)
Water capacity: 9,000 gallons
Oil capacity: 2,940 gallons
Length: 33 ft. 91/2 in.
Overall width: 10 ft. 2 1/2 in.
Empty weight: 57,600 lbs.
Loaded weight: 156,100 lbs.

Today's funny :0)

Lucy's wittle egg

Whenever Lucy lays and egg, it's usually the largest ones of the three hens.  Yesterday she plopped out the one on the end!

(from left to right: Lucy's, Shirley's, Laverne's and Lucy's little one)


 I keep them in seperate rows in the egg carton, so I know how many eggs I get from each one.
(We ate some of Laverne's & Shirley's for breakfast)

The shell was very thin and when I broke it open, there was no yolk inside. It was added to their afternoon treat of corn, beans and carrots. She will probably still give me an egg once in while
though, but I'll be getting more hens in October.

Charlie & Lucy

Poor old girl is getting to the end of her egg production. But that's OK - she won't be made into a Sunday dinner! She can live out the rest of  her life amusing me!

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Statues with a twist of humor!

Our cities are full of majestic monuments, unexpected sculptures and artistic statues............ each
having a story to tell.  These below are a long ways from the older "horse and rider" statues
aren't they? 

 Salmon Sculpture, Portland, Oregon, USA
Image credits: Ava Hirschsohn

 Black Ghost, Klaipeda, Lithuania
Image credits:
Image credits:

 De Vaartkapoen, Brussels, Belgium
Image credits:


Hippo Sculptures, Taipei, Taiwan
Image credits: Patche99z

 Man At Work, Bratislava, Slovakia
Image credits: Lukas Jaborka

 Rundle Mall Pigs, Adelaide, Australia
Image credits:

 The Shark, Oxford, UK

Today's funny :0)


Well, 'ol Charlie lost his other tail feather. I found it in the coop along with a few more of them.

He's been very bossy with the girls, too. He won't let them roost next to him at night. He is on one side of the coop and he pecks at their feet until they move to the other end.

Here he is stomping and crowing when he hears another rooster (on the farm in back of us) crowing.

Makes you wonder what goes through his itty-bitty brain......

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Actors I really, really miss

Lee Marvin
Feb 19, 1924 - Aug 29, 1987

Remember him as Lt. Frank Ballinger in the TV show M Squad back in the late 50's?

Where, oh where have all the manly men like him gone?

Today's funny :0)

H/T to: Wild River!


A man was washed up on a beach after a terrible shipwreck. Only a sheep and a sheepdog were washed up with him. After looking around, he realized that they were stranded on deserted island.

After being there awhile, he got into the habit of taking his two animal companions to the beach every evening to watch the sunset. One particular evening, the sky was a fiery red with beautiful cirrus clouds, the breeze was warm and gentle - a perfect night for romance.

As they sat there, the sheep started looking better and better to the lonely man. Soon, he leaned over to the sheep and put his arm around it. But the sheepdog, ever protective of the sheep, growled fiercely until the man took his arm from around the sheep. After that, the three of them continued to enjoy the sunsets together,
but there was no more cuddling.

A few weeks passed by and, lo and behold, there was another shipwreck.

The only survivor was Nancy Pelosi. That evening, the man brought Nancy to the evening beach ritual. It was another beautiful evening, red sky, cirrus clouds, a warm and gentle breeze, a perfect for a night of romance.

Pretty soon, the man started to get "those feelings" again. He fought the urges as long as he could but he finally gave in and leaned over to Nancy and told her he hadn't had sex for months. Nancy batted her eyelashes and asked if there was anything she could do for him.

He said, "Would you mind taking the dog for a walk?"

Pic dump

Just some stuff around here in Coopville:


More boids....

Lots and lots of boids!

A bear's muddy paw print.This is on the Rubbermaid storage shed where I keep the hay. It is right in back of the chicken pen. Yikes!

Storm clouds

Deer coming out of the woods.

They are watching me.

Mamma doe and her two fawns.

She didn't like it when I moved closer.


Morning sun shining through the front door.

Lucy scratching at an itch.

Not very exciting most of the time, but every day is different!

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Fun car facts!

Q:  Who opened the first drive-in gas station?

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        A:  Gulf opened up the first station in Pittsburgh in 1913.

         Q:  What city was the first to use parking meters?
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        A  Oklahoma City , on July 16,  1935.

         Q:  Where was the first drive-in restaurant?     

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 A:  Royce Hailey's Pig Stand opened in Dallas in 1921.

         Q:  True or False?  The 1953 Corvette came in white, red and  black.

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        A:  False. The 1953 'Vettes' were available in one color, Polo White.

         Q:  What was Ford's answer to the Chevy Corvette, and other legal street racers of the 1960's?

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        A:  Carroll Shelby's Mustang GT350.

         Q:  What was the first car fitted with an alternator, rather than a direct current dynamo?

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        A:  The 1960 Plymouth Valiant


         Q:  What car first referred to itself as a convertible?
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        A : The 1904 Thomas Flyer, which had a removable hard top.

         Q:  What car was the first to have its radio antenna embedded in the windshield?

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        A : The 1969 Pontiac Grand Prix.

         Q:  What car used the first successful series-production hydraulic valve lifters?

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        A:  The 1930 Cadillac 452, the first production V16

         Q:  Where was the world's first three-color traffic lights installed?

        A:  Detroit , Michigan in 1919. Two years later they experimented with synchronized lights.

Q:  What type of car had the distinction of being GM's 100 millionth car built in the U.S?
        A:  March 16, 1966 saw an Olds Tornado roll out of Lansing, Michigan with that honor.

Q:  Where was the first drive-in movie theater opened, and when?

        A:  Camden , NJ in 1933

         Q:  What autos were the first to use a standardized production key-start system?
        A:  The 1949 Chryslers

         Q:  What did the Olds designation 4-4-2 stand for?
        A:  4 barrel carburetor, 4 speed transmission, and dual exhaust.

Q:  What car was the first to place the horn button in the center of the steering wheel?

         A:  The 1915 Scripps-Booth Model C. The car also was the first with electric door latches.

         Q:  What U.S. production car has the quickest 0-60 mph time?
        A:  The 1962 Chevrolet Impala SS 409. Did it  in 4.0 seconds.

         Q:   What's the only car to appear simultaneously on the covers of Time and Newsweek?
        A:   The Mustang

         Q:  What was the lowest priced mass produced American car?
        A:   The 1925 Ford Model T Runabout. Cost $260, $5 less than 1924.