Monday Escape: All-Original 1932 Packard Eight 900-Series Roadster

Unrestored, all-original 1932 Packard 900-Series

Here we have another stunner spotted at a Packard show. She’s all-original, even the paint—impressive for an automobile that’s nearing her 100th birthday. The ’32 Packard 900-Series is a very rare automobile; despite its flashy design (note the “shovelnose” grille) and its accounting for nearly half of Packard’s sales that year, the nearly-astronomical average price of $1,800 combined with the high cost of manufacturing the beautiful body resulted in the design’s being dropped by ’33.

1932 Packard 900 Series Roadster Coupe

This “Shovelnose Grille” makes the 900 immediately identifiable.

Packard sold just over 6,700 of these in its attempt to survive the Great Depression, which killed many great nameplates (including fellow “royal” luxury automobile marques Pierce-Arrow and Peerless). I’m not sure how many remain, though one did sell for over $100,000 in 2013. This particular Packard Eight 900-Series is a gem indeed—not only is she glamourous from nose to tail, the car has only logged 64,000 miles since her first owner in Connecticut to her fourth and present owner (so far as I know). Of the mere twenty-two coupe roadsters in the world’s Packard Club, this is the only one ‘living’ in Ohio.

It’s safe to say the man or woman who bought this 900 would go on to buy another Packard—while Packard led all luxury manufacturers with 33.6% of all car sales, Packard could really boast when it came to its returning customers; ninety percent of Packard buyers came back for more. As the old Packard slogan went: Ask the man who owns one.

Unrestored, all-original 1932 Packard 900-Series

Perhaps the first owner of this car listened to Jack Benny’s radio program, which had its debut in 1932—or perhaps, stopping along some quiet country road, the owners heard from a restaurant waitress or farmstand owner that the Lindbergh’s baby had been kidnapped, mourning for the American hero and his family even as they prayed Charles, Jr. would be safely recovered (alas, it was not to be). Continue reading

2014 Honeyfest

2014 Lithopolis Honeyfest

2014 Lithopolis Honeyfest: Guest Of Honour

A Guest of Honour!

You’ll probably remember my enthusiastic visit to last year’s Lithopolis Honeyfest; thus my returning for another go at it should come as no surprise.

The weather was much cooler this year than last, which made for a more comfortable but slightly busier spin through the booths, but despite my not really being fond of even smallish crowds, we had a good time, to say nothing of returning home with what shall probably prove to be more than enough local honey to get me through ’til next year’s Honeyfest.

2014 Lithopolis Honeyfest

Rogers Honey display.

I shall try to keep the yammering to a minimum, but wish to say once again: If you’re in the central Ohio area the weekend after Labor Day, Lithopolis’ Honeyfest is a must-visit!

2014 Lithopolis Honeyfest: May Clay Garden Toadstools

Hand-crafted pottery toadstools from May Clay Pottery, perhaps my favourite new find!

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Monday Escape: A Football Team Everyone Can Rally Behind

I have a little tradition this time of year, and there’s no reason not to continue it.

Traditioooonnnnn...Tradition! Even if you don’t like football (as you know, I can take it or leave it), it seems pretty safe to say just about everyone can cheerfully support Team Benedict in his annual start-of-the-football-season Collie Football photo, right? Granted, Team Ben is a one-collie-team, but…he’s a collie. If we’ve viewed the requisite number of Lassie movies or television shows and read the proper minimum of Albert Payson Terhune, we know how amazing collies are.

Have a great Monday (having seen this charming face, how could you not?)!

Grace In Motion

Friday Fairlane Taillight Indecision

Rocket, B&W

Rocket, B&W

Just a quick post today, since there’s much going on today (as always this time of year, with the harvest coming in). I’m sharing with you an example of something that happens to me often—I finish a photo two different ways, often quite different, and can’t decide which I like better!  Continue reading

Ivan Aivazovsky


American Shipping off the Rock of Gibraltar. Ivan Aivazovsky [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

As mentioned last week, I have recently found myself rather absorbed in looking at old paintings. The work of Russian painters is, it turns out, some of my favourite work, and one of the artists in particular—Ivan Aivazovsky—really impressed me with his skill.

Aivasovsky Ivan Constantinovich storm 1886 IBI

Storm. Ivan Aivazovsky [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Of course, Aivazovsky’s favourite subject matter, the sea, does not hurt—I like to think that my grandfather being a Navy man and lifelong boater is part of the reason for my predilection toward such works, and I did spend much of last fall and winter zipping through C.S. Forester’s Horatio Hornblower series (which is very good reading). I do think that artwork featuring the sea always fascinates, though, because it’s always moving, always alive and awake, even beneath a seemingly still surface. Moreover, the power of the sea is undeniable, something mankind has long taken advantage of but will never be able to bridle.

Perhaps we need to be reminded of our own tininess, and that is why we find ourselves drawn to such works?

Айвазовский И.К. Волна

Волна. Ivan Aivazovsky [Public domain or CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Regardless, to my eyes, Aivazovsky’s painting of the sea remain very, very much among the best of the genre.

Hovhannes Aivazovsky - The Ninth Wave - Google Art Project.jpg

The Ninth Wave, Aivazovksy’s most famous work.
“Hovhannes Aivazovsky – The Ninth Wave – Google Art Project” by Hovhannes Aivazovsky (1817 – 1900) (Russian) (Painter, Details of artist on Google Art Project) – jgHuL-7yxgrOSw at Google Cultural Institute, zoom level maximum. Licensed under Public domain via Wikimedia Commons.

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A cheerful excursion to the WV State Penitentiary!

West Virginia State Penitentiary, 1876-1995

Yes, nothing like a visit to a forbidding state penitentiary to start the weekend! I hope you’ve been behaving yourself.

West Virginia State Penitentiary

We happened by the former prison once again while returning from a visit to my doctor in, appropriately, West Virginia. Tours had ended by the time we arrived, but as it can be a long trip, we were happy for an excuse to stop and wander around the Moundsville, West Virginia landmark to stretch our legs.

Goofily enough, though Hubby and I lived in the wonderful Mountaineer State for many years, whenever we visited it was raining, so this was the first real opportunity I’ve had to photograph the six-foot-thick hand-carved sandstone Gothic Revival walls of the Penitentiary despite the rain that was threatening (what is it, Moundsville? Do you not like me?).

Aerial 8th Street

Aerial view, 8th St. Photo courtesy Willy Nelson, who has a nice set of Moundsville photos. CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Moundsville is named for the 2,000 year-old Adena/Hopewell people’s burial ground in the town’s center; part of the prison is rumoured to be built upon the burial ground, and the namesake burial mound is right across the street from the prison. Thus the men or women occupying cells at the Pen’s front had quite the concrete reminder of death added to the prison-life reminders.

Surrounding the prison, believe it or not, is the town of Moundsville itself—oodles of residences and small businesses, right across the street. As you can see from these aerial shots (circa 1950s-1970s, the date is uncertain), it’s a charming little all-American town! But there’s the state prison, big as life.

Aerial View of Moundsville 2

Note the prison at the upper right-hand corner. Aerial View of Moundsville 2, courtesy Willy Nelson. CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 From Nelson’s set of aerial views of Moundsville.

The Moundsville prison was birthed during an upheaval that shook the entire nation. Continue reading

Scott Burdick on Modern Art vs. Beauty

Briton Rivière - Aphrodite 02.jpg

Briton Rivière – Aphrodite 02″ by Briton Rivière – info: [1] – pic: [2]. Licensed under Public domain via Wikimedia Commons.

The state of contemporary art occasionally pops up as a topic here. To me, two necessary components art are truth and beauty, and the two are often very much intertwined. Would you not agree that Truth is a beautiful thing, though it often stings? Beauty is not always true (witness any actress who has put herself under the knife), of course, but it is terribly important—I would argue that beauty is, in fact, vital to man’s well-being. It it brings us joy and delight, it is ennobling, it can cause us to aspire—it has powerful effect upon our mind for good or ill (but that Beauty is so often an Achilles’ heel for mankind only serves to point to its importance to us).

If most of us very honest and unconcerned with others’ opinions (this rarely bothers me; I’m part O’Hara, so pulling punches is simply not my MO), few of us will call many modern art pieces “beautiful”. (Of course, we must be willing to pass judgment, just as we do when deciding whether or not something is good for us to eat.)

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