That's me, I'm him...

DISCLAIMER: Although I am a car guy this is not solely a car blog. I will talk cars, but this is also a blog about how I view the world. Just ask my mom and she will tell you my first word was "car". I do have a slight fascination with them. Luckily I have a supportive family and a very understanding wife...

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Pat Foster 1940 - 2008

Man, something has got to give here. I must be getting old when all my childhood heros are leavin' this rock. I first heard news that Pat Foster was not doing so well about 5 months ago. Today, I heard he is no longer with us...

My condolences to Cole and his family.

Here is an article I got off line. I grab these, because people write things like this much better than I can - or maybe much better than I care to:

Drag racing has lost, much to early, yet another of its "family" and this particular loss hit many of us on a deeply personal level. Pat Foster was a man's man and a racers racer. His entire life was was steeped in motorsports and drag racing was his first and last love. His accomplishments are far to numerous to remember, let alone mention. To know Patty was to love him and I was lucky enough to know him for 40 years. His sense of humor and incredible memory made him a joy to be around - or just talk to on the phone. Like a man who only met him once said, "It was such a treat because he's such a nice and intelligent man, like talking to a friendly drag racing encyclopedia - if that makes any sense". He was also opinionated, stubborn, emotional, a perfectionist and loyal to a fault... an incredible package of brains and talent.

"Foster" (yes, he was one of those people who could go by one name) lived life pretty much on his terms and was extremely good at whatever he did. Many times over his 68 years he cheated death on and off the track. In the last few years he underwent four major surgeries, three related to his genetically poor vascular system. And in the end it wasn't anything daring or foolish that took Patty, it was his vascular problems that won the war. In late November his ascending aorta failed causing catastrophic damage to vital organs. He had just finished what would be his last project, a dragster restoration for Billy Lynch. Although his move from Kansas to Moscow, Idaho in 2006 didn't turn out has he'd hoped, he was making the best of it. Pat had a new shop and a heavy back load of work when disaster struck. Like many of us, he had no retirement plan or pension - during a conversation we had after his heart surgery I told him I'd be working 'til the day I die. He laughed and said, "Welcome to my world".

Over the last few months Patty beat the odds (an ascending aorta is nearly always fatal within minutes) and showed signs of improvement. Although he would never walk again there was a chance he could function in a wheelchair. Rehab, therapy - they tried it all and Foster was a willing participant. However when he was told there was nothing more they could do for him and the cold hard facts were his internal organs were not going to rally, he requested to be unhooked from all the support devices and to pull the chute with dignity.

I will miss him dearly. Sit low my friend.
Don Ewald

More can be seen here:

Thursday, March 20, 2008


Yeah we have been thinking about it. What a responsiblity though. Of course my wife already has me so she could step right into a mothering role... I am fussy when I get woke up early. I am fussy when I am hungry. Fussy when I need a restroom. I don't like sharing my toys - really I still have toys and she has to tell me to share with my nephews. And shiney things always get my attention...

I have a daughter already, but she spent most of her life with her mother after she turned a year. She is now in the double digits - so it has been a few years for me.

Lucky for me I found the following helpful guide:

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

For my CA buddies...

Old Car Emissions Exemption Threatened in 8 California Counties; Hearing Scheduled for April 1

Legislation (S.B. 1549) has been introduced in the California State Senate by Senator Dean Florez ( to repeal the state's current emissions test exemption for pre-1976 vehicles registered by new owners in the San Joaquin Valley Unified Air Pollution Control District. The District includes eight counties in California's Central Valley: San Joaquin, Stanislaus, Merced, Madera, Fresno, Kings, Tulare and the valley portion of Kern. Under the bill, after Jan. 1, 2009, new owners seeking to register a pre-1976 vehicle in these eight counties would be subject to emissions tests for the life of the vehicle. S.B. 1549 is scheduled to be considered by the California Senate Transportation and Housing Committee on April 1, 2008.

We Urge You to Call, E-Mail or Fax Senator Florez and Members of the Senate Transportation Committee (List Attached) Immediately to Oppose S.B. 1549

Existing law in California exempts all pre-1976 vehicles from emissions testing.

California's current emissions testing exemption recognizes the minimal impact of pre-1976 motor vehicles on emissions and air quality.

Pre-1976 vehicles constitute a small and shrinking portion of the overall vehicle population in California and are a poor source from which to look for further emissions reductions.

Pre-1976 antique and classic vehicles are overwhelmingly well-maintained.

Repeal of the exemption in the San Joaquin Valley could lead the Legislature to target other areas in the state in the future.

Legislators and regulators are again feeling the heat from a failed effort to meet air quality goals and are looking for a convenient scapegoat. The old car hobby should not carry the burden of their mistakes, as it has in previous amendments to the old car exemption!
Please phone, fax or e-mail Senator Florez to express your opposition to S.B. 1549. Senator Florez can be reached at:

Phone: (916) 651-4016
Fax: (916) 327-5989

Please phone, fax or e-mail members of the Senate Transportation and Housing Committee to express your opposition to S.B. 1549

California Senate Transportation & Housing Committee

(Click here to email all Committee members)

Senator Alan Lowenthal - Chair
Phone: 916/651-4027
Fax: 916/327-9113

Senator Tom McClintock
Phone: 916/651-4019
Fax: 916/324-7544

Senator Roy Ashburn
Phone: 916/651-4018
Fax: 916/322-3304

Senator Gilbert Cedillo
Phone: 916/651-4022
Fax: 916/327-8817

Senator Ellen Corbett
Phone: 916/651-4010
Fax: 916/327-2433

Senator Bob Dutton
Phone: 916/651-4031
Fax: 916/327-2272

Senator Tom Harman
Phone: 916/651-4035
Fax: 916/445-9263

Senator Christine Kehoe
Phone: 916/651-4039
Fax: 916/327-2188

Senator Jenny Oropeza
Phone: 916/651-4028
Fax: 916/323-6056

Senator Joe Simitian
Phone: 916/651-4011
Fax: 916/323-4529

Senator Tom Torlakson
Phone: 916/651-4007
Fax: 916/445-2527

Senator Leland Yee
Phone: 916/651-4008
Fax: 916/327-2186

Please e-mail a copy of your letters to Steve McDonald at

The finger...

So I recently had a cut on my finger. No big deal - happens to like someone every 12 seconds in this country or something, and most of us survive. I just can’t believe how many people just feel they need to know “what happened - are you ok?” Really people I'm not three anymore I think I'll be ok. It must not be that big of a deal - I didn't even notice it happened.

And then a thought came to me. I don’t know maybe it is the freak in me that likes to see the look on their face when I just fire off an answer. Totally random and unrehersed. I decided I needed to write down my Top 10. Remember kids - they aren’t total lies if they could have happened…

10. I was in a bar room brawl and cut it throwing someone through a window...
9. I was cleaning my assassin rifle and it accidentally discharged...
8. I was swimming off the coast of Fiji and had to fight off an angry shark...
7. I was held up by knife point on 300 S and State St...
6. I was testing my home-built light saber and my hand slipped...
5. I took one for the President...
4. One word, wolverines...
3. Have you heard about the War on Terror? Well, I cannot elaborate any further...
2. I was dragged 6 blocks by a highjacked UTA bus after it got caught in the doors...
1. My finger puppet was possessed by Satan...

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Lower Prices - Always!

Ok, like most Americans I do occasionally shop that “king of the big boxes”, “downfall of the mom & pop”, “destroyer of the little guy”, – Wal Mart. I don’t frequent it because I feel they sell a superior product, or that they provide that much more when it comes to customer service. To be honest it isn’t the “always low prices”. Which by the way they don’t always have, honest, I’ve checked. They do price match though! I go there because it is convenient – simple. I mean by this summer we will have two within three miles of our home… convenience.

I stopped in there the other day. My mission - a new grinding attachment for my Dremel tool. I had to do some grinding on a part for the truck. After crossing through those aisles that I affectionately call “no man’s land” – jewelry, towels, rugs, linens, make-up, mascara, lip stick, lip gloss, lip balm, hair sprays, hair volumizers, hair curlers, hair straightners, hair removers, lotions, facial scrubs, powders, puffs, those weird female face “tools”, Midol, Tampax, Summer’s Eve, Slim-Fast… you get the point.

I just kept my eye on that oasis. That beacon of hope on the horizon – hardware. I dig my Wal Mart. They were smart. Hardware is next to automotive, automotive is next to Hotwheels, and Hotwheels is next to electronics - cool. So of course I took the “safe” route back to the check out. Two dollars and forty-three cents in the self check-out and I was out of there. Past all those coffee mugs with state’s name on them, the Lint-b-Gone magic roller – hey isn’t that the guy that sells Oxyclean, the &1.00 knock off DVDs, the baseball cards, Pokemon cards, postcards, gift cards, twelve soda machines, an electric guitar display…

As I headed toward the “aged” security guard, Wal Mart’s H.R. lists the job as “customer greeter”, I wondered if I would get the cane. The cane, and the obligatory “You have a receipt for that.”

You know I never noticed if I got the cane, because as I approached the doors my attention was taken by something else. As I walked out I noticed a sign that stated “Lasik at Wal Mart. Ask about it in our Vision Center”.

Huh, are you kidding me? Does this freak anyone else out? Guys, honest, I don’t even buy your underwear and you want to strap me down, cut a flap in my eye, and shoot a laser beam into it! When will this be on the commercial with the little yellow bouncing head? Do you think he will bump into a sign advertising this and the price will “drop” to $198.34?

Sorry, just not gonna do it, and I am not holding my breath for the $59.28 vasectomy either!

Monday, March 17, 2008

Corn beef, and Cabbage, and Dublin – Oh my!

Ah yes – St. Patrick’s Day is upon us. Growing up this day never met much to me. All I needed was a lil’ green that was easily removable just incase that cute girl wanted to give me a pinch (hey, don’t judge me - I was in grade school – take what you can get), and even quicker to put back on when those bullying 5th grader boys came around… There were the occasional green cookies, green Jell-O, or maybe some kind of green punch, but that was about it. St. Paddy’s was never big in my family, school, or community.

Fast forward 25 years and “Holy Shamrock!” My wife and her family are crazy over this day (maybe even more so than Christmas – see my previous blogs.). They are Irish and if you don’t believe me just look at there names – Quinn, Shane, Sean, Conn, Megan, Erin, Shannon, Caitilin, etc. They are good Irish though - like Bono. I spent St. Paddy’s day with them for the last few years and not one of them has ever gotten totally passed out stinkin’ drunk, discharged a firearm at the neighbors, or lit anyone’s property on fire.

They do go all out with decoration, face paint, clothes, jewelry, music, and food. They celebrate like no other I have ever seen around here and it is great.

So “Happy St. Patrick’s Day” to my extended fam.

And just to show my respect I will use some Irish Spring today! Oh yeah and hunny pass the Lucky Charms – mmm, magically delicious!

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

People and cars...

I love looking at old pictures of people and cars, and the older the better. I often wonder what it truly was like "back in the day". Was I born into the wrong generation?

In the pictures I take today I try to create that "look" that is lost with todays vehicles. You just cannot photograph "type X import tuner" the same way you can a chopped, shaved, nosed, decked, and channeled 1949 Mercury - I don't care how hot the girl in the microkini with the silicone enhancements is laying across the hood!

While this picture is not extremely old I just had to post it here.

Don't worry everyone, my dad will get it...


Ah yes it's that time of year again. The time of year when I find out I did not pay Uncle Sam enough.

I don't get it. Every year we with hold more and yet I still have to pay, wierd. This year we even bought a house and it did not help one bit.

Actually, I am beginning to think that guy at the freeway off ramp has a good gig. I might have to look into it...

And for all you procrastinators out there - 41 days and counting down.

Monday, March 3, 2008

It's been a few tough months in the car world...

We have seen the passing of so many "legends" lately. This weekend was no different. Sunday Lil' John Buttera passed away. He was a hot rod, builder, and racer. I remember model kits of his cars when I was younger. He was the leader of the "billet movement" in my opinion.

Here is an article I pulled off line:

NHRA News: Famed car builder Lil John Buttera dies (3/2/2008)

John Buttera, who left his stamp upon the drag racing world in the 1970s by building a series of winning Funny Cars and dragsters, created some of hot rodding's most beautiful street rods of the 1980s and 1990s, and built the first billet wheels, died March 2 after a long battle with cancer. He was 67.

Buttera began his career in his native Kenosha, Wis., when he teamed with Dennis Rollain to form R & B Chassis. They fielded a very light unblown fuel dragster, but a chance meeting with Mickey Thompson in the staging lanes at the U.S. Nationals lin the late 1960s led him to move to Southern California, changing his life forever.

After initially working for Thompson on his Ford-powered Land Speed Record streamliner, he built Thompson's blue Mustang Funny Car in which Danny Ongais dominated the 1969 season. He then opened his own chassis shop in Cerritos, Calif., where he built a radical streamlined dragster for Barry Setzer. His talents soon led such customers such as Don “The Snake” Prudhomme, Tom “The Mongoose” McEwen, Don Schumacher, and Shirley Muldowney to his door for both dragsters and Funny Cars. He built Schumacher's 1970 Indy-winning Funny Car, the Hot Wheels entries of Prudhomme and McEwen, the national record-setting Braskett & Burgin Vega, and many, many more.

Dragsters, Funny Cars, street rods, motorcycles and even Indy cars have all felt the touch of Buttera's innovation. Known for his exceptional craftsmanship, Buttera was involved in all areas of hot rodding.

Buttera brought the high-tech, billet era to street rodding, and was first to manufacture his own wheels and independent suspensions from machined aluminum. He also did extensive development work for Harley-Davidson motorcycles and even entered a stock block-powered car in the Indy 500 for which he received the 1987 Clint Brawner Mechanical Excellence Award.

Ironically, Buttera died just fours after the passing of his longtime good friend and hot rodding contemporary Boyd Coddington, who died Feb. 27 of liver failure at age 63.

Buttera is survived by his son Chris, daughter Leigh, son in law Ronnie Capps, granddaughter Katie, and grandson Max.

God speed Lil' John...

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