Friday, February 13, 2015
Wycombe, Pennsylvania is a history buff’s delight.
It’s a small Victorian town about 28 miles north from center City Philadelphia. I visited last October.
Founded in 1891 when the railroad line came through, it literally sprung up over just 20 years time, until about 1915.
Most of the original buildings are still intact, leading to a National Historic designation in 1985.
A visit here is like stepping back in time.
The Wycombe train station is of special interest to me because my great-grandfather was station master here.
I have faint memories of him, but it’s not possible to remember him as the station master because the railroad ceased to run in 1953 when I was still a baby.
But I visited until college and thinking back,
I remember this station very well.
This small Victorian building from 1891 is locally beloved and was restored in 2008-2009.
My Mother remembers doing her homework as a little girl inside the round stationmaster‘s office.
Today it’s a tourist railroad to New Hope, restoring service on this line over 60 years later.
Thursday, February 12, 2015
Sweden is an old country with traditions
reaching back centuries.
Dagens Nyheter, a daily newspaper founded in 1864, asked local politicians if Ramadan is a “Swedish tradition.”
Did they suggest the Summer Solstice festival, perhaps?
How about the August festival for eating crayfish and fermented herring since the early 1500’s?
Well, surely the festival of St. Lucia, celebrated since the Middle Ages.
Uh-uh. Actually, no.
And this is not a joke.
In a survey taken by a prominent Swedish daily, the politicians to be politically correct and likely fearful for their lives, stated with a straight face that “Ramadan is a Swedish tradition.”
Wednesday, February 11, 2015
We’ve all heard of the 24 hour race at Le Mans, France,
but do you know about its history?
It’s the oldest sports car endurance race in the world,
first run in 1923.
24 hours straight of high speed competition balances a car’s ability to run without mechanical failure with parts that do wear out or can run dry, like tires, brakes, fuel and lubrications.
The race is run on a composite closed circuit of public roads and racetrack sections, to really allow the cars to show their stuff.
Three drivers share the wheel today, but in the early years some drivers tried to do the entire race themselves to save the time of switching pilots.
This didn’t always work out so well.
A spectacular crash in the 1955 race killed more than 80 spectators along the highway.
The Le Mans start was famous for the driver sprint across the track, then slipping in, buckling up, starting the engine and roaring away without any assistance from the pit.
This red 1966 Ferrari 275 Gran Turismo Berlinetta was the class winner in 1967, but it was different from other cars.
For one thing, the 3.3 liter V engine had 12 cylinders and was positioned way back in the long nose for near perfect weight distribution.
For another, Ferrari designed this versatile machine to be ferocious on the race track but easily capable of a pleasant jaunt to the country club, making it a favorite among collectors.
Ferrari holds the top five spots in collector value, with this particular auto today worth almost USD $4million.
The next race is June 13-14.
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