Simanaitis Says

On cars, old, new and future; science & technology; vintage airplanes, computer flight simulation of them; Sherlockiana; our English language; travel; and other stuff


THERE’S NEITHER reason nor rhyme in today’s offering. It’s just stuff that caught my eye and got squirreled away for a later date. Today’s the day.


The Personals, London Review of Books:


Me: …Of course I would, But I’m much happier single than with the wrong guy.

Dad: And you’re always working.

Me: Exactly.

Dad: You must meet interesting men at work?

Me: I do. But the ones my age tend to be married.

Dad: For now. But things change. (beat) People’s wives do die.

So please, if you remember the 1980s but not the 1950s, are intelligent, attractive and SINGLE, email before my dad saves up enough to pay a hitman. You could save an innocent woman’s life.”


A German company celebrates ZF’s 100th with a familiar friend: ZF Friedrichshafen is renowned for its transmissions, one of them cited at this website in “Tranny Talk.” This German company’s first products in 1915 were for airships and airplanes. ZF gearboxes for automobiles came in 1919, and today the name ZF is known around the world.

ZF’s 100th anniversary celebration brought congratulatory advertisements from other companies, including German specialist doubleSlash Net-Business GmbH. A BMW in the photo is likely recognized by many, but what about the aircraft?


My Microsoft Flight Simulator model of the Dornier Do 31 lifts off from Madeira.

Readers of this website might remember seeing it in “Some VTOL Aircraft.” It’s a Dornier Do 31, which also provided a fine subject for my flight sim modeling, even to its amazing real-life behavior in sim takeoff and landing.


Wpa Guide to America: The Best of 1930s America As Seen by the Federal Writers’ Project, edited by Bernard A. Weisberger, Pantheon, 1985.

The American Southwest: I continue to enjoy The WPA Guide to America, most recently encountered at this website in “Non-depressing Tales of the Great Depression.” Today’s nuggets from this book are about the American southwest.

From the guide: “Strolling leisurely along the street—a fast walker in Tucson is stared at with wonder—are bare-headed college men in corduroys or cowboy levis (bibless coveralls) and bare-legged college girls.”

I love the informal lack of 1930s decorum, no men’s hats, no women’s hosiery. Also, note the “cowboy levis,” this denin brand becoming a generic and its style in contrast to the bibbed variety familiar in depression-era farm photos.


The Southwestern States. Image from The WPA Guide to America.

I know first-hand an aspect of Arizona life cited in the book: its merciless sun. Wife Dottie and I are always amused when Phoenix friends wisely maneuver themselves into any shade, even of a telephone pole, even in winter.

The book recounts J. Ross Browne’s Adventures in the Apache Country, A Tour Through Arizona and Sonora: Browne found the winter climate “finer than that of Italy.” However, he wrote that “perhaps fastidious people might object to the temperature in summer, when rays of the sun attain their maximum force, and the hot winds sweep in from the desert.

“It is said,” Browne continued, “that a wicked soldier died here, and was consigned to the fiery regions below for his manifold sins; but unable to stand the rigors of the climate, sent back for his blankets.”

As a last item, being something of a pack rat myself, I was interested to learn more from the guide about these critters, “sometimes called trade rats from their habit of carrying off articles which they replace with a stick, a rock, or a piece of cactus.

“Slipping into camp they will take scissors, combs, socks, can opener, and any other articles that they are able to carry. These the rats invariably pay for in their own coin, and seem to think a pine cone for a razor is a fair exchange.

“Pack rats have probably been responsible for many unsolved mysteries in Arizona. Three prospectors all but dissolved partnership because of strangely missing articles; the success of a surveying project was threated when a pack rat absconded with the surveyor’s only ruler; and a miner just missed landing on six purloined sticks of his own dynamite when he jumped a stream near his claim.”

I believe I put those firecrackers somewhere around here. ds

© Dennis Simanaitis,, 2015

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