It seems like sometimes all that it takes to inspire me to write my monthly editorial is to think about some of the subtle ways that incoming new trends have a tendency to forever change the face of life as we know it.
I was on my way home from swimming at the gym when I decided to reward myself with a donut. I whipped my '66 short-wide Chevy into a Winchell's Donut House parking lot and walked inside to discover the place was packed with people also rewarding themselves with a donut. Based on the athletic attire most of them were wearing, my guess was they had also just left the gym to go for a quick self-administrated pat on the back. After a short wait in line, it didn't take me long to jump back into the '66 and head home with the big pink box of glazed jelly donuts riding at my side. Back at the pad, I poured a cup of home-brewed Starbucks and burrowed a spot on the couch in between my two dogs and turned on the TV.
A product of the '50s, I love television. I find it soothing and quite educational. There's a new TV commercial that just started running in Southern California that claims if every household replaced just five conventional tungsten element lightbulbs with the new type they are hawking, it would have the same effect as taking 400,000 automobiles off the road. These kind of statistics always fascinate me because they make my mind wander. If the lightbulb theory is true, then what about the recent news that these new flat-wide TVs suck up three times more electricity than the ones you can't buy anymore? Is replacing one's unfashionable old-style TV with a new trendy flat-wide one the same thing as adding three billion automobiles to our roads? Now what if the three billion automobiles we just added to the road were high-mileage Hondas with their famed reputation for burning excessive amounts of oil through worn-out valve guides?
Good golly, it's just mind-boggling. But of all the types of statistics that are thrown at us these days, my personal favorite is how many barrels of oil can be saved by switching to something else. For example, how many less barrels of oil can be consumed by tearing down a General Motors truck plant in Flint, Michigan, and building a new Nissan truck plant somewhere in Mississippi? I'm sure that with a little research I could find out on my own, but I don't have to because Subaru just launched a new TV ad campaign citing their green achievements. The commercial doesn't exactly say how many barrels of oil they are saving, but it was enough to sidetrack me and inspire me to investigate the meaning of what they meant by "zero landfill status." This is actually pretty cool; they are not the first guys to try to recycle everything a plant spits out as scrap. I think it was Henry Ford, but I do believe they are the first folks to achieve 100 percent status.
Well, I think we've covered enough ecological issues in this month's edition; let's move on to the fun stuff! I imagine it was the mention of green that motivated our new direction. The mere thought of the color green brought to mind all the trucks manufactured throughout the years that looked really good rolling off the assembly line in the right shade of green. Looking back, it's interesting how certain colors have gone in and out of favor. Unless one is talking about how they handled stock, a '57 Chevy isn't necessarily a truck, but it will help to illustrate my point about picking out the right color. I might have it out of order chronologically, but the first non-stock color I remember gaining mass popularity on a '57 Chevy was Competition Orange. All throughout the state of California in the mid-'60s, it seemed like not a day went by without spotting yet another '57 Bel-Air, 210, or 150 Chevy soaked in the citrus-like hue. Then, much like being overexposed to the "Macarena" or "Achey Breakey Heart," it was time for something new. The next color in line that worked really well on a '57 Chevy was British Racing Green-it covered over orange real good and made a '57 look just right. Skipping past another analogy, the following color that took off like a jet was Sparkletts Truck Green. That color looked so good that the factory Mopar guys knocked it off and used it on all their muscle-type cars.
Well, it's time to go, so I better explain that Hell's Nut House comes from a childhood memory of seeing a Winchell's Donut House neon sign with some letters burned out.-John Gilbert