Friday, June 30, 2023

Friday Funnies

Could this be a place for animals to work out?
Just wondering . . .
This new health club recently opened in a Nashua, NH, shopping center. Before the name change, the location was formerly occupied by another gym called WOW (Work Out World). 

As fellow blogger, Sandra commented, the Zoo Health Club is a franchise. It has locations in 11 states (CO, FL, GA, LA, MT, NH, NJ, OR, PA, SC, TX). Most of these states only have 1-2 clubs, NH has 11 and is seconded by FL with 10. 

While many US states are under severe heat and or smoke advisories. Here in Nashua, NH, temperatures have been moderate with no smoke cautions. However, there's been a lot of rain in the past couple of weeks with more is on the way.
Enjoy the Weekend, Everyone
Hope your July 4th holiday is a good one

Thursday, June 22, 2023

Early Friday Funnies

Whoops, this is not an early April Fools' Day posting, but a case of not checking the Published On date, so Friday Funnies is on Thursday as several bloggers had already commented, by the time I noticed my gaffe (FYI, no ducks were harmed by early posting.)

Depending on where you live, this week marked the summer solstice and the first official day of summer 🥵for the Northern Hemisphere. For the Southern Hemisphere, it's the first day of winter ❄️. Thankfully, here in Nashua, NH, the week has been overcast and cool. Rain is forecast for part of the weekend and into next week.

After posting earlier this week about potential Google album archive issues, here's some levity. 

Sometimes, you have to get your ducks in a row.
Last year, there was a marked scarcity of Mallard Ducks on the river. This year, there's been upwards of a dozen or more along the Nashua River, but no duckling families. As you can see above there's many males and one female, so she has obvious choices. Hmmm, maybe the lone Canada Goose is her date?

Correction - there is NO goose in the above photo because as the saying goes: If it walks like a duck, looks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, it's a duck. But, the top one isn't a Mallard Duck like the others. It may be a cross between a Mallard and Black Duck.

Thanks to David G. for noticing my goof. Corrections are always appreciated and duly noted.

Enjoy Your Weekend, Everyone
Nashua Pride Parade is on Main Street, weather permitting

Wednesday, June 21, 2023

Wait & See . . .

Seems to have been the prevailing consensus among the fellow bloggers who received the email from the Google Album Archive Team that was cited in my previous post.

From comments received as this post, that opinion was evenly split among bloggers who received the email and those who didn't get it. 

A couple of bloggers said they were unaffected due to being on another platform or not using photos. Another commented about having downloaded blog photos into a zip file and that it worked.

One blogger commented that she had gone back to early blog posts and found there were now broken links in place of photos. 

It's also happened to me on blogs from years back. While, I could possibly go back and remedy this situation by adding back photos saved on external drives (many, but not all, have been saved) that task would be very time consuming. In truth, I'm not sure it would really matter. So, it's not something to be done. Going backwards is never as productive as moving forward. There are so many other things to do with that time.

And so, as noted in that earlier post, my position is also a wait & see one. Perhaps, this move will prove to have been unwise if ALL photos have broken links. While that would be unfortunate, it would, by no means, be a tragedy because there are far more important things in life as we all know. This blog is nothing more than a spot to share road trip adventures, family photos, fun things seen. It is not anything timeless.

Also, many thanks to those who left a comment and said they hoped I would not shut down the blog. Your support is very much appreciated. 

As fellow blogger Sue said: I would dearly hate to loose this format and all the friends I have made over the years. The same is true for myself and surely for many of you as well. The blog community consists of many friendships over many years.

Thanks, as always, for sharing what action you will or will not take. As for those bloggers who said they had not received a Google email, perhaps yours went into a trash folder as so many of my legit emails do. It's worth a check. The email was From: Album Archive and the subject: An Update to Album Archive.

Monday, June 19, 2023

Blogger Changes Coming?

Just wondering, how many other bloggers also received this email from Google in recent days?

You’re receiving this email because you’ve viewed Album Archive recently or you may have some content that is visible in Album Archive. Starting on July 19, 2023, Album Archive will no longer be available. We recommend that you use Google Takeout to download a copy of your Album Archive data before then.

Today, Album Archive lets you view and manage album content from some Google products within Album Archive. However, some content that’s only available in Album Archive will be deleted starting July 19 including

1. Rare cases like small thumbnail photos and album comments or likes
2. Some Google Hangouts data from Album Archive
3. Background images uploaded in the Gmail theme picker prior to 2018

If you would like to access this data, please make a copy of this data using Google Takeout. After Album Archive is no longer available, you can still use those Google products to view and manage some content directly – learn more.

Thank you, Your Album Archive team
So — Does receipt of this email mean images in blog posts need to be exported very soon . . . so many ?s

This concern led to an hour or so of online sleuthing this weekend and then to the Blogger Help Community. The first post below by User 5777573509985063752 was labeled as a trending issue, as expected, it resulted in numerous comments from other Google users and replies from Adam, a Diamond Product Expert. (The user IDs are exactly as posted in the Help community.) Some of the longer comments have been shortened.

Blogger and Google Album Archive closing, w
here are Blogger photos stored?
Google Album Archive is closing in a few weeks. Just looked in there and it seems that’s where all Blogger pictures are stored. Does that mean on the 19th we won’t have any pictures on any of our blogger blogs? Or is that just a backup and the blog photos the blogs use are stored elsewhere?

Adam, Diamond Product Expert:
There are, understandably, a number of questions about this today, so I have merged them into this rollup thread. A new storage scheme is in the works. This transition is supposed to happen automatically; we'll see how that goes. Some images may need to be moved "manually," which means downloading them (if you need to) and uploading them again.

Google will notify you of any images that need manual action. Google clearly expects to be able to do this automatically for most images and has done that once before, when it moved Blogger images from Picasaweb into the Album Archive.

If you only need to download a small number of images, your browser probably has a "save image as" option. Otherwise, you can use Google Takeout. Beware of images uploaded from old accounts you may have forgotten about. Especially if the email of record for an old account is out of date (so that you will not see Google's notification).

We do not know today how clear the documentation from Google will be about describing affected images. It will probably be easier to replace things manually before the original image is deleted and it can be used as a marker and guide.

It may be too early to say "your blog isn't impacted by the changes." I just mean that I read that as "your blog isn't impacted by the changes" yet.  Apparently, a new storage scheme is in the works:

That said, a month's notice seems short for something like this.

User 9087340934809438:
Once archive is gone, and as Adam mentioned,  mostly no manual intervention by a blogger user is necessary (hopefully that is true as I also have thousands of photos embedded in the blog), where are the photos stored after that and against which storage quota does it count?

Adam, Diamond Product Expert:
Re: against which storage quota does it count?
That's an awfully good question, because the help page is silent on that issue.  I am going to cross my fingers and hope that the images won't count at all against storage, which is, after all, the status quo.

User 9353:
We should have an idea of what amount of broken links we have to expect. I have uploaded over 5,000 photos on my blog since 2013. Even if a small percentage of these pictures need manual intervention, that will take a lot of time to fix it.

User 12992456061150136430:
Similarly to 9353 I have thousands of photos that are ostensibly in the Album Archive and are linked in blog entries dating back to 2004. I have over 11,00 blog entries and any requirement for manual intervention is a non-starter.

Adam, Diamond Product Expert:
@9353, my suggestion is not to buy trouble in advance. I think Google expects to convert everything automatically and that failures will be rare.

We don't have information about what factors might be problematic for Google, and I suspect they do not know either, that they are preparing for the possibility that issues will emerge during implementation.

I suppose, and this is just my speculation, that it would be a good idea to "future proof" your blog, especially if it is very old.  What I mean is that if you started your blog before 2007 and never converted it to a Google account, it might be wise to do that.

Google says: Where possible, old image URLs on your blog are now converted to the new format. There may be some images where we can’t move to the new format automatically. 

I assume the tense this is written in may not yet be correct, that the conversion has not happened yet for many people. It hasn't for me.

There's no mention of any of that in the email that Google sent out to everybody with images in the Album Archive. The Archive includes images from many other sources besides Blogger, and the generic email did not enumerate every case.

User 1891572831468108221:
This would be great if Google were mentioning that blogger photos will be migrated automatically before asking the users to archive the images.

User JP1234567890;
Thanks for this summary, Adam. The blog I'm most concerned about is 17 years old with thousands of photos. For now I'm trying to decide if I have a huge job ahead. The thing I don't understand is in the document you linked to, "a new storage scheme is in the works: 

It ends by saying: "Tip: If the link isn’t visible, your blog isn’t impacted by the changes."

My question is which link. Does this mean that, in Step 4: Navigate to Manage blog > Manage unsupported image URLs.

If there is no "Manage unsupported image URLs" link underneath Manage blog,  does it mean my blog isn't impacted by the changes?

As shown in the above exchanges, this is an issue concerning many Google users and bloggers, myself included. It seems that not even
 a product expert can anticipate what will happen. 

Mt situation (and maybe yours) is like the users above who commented about long-running blogs with lots of images. Our blog has been going for just over a dozen years with most likely thousands of images.

That said, I am not planning to export any images, but will adopt a wait and see what happens next position. If that means that images are deleted from the blog by mid-July, perhaps that could be the time to shut it down. Should that happen, know that meeting blogger friends online (and some in person) has been wonderful. Meanwhile, I will be just waiting to see what happens.

Your turn — if you've received this email — What action, if any, do you plan to take?

Friday, June 16, 2023

Friday Funnies

Sometimes, you can find the a very unexpected image when walking outdoors. Like this one was spotted on a street in downtown Nashua, NH.

I've titled it Ringer as it reminded me of a game (not horseshoes).  As always, please feel free to add your own title in the comments below.
It's a ringer
This scene reminded me of a game called quoits, which some may or not be familiar with today. It involved throwing rings over a set distance, usually to land over or near a spike (also called a hob, mott or pin). A ring encircling the hob scores two points for the thrower; a ring closer to the hob than an opponent’s scores one. Rings can be made of metal, rope or rubber.

The game is thought to have played in Roman-occupied Britain (1st to 5th century), or may have been developed in medieval Britain when peasants heated and bent horseshoes into rings and tossed them at iron pegs driven into the ground. Later, horseshoe pitching became the more popular game in the United States and Canada.

Although I can remember playing this game in childhood, Grenville said he was not familiar with it and only played horseshoes. How about you—did you ever play a game of quoits?

Enjoy Your Weekend, Everyone
A rainy weekend is forecast in Nashua, NH

Thursday, June 15, 2023

A Mall of Cars

The post title is not very imaginative or creative, but after thinking about it for way too long, my decision was to just go with what this post is all about—a LOT of cars. This post is a(nother) photo overload, but with so many classics on display, it was unavoidable.

Our late May trip to PA, in addition to family visits, included two train rides and a stop at a private car museum (previously posted about)All required an admission fee. And, we also saw another car collection at Classic Auto Mall in Morgantown, PA. While this former mall isn't a museum, it has more cars on display than some auto museums.
Classic Auto Mall is a former mall in Morgantown, PA
Did I mention it's Free, very large and completely indoors so there's no worries about the weather outside, no matter what the season.
The ex-mall interior is completely filled with cars, walkways and former storefronts
Unlike auto consignments that only offer online inventory, Classic Auto Mall is a car museum and sales floor showroom for well-used and some one-of-a kind vintage cars. Located on 8 acres, this 336,000-square foot facility has over 600 vehicles on consignment with floor space for up to 1,000 vehicles.  
 Styling and colors were real stand-outs
Here's a size comparison: In 1910, Penn Station in NYC was 8 acres; this facility is the size of that former station. Another way to describe the size is that it equals six football fields.
Hood ornaments were very distinctive in years past
What is always amazing to see is how autos years ago were so much more stylistic and even colorful than modern cars now when one looks the same as another. Today's cars have more plastic and fiberglass parts compared to the metal on most vintage autos. 

Opened in 1985 as a clothing outlet mall, this building was later a furniture outlet mall. Closed in 2011, it was empty for years. Its past history can be seen on furniture signs displayed above showroom windows; even one for a former Food Court.
Car rears are interesting too; the Olds Rocket 88 (middle) was touted as a muscle car
Finding the vacant mall, two partners each had a goal: One needed storage space for a large private collection, the other wanted to start a business. They agreed to accomplish both.
Trucks were as unique as automobiles in both color and styling
Classic Auto Mall opened in early 2018 and according to the website has sold more than 1,200 vehicles on over 60 websites worldwide as well as through the showroom and on the auto mall's website. Walk-in customers are welcome to visit and check out vehicles up for sale. If you're just visiting to see the collection, like ourselves, you can stay as long as you want. 

These car fronts are just a representative look at many amazing designs
The barn find collection (
vehicles found in barns or garages) has about 400 classic autos and trucks from the early 1900s and later. Some have been restored, others remain in the same condition as found. None of these vehicles are for sale.  
There were many vintage trucks and tractors in the collection
Owners can store and offer a car for sale with no upfront or monthly fees for an initial 90-days. When it sells, the owner pays a 10% commission. Most cars come from a 300-mile radius; some are consigned from as far away as CA and TX. According to what I read, about 95 percent of sales are from Internet traffic. 
Street rods were represented in a large floor display; all were for sale
When a car arrives, it's brought into a dedicated garage to be checked over, then brought into a a dedicated auto photo studio. Pictures are taken and every detail is shown, including any rust, dings or dents. Every vehicle gets a detailed write-up that outlines its history.  
Every bit of floor space and showrooms had vintage vehicles
The facility and grounds have ample space for indoor and outdoor events, like car shows and car club meets. A 28-acre paved, lined and lighted parking lot has space for 2,500 vehicles.

Stringo® vehicle mover
We wondered how cars were moved around the mall because while there's a lot of floor space, most of it is filled with neatly aligned vehicles. We learned that inventory changes daily and about 20 cars are added every week. This can make moving them a challenge.

Cars are moved using a heavy-duty Stringo® vehicle mover with a single person operating it. Engines are never started as the mover and operator guides cars in and out of tight spaces, keeping the indoor space free from auto emissions.

The auto mall four wings facing north, south, east and west, all filled with vehicles. There's an estimated $4 million worth of vehicles in the east wing alone. While some museum pieces are roped off, most cars are openly displayed on the floor space.
So many to see that it was difficult to select a favorite color or style
The Classic Auto Mall also houses player pianos, wooden carousel horses and a giant, working Wurlitzer music box from a carousel, but it wasn't playing during our visit.
This 1973 Straightly was a most unusual auto
This 1973 one-of-a-kind Straightly was custom built for a never-released film, The Daughter of Bonnie & Clyde, based on a novel by Layton Brent. Despite being advertised in Variety and the media the film did not make it to theaters. This custom body consists of aircraft aluminum on a 1955 Chrysler chassis. The car was in CA for years and previous owners are said to include Hugh Hefner and Steve McQueen. It's now up for sale at a price of $46,000. 
While his car was in the auto mall, Batman was not around
The Batmobile was another unusual vehicle. It was displayed in a roped-off area, so a closer look was not possible. As far as I could determine, this one was not for sale. 

Grenville is more into cars than myself, but nevertheless I found this auto mall a more than interesting look at cars that were once not only modes of transportation, but beautifully designed. This stop was an unexpected "find" and definitely worth the visit. 

Classic Auto Mall is every day, except Sunday, and located at 6180 Morgantown Road, Morgantown, PA, if you're planning a future road trip. This stop was an unexpected "find" but definitely worth the visit. A car aficionado would easily spend hours here.

We've experienced trains and autos recently. Our next mode of transport will be by air as we're traveling (further) in late fall.

I will catch up on blog reading over the next few days as we spent the past weekend visiting family in RI.

Friday, June 9, 2023

Friday Funnies

This was one of the sculptures being worked on during the recent Sculpture Symposium in Nashua, NH. The sculptor is Jim Larson, a NH native and director of the Nashua International Sculpture Symposium.
While I don't know what its actual name will be when completed, that didn't prevent me from thinking—Open Wide or Feed MeAs always, feel free to add any in the comments.
The above photos show Larson working on the sculpture, which will be placed in an outdoor setting as previous the symposium sculptures have been in locations throughout Nashua. He also told me that  this pice would be placed at an angle and sunk into the ground to resemble a monster's mouth. The large teeth will be reinforced with steel rods. 

Enjoy the Weekend, Everyone
We're visiting family in RI and CT; blog visits resume next week

Tuesday, June 6, 2023

PA Cars Have Muscle

Imagine having your own personal collection of high performance cars and building a barn-like museum to house them. 
Barry's Car Barn in Intercourse, PA
It's not something, most folks could do, but that's what Barry Baldwin, a 70+ year old Lancaster County native, businessman and entrepreneur did that. InApril 2021, he opened a classic car museum in the small town of Intercourse, PA, featuring American muscle and sports cars from the 1950s to 1970s plus vintage autos, motorcycles, and car-related items. 

While Grenville is more the car aficionado than myself, I've always enjoyed seeing vintage autos. The expression they don't build them like they used to really applies to all these cars.
This museum was a stop on our PA road trip in May
This museum was a planned stop on our May anniversary road trip to PA. We bypassed it at first as although it's far from a small building, it's set back from Old Philadelphia Pike with no signage at a short driveway leading to it. There is a $13/person admission for this private museum. That expense balanced out as the same day we visited a larger and free auto collection, just 15 miles away (more in a future post).
Panoramic of car barn interior
There's more to see in this car museum than unique vintage autos. Walls are covered in gas company signs and other memorabilia with a number of free-standing vintage gas pumps too.
Gas company logos cover the museum walls
The red Pegasus flying horse logo above was used by Mobil starting in 1934 with ads boasting: A new sign rises to guide America's car owners to the gasoline and service they want. It remains among the most recognized corporate symbols in American petroleum history.
Vintage motorcycles include Harley Davidson, Indian and Triumph models
We didn't do a count, but there's over 50 cars in the barn, all visible down two main aisles, this includes 15 Chevrolet Corvettes, a row of Ford Shelbys, street rods, vintage 1930s autos and rare motorcycles like these Indians, Harley Davidsons, and Triumph.
Baldwin, who has owned cars from when he could legally drive, bought his first collectible car in the 1960s.  His interest in cars dates from working at his father's car repair and gas station in Gap, PA. That station was started in 1922 and is still in the Baldwin family. 
Lineup of Chevrolets, including many Camaro models
Of course, collecting vintage cars is not an inexpensive venture, so it helps if you own a large company. Baldwin heads an electrical and mechanical contracting business with six PA locations and several hundred employees. 
A good looking vintage sports car in the collection
Reportedly, Baldwin doesn't look for specific vehicles and instead buys unrestored, partially and fully restored cars that he likes. While he's also sold cars, his goal is to showcase the collection in this museum.In addition to the ones displayed here, there's more stored elsewhere in various states of restoration. Future plans are to rotate vehicles as they're ready to be shown here.
Two convertibles: Vintage Mercury coupe and Jaguar sports car
Admittedly, my knowledge of muscle cars is very limited, but I learned that most were known for having powerful engines and a broad, boxy shape. 
Chevrolet Impala and Pontiac GTO models
The muscle car term is often used for mid-1960s and early 1970s special editions of mass-production cars designed for drag racing. The term usually applies to a two-door, rear-wheel-drive, small to midsize car with a large, powerful eight-valve (V8) engine. It entered the general vocabulary through car magazines and automobile marketing and came into general use for performance-oriented street cars.
Grenville and 1958 Chevy Bel Air
Grenville was excited to find a 1958 Chevrolet Bel Air. He once owned a 1956 model in the same Nassau Blue color. This GM model debuted in 1950 and was produced by General Motors from 1950 to 1975. The car was named after a wealthy Bel Air neighborhood in Los Angeles, CA. Models were distinguished by the Bel Air name script in gold lettering.

The popular Bel Air was part of an entire series of top of the line Chevy hardtops, sedans and convertibles along with the Nomad, 210, and 150 models. Consumers had made Chevrolet the top auto maker and Bel Air was at the core of Chevrolet's popularity. 

Ad for Olds 88 Rocket engine
It was interesting to learn that the first U.S. muscle car was introduced in our birth year, 1949 when General Motors introduced the Oldsmobile Rocket 88 car in January, named after its engine design.

The powerful new V8 rocket engine in the Olds 88 was designed by American inventor and engineer Charles Kettering. His design was aimed at putting a big engine in a smaller car at an affordable price, and it succeeded. It hit the highways in 1949 with a starting price of under $4,000.

America’s first muscle car had a streamlined design and body style, termed FuturamicThe “Rocket” name which some GM executives disliked was so popular that the Olds 88 was produced until 1999. Collectors have bid up to $100,000 for a 1949 model at some auctions.
Vintage car ads for 1949 Oldsmobile Rocket 88
The Olds Rocket 88 could be purchased with a deluxe trim package that added chrome and a clock, but cost up to $100 more for a radio. The 1949 model had a top speed of 97 mph and coupled sports car performance with the usability of a family car. It featured modern post-war styling and soon became the brand’s best-selling model. (Some Olds 88 facts: The Rocket-powered Olds inspired a popular slogan, Make a Date with a Rocket 88. The song, Rocket 88, recorded by Jackie Brenston and the Delta Cat, reached #1 on the Billboard R&B chart and is often cited as the first rock & roll record.)
Chevrolet Corvette line-up
On one side of the museum is a pristine row of Chevrolet Corvettes, which are not muscle cars, despite some misconceptions. Corvettes are sports cars, super lightweight with an aerodynamic design and fiberglass construction. Unlike muscle cars which focus more on power, they bank on speed and a more refined design. The Corvette line of two-door, two-seater luxury sports cars has been manufactured and marketed by GM, under the Chevrolet marque, since 1953.
1954 and 1955 Chevrolet Corvette models
The top photo shows a 1954 Corvette with a hand-molded fiberglass white body. If you look close at its fender, you can see the weave of the fiberglass material under the paint. Below it is an almost identical 1955 model, but with a machine-pressed fiberglass body and a V8 engine. 
1956 Chevrolet Corvette
This nearby 1956 aquamarine Corvette is as great-looking as when its first owner drove it off a showroom floor.
Line-up of mostly Ford Mustang Shelby cars
One side of the museum features an entire line ↑ of iconic Ford cars, most are Mustang Shelby muscle cars with a couple of Ford Thunderbirds too. The Shelby Mustang is a high-performance variant of the Ford Mustang and has a large engine as modified by the late Carroll Hall Shelby, an automotive designer, race driver and entrepreneur who established Shelby American. (The most expensive car here is reportedly a 1967 Shelby 500 which Baldwin has estimated to be valued between $175,000 to $275,000. Sorry, there's no photo.)
Chevrolet Chevelle SS
The 1970 Chevrolet Chevelle LS6 is only one of 4500 that were produced. It includes a 450HP V8 which was the most powerful engine produced that year. Its owner paid an added $263 for the bigger motor, and it makes the car worth $80-$90,000 today.
1931 Ford Model A and 1947 Mercury Woodies
There are two woodies in Baldwin's collection: the 1931 Ford Model A (top) is only one of 851 produced. This model was the Ford company's second big success after the Model T. Below, the 1947 Mercury station wagon was an eight-passenger station wagon which at the time was the most expensive model in the Mercury lineup, selling for $2,207 (imagine that). (A woodie is the term applied to a wood-bodied automobile either made of wood or styled to resemble wood elements, that was a popular station wagon type in the 1930s-40s) 
Two restored street rods
The automobiles on display span numerous makes and models like these two street rods. Some retain original parts; others have been fitted with updated conveniences like backup cameras and remote locks.
Grenville and Packard similar to one his grandfather owned in NJ
While I didn't find any cars that were owned by members of my family, Grenville found a second one. This beautiful Packard was similar to one that his grandfather owned and drove for his limo service in South Orange, NJ.

Eventually, the car barn will house a second-floor brew pub and restaurant that will overlook the display floor. Now, it's the museum that attracts tourists and residents. Many have either owned a car like one in the collection or know someone who did, like Grenville. Others, like myself, enjoy seeing these vintage motorcars which someone else had the funds to assemble.

If you're traveling in the Lancaster area, Barry’s Car Barn is at 3504 Old Philadelphia Pike, Intercourse, PA (PA Route 340) opposite the popular Kitchen Kettle Village, which will make it easier to find for anyone else.