Sunday, February 27, 2011

Test Drive: Ferarri California!

Hi folks -- Ed Garten, I wish you were here!

Thanks to friend, collaborator, and former San Diego Automotive Museum Curator Rebecca Morales, I had a special treat on the beautiful North San Diego County afternoon today. Perhaps because Rebecca had at one time organized a Ferrari exhibit a the museum, or who knows what else, she was invited to a special Ferrari test drive at a resort (Rancho Valencia) north of San Diego. I went along, and though a bit of luck, also got a test drive of the Ferrari California. It was a special event that featured champagne and appetizers, and a only a few people were invited. Peasants rarely get in the door here, but somehow I managed without pretending that I was a member of the custodial or service staff.

After signing a release and having my license checked, I was on my way with co-driver and professional driver Nicholas Kunewalder. While waiting my turn I had the most delightful conversation with Nick's mother, who really is a fascinating and lively individual. While Rebecca drove a red Ferrari (what else?), I drove a gray model with a tan stitched leather interior. Nick let me drive the car as I liked, up and down shifting with paddle shifters that were a blast to use once I got accustomed to them. There is no clutch pedal on this car. It has a top speed of 193 mph, and as Nick said, the car costs $1000 per mph, or $193k. Actually, with a few options it normally comes out to $204k, but if you ask maybe that is a tip off that you really can't afford this car.

The ride was terrific, extremely tight, and of course downshifting while passing was remarkable. The beauty of this car is how easy it is to drive and how comfortable it is. I could easily see one driving this car cross-country (back to Ohio, Kaye?), and you could not do that with ease in any previous Ferrari model without feeling it a bit.

Nick has a passion for safety and driver education. He feels strongly that students should take a real driving course, not taught by a shop teacher but by someone who knows the art of driving. If this were to happen, fatalities among the young would decrease markedly. I agree wholeheartedly -- let's get real driver ed in the schools before another young person dies needlessly.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Jack Kerouac as a Prophet in On the Road: Arabs Coming to New York to Blow it up.

Hi folks -- my students are always teaching me something new, and that is clearly the case with this bunch at the University of San Diego this term. On Thursday a written review of On the Road was due in class and we had a discussion about that assignment. What surprised me was that a number of students had picked out of the book a sentence form page 117 of the Penguin edition:"Dean had a sweater wrapped around his ears to keep warm. He said we were a band of Arabs coming in to blow up New York." (p.117).

How in God's name did Kerouac have the foresight to use this kind of language and idea within the context of the early 1950s? Was it because of terrorism surrounding the founding of Israel? Any comments here would be appreciated!

Thanks to USD student Jennifer Chase for pointing this out in class and then following through by finding the passage.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Two Blue Supras -- a USD "auto" biography -- Jake Zawlacki

Hi folks -- as an aside -- some of the students I have in my current class at the University of San Diego are among the most interesting I have ever had -- and that certainly includes Jake. We share a common passion for going to Pick and Pull junk yards, and working on cars. The following is Jake's tale of two Toyota Supras.

Jake Zawlacki
Heitmann HIST
Feb 1, 2011

The Two Blue Supras

My Auto-Biography includes the tales of two cars, both 3rd generation Toyota Supras. My whole life I’ve been interested in cars. With the upbringing of grandpas who have old Willys and T-Birds, it’s not hard to see why. As a kid I would look at the gloss black Model A, the torn apart Model T, and the Hot Rodded 41 Willys all with the same eyes of awe. I couldn’t wait to buy my first car which ended up being a 72 Dodge Dart, but that’s a whole other story. After my adventure with the Dart, I (aka my mother) thought that it was time to get a car that would be reliable and more economical.
I must admit that I was lucky in that I was able to have a project car alongside a family truck that I could use when the car was apart. Once the Dart was gone, I bought a Dark Blue 87 Toyota Supra. It was pretty rough, and I really mean rough. The interior was shot. The previous owner thought that duct tape was aesthetically pleasing to the eye, so the steering wheel, center console, and door panels were covered in it. The paint was ok, except for the dents which were rusted and the broken plastic bumpers. The engine ran, which was all that I needed, so I bought it.
That was mistake number one. If the outside of a car looks rough, assume that the internals are rough as well. Within a month of owning the car it had a blown headgasket, a problem that has plagued third generation Supras since their creation. With the headgasket blown and being in undriveable condition, I had to see if it was worth fixing. In the end, my dad and I did replace the headgasket. This leads to mistake number two; not changing the oil after replacing the headgasket. I realize that this is a horribly novice mistake when working with engines but I’ll plead the fifth. My dad swears to me that he told me to do it, but like so many other things my parents say, I must have accidentally tuned them out.
If you know anything about engines, it’s that running an engine with low or bad oil ends in a truly catastrophic failure. And that’s exactly what happened. One night after a night with friends I decided it would be fun to try a burnout in the middle of the street. Mind you I was not under the influence of anything except the desire to burn some rubber. From a dead stop I mashed the pedal to the floor to hear a loud exhaust growl which ended in a consistent knocking sound… rod knock. I had never heard it before, but it’s hard to deny what is so distinct.
However, like the phoenix, the death of this Supra was resurrected through another. Luckily, I found a pretty cheap nonrunning Light Blue 88 Supra that wasn’t too far away from me. I went and looked at it, and picked it up for $600. This car was in surprisingly good shape with a nice interior and some good paint. This was a much better starting point than the first. That summer I managed to combine the good parts of the two cars and make one good looking Supra. I rebuilt the engine, new sound system, cleaned up and new interior pieces, painted body parts that where fading, and some new wheels and tires. Although everything I just mentioned fit into one sentence, it took about 3 months and is still an ongoing project.
I’ve learned more about cars from two Toyota Supras than I had from watching others work on them. To put your own time and energy into an automobile is something special because you are rewarded by it every time you turn the ignition. This Auto-Biography may not be as interesting as a road trip or something of the sort but it is the most memorable thing that I have about automobiles. My Supra has been running ever since with only one blown headgasket since the rebuild (one too many I might add), but I drive it every day to school and back. The story of The Two Blue Supras may be done but my Auto-Biography will be one that goes on as long as my own engine is still running.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Another Excellent USD "Auto" Biography -- Olivia Saladino & her Ford Explorer

Olivia Saladino
The Automobile & American Life
Dr. John Heitmann
February 1, 2011
Some of my most vivid childhood memories involve cars. When I was around five or six years old, I would anxiously wait for every evening when my Dad would let me “drive” the car into the garage. He would park his car in the driveway when he got home from work, and then come upstairs to get me so that I could drive the car into the garage. He would sit me on his lap as he sat in the driver's seat, and I would help steer the car and “drive” it into the garage. This became such an exciting nightly activity that my brother and I began to fight over who would get to “drive” the car into the garage every night. Sometimes my Dad would have to drive the car into the garage twice just so that my brother and I would both get a turn.
Another prominent memory I have involving a car is not so positive. I was about eight or nine years old and my Mom was driving my brother and I to ride the carousel at the mall, one of our favorite weekend activities. We were taking the scenic route to the mall, driving up Highway 1, or PCH as we call it. As we were driving through Laguna Beach in my Mom's mini-van, we hit the usual Saturday traffic. As my Mom was driving around a curve, the traffic suddenly stopped. She was able to stop without hitting the car in front of us, but the car behind us was not so lucky. I will never forget the sound of the mini-van being rear-ended. My younger brother, being only five or six years old at the time, was so startled by this noise that he began to cry. I had never been in any kind of car accident before, so I still had no idea what was going on.
“Mommy, what happened?” I asked.
“Oh my God, I can't believe this. Doesn't he know I have kids in the car?!?” My mom was angrily saying to herself.
“Mommy, what's going on?” I repeated. My Mom continued to angrily mutter to herself and did not respond. It was at this moment that it finally hit me that we had gotten into a car accident. I remember this moment very clearly because it was then that I got really scared and began to cry. The only thing I knew about car accidents was the few I had seen on T.V. when my parents were watching the news, and that they were scary. I also still remember the poor sixteen year old boy who hit us that day. He was a blonde surfer dude and I still remember how nervous he looked when he walked up to my Mom's window to apologize. My Mom was very upset that he had scared my brother and I so badly, so she really let him have it. I remember her yelling at him so loudly that it only made my brother and I cry harder. By the time they exchanged insurance information and filed a police report, my brother and I no longer felt like riding the carousel. Looking back on this memory now makes me laugh, but at the time it was very traumatizing. I was afraid to ride in a car for months after this incident, and it wasn't even a very bad accident.
Thankfully, my relationship with cars drastically changed when it came time for me to get my driver's license. When I was fifteen, I got my learner's permit. I was so excited to learn to drive, but a little concerned that it was going to have to be in my Mom's mini-van. My parents had been looking into getting a new car for the family, so I was able to talk them into letting me help pick it out so I could use it to learn to drive. I decided I wanted an SUV. My parents took me to test drive a Nissan Xterra, a Toyota Highlander, and a Honda C-RV, but none of them felt like the one. Finally we went to the Ford dealership and test drove an Explorer. I immediately fell in love with the car. I loved how high up I was and how smooth the ride was for an SUV. I really wanted a white one with tan interior, but my parents ended up choosing the more practical silver with dark grey interior. It has definitely grown on me. I was able to take my driving test in the Explorer, and I passed only missing three points. From there my real appreciation for my Explorer began. Having my own car gave me such a sense of freedom, and I loved it. The time alone listening to music in my car driving to and from school each day was an amazing new experience. I loved the freedom my car gave me to go places with my friends. However I did not experience true freedom with my Explorer until I took it to college with me. When I was still living at home, my parents would borrow my car whenever they wanted. Although I called the Explorer “my” car, it did not feel like mine with my parents using it whenever they wanted. When I got to drive my car from Dana Point to USD, the one hour trip was the longest I had ever driven alone. It was so liberating. It was from that point on that I truly felt that my Explorer was my own personal space that could take me wherever I wanted to go. I love my Explorer and I hope it stays with me for many more years.

A Fabulous USD "Auto" Biography -- Morgan Schwanke and an Accident He Will not Forget!

Morgan Schwanke
The American Automobile
Professor Heitmann
An Accident to Remember
When I saw the car in front of us swerve and fly across the center divide I knew immediately the outcome would be ominous. The accident happened right off Mission Boulevard in Mission Beach last spring, and my friend and I were the unfortunate witnesses of the tragic event. It was a nice, sunny day and my buddy and I were driving back to school for our afternoon classes with music playing and the windows down. I heard the sharp shriek of a breaking car, a sound I had heard before and knew was followed by the horrible crunch of a collision. There was a pause…where things seemed to go silent and I attentively listened. But as we turned the bend in the road I saw two cars collide head on followed by a massive explosion of sound and aluminum shrapnel. I had a sinking feeling as I saw the fronts of the cars in slow motion push against each other and the back tires of the cars rise up in the air and then fall back to the ground. From there on out everything seemed to be a blur.
We pulled our car over and were the first people to run over to the accident. Adrenaline and fear kicked into my body; half of me knew I needed to help in anyway I could and half of me was so scared by the scene I saw. As I got to one of the cars, I clearly remember the engine still on sputtering with smoke coming out of it, fluid leaking onto the ground, and a man with blood all over his face having a seizure. I didn’t know what to do, so I put my hand inside the car and turned it off while in complete shock and fear of the driver convulsing. I opened the door of the car and my friend and I just looked at each other not knowing whether or not to leave him in his seat in case he had serious broken bones or move him out of the car. As my friend stood next to the man, I looked around to the other car as the other drive stumbled out of his car onto the grass next to the road. Flames on the ground caught my eye from what must have been gasoline on the ground and the immediate image of cars exploding in action movies I have seen engrossed my mind. I told my friend that we needed to get both drivers out of the cars and far away from the accident because one of the engines was about to catch on fire. By that time, the man who was having a seizure had gone unconscious and we together moved what we thought for sure was a dead body out onto the grass about 100 feet away.
I specifically remember looking around at that point and noticing that almost 15 people had circled around the accident, only one lady was attending to the other driver, everyone else was watching, unwilling or too afraid to get involved in the situation. I made the assumption that at least one of these bystanders had called the police at this point in time and took off sprinting to a Chinese restaurant 100 yards away where I grabbed a fire extinguisher and ran back. By the time I got back to the car that originally had flames under it, the fire had spread to the engine and the whole front of the car was smoking. I used the entire extinguisher to put the flames out in the engine and for a moment, I thought I had extinguished it. But within seconds, the flames caught back up. I had no idea that the metal of car could catch on fire so quick, but within three minutes the entire car was in flames as the interior burst into flames and the metal structuring blackened. Luckily, I found out that day that cars don’t explode but rather burn slowly, at least until the flame reached the gasoline tank in which there was a rather violent, but not deadly explosion.
The first officers on the scene were the Mission Beach lifeguards who began attending to the unconscious man, but did not have the appropriate supplies to do much. The next thing that happened I did not understand until I realized what the driver was going through several days later. The man who was unconscious came to and immediately became extremely frightened as he was in very bad shape and there was a great deal of blood everywhere. He could not talk but progressed to forcefully stand up despite us trying to keep him down and tried to escape or run away. It took my friend and I, along with two lifeguards, to hold him down on the grass as we reminded him he would be ok and to stop resisting. He was literally going into panic mode trying to bite us and escape in any way. It took nearly 15 minutes for the police to show up, which made the man even more frightened. The police were forced to put the man in a neck brace and tie him down to a stretcher. I later found out that he was most likely on some sort of drugs and had a seizure while he was driving causing him to swerve into oncoming traffic. Most likely, the last thing he remembered was he was driving normally down Mission Boulevard and the next thing is he woke up to was a horrible car accident, which would explain his adrenaline, confusion, and fear.
I learned many things about myself that day. Firstly, I am glad that I am not one of the ten to fifteen people that will stand around and watch a tragic situation like that and refuse to get involved. I also learned that I might have saved someone’s life that day and I that cars do not explode like in the movies but do burst into flames and burn completely. It was a once in a lifetime experience…and I hope to God it stays at ‘once’.

Friday, February 11, 2011

University of San Diego student "Auto" Biography -- Jordan Jadallah, an Audi S4

Jordan Jadallah
February 9, 2011
American Automobile


“It’s here.” My dad said to me over the phone as my body filled with adrenaline, excitement and goose bumps.
“Oh my god. I’m on my way.”
It was just after 3:00 PM, my dismissal from my last class of the day at school. It is finally February 29th, 2010.
I ran to the parking lot and jumped in my car and immediately left. I was tempted to speed because I couldn’t wait, but didn’t, to avoid getting pulled over and having to wait 15, 20 minutes even longer.
3:20 PM. I got to my father’s office complex. There she was, parked in my dad’s spot. Brand new. Barely driven. Brilliant black color on the exterior complete with 5 spoke 19” wheels. It looked even more gorgeous in person and I couldn’t even believe it.
It was finally here.
My dad had just purchased a 2010 Audi S4, complete with the perfect combination of options. I used to have a Mazda 3, which I dearly missed until this day, and he used to have a 2008 Jaguar XK. We both got rid of the cars to buy the Audi and share it.
I got the key from my dad, and sat in the car. The speedometer read 42 miles, which didn’t last more than a minute. I pushed in the clutch, and put in the reverse, putting her in motion for the first time in our relationship. I already have a very good feeling that she was going to be the one. I slipped the car into first gear, and pulled onto the main street then shifted into second gear. I pushed down on the accelerator, not sure what to expect. I knew it packed 340 foot pounds of torque, but I had no idea what that would feel like. I immediately got sucked into the seat and let off the accelerator. It was fast, but incredibly smooth. I shifted directly in 5th gear at 45 miles per hour. The RPM gauge currently read around 2000, so it was quite low. I didn’t expect anything when I hit the accelerator again, when she suddenly lurched forward and shocked me with her torque.
Twenty minutes later, I came up to one of my favorite corners in the town. It was nearly 90 degrees to the right, and I had taken this so many times in my old Mazda. I took it at the same speed as I would have in the Mazda, and she laughed at me. I might as well have gone around the corner at 5 miles per hour. I went back and took the corner again, this time faster. I swear she said to me, “That’s all?” Third time going into the corner, I went a little faster, and didn’t hit the brakes at all. As I started to turn, I felt a little under steer, but for some reason she reassured that I would be ok. I keep the steering wheel in the same spot, ready to catch the car if it continues to under steer. All of the sudden, the Quattro system shifted all of the torque to the outside wheels flawlessly and off to the apex of the corner I went. It was perfect, effortless and astonishing.
I couldn’t wait to take her on the track.

University of San Diego "Auto" Biography-- Dominick Sciola -- a 1967 Corvette Sting Ray

Dominick Sciola
Memorable Car Experience
HIST 378
I have always had a strong affinity for the automobile and have been fascinated by the beauty and performance of those that stand out. I have to admit that I am one of those “gawkers” that has to stop, catch my breath, and stare at a fine piece of craftsmanship whenever I see one while on the road. I look at it as an opportunity to stop for a second, forget about all the minor things we worry about on a daily basis, and take pleasure in one of life’s small but wondrous joys. I can confidently say this character trait of mine has been passed onto me by my dad, who too has a deep appreciation for truly magnificent cars. Hence my most memorable experience is without a doubt one I shared with him in his 1967 Corvette Sting Ray during the summer leading up to my freshman year of high school.
I never considered myself a classic muscle car fan until my dad invited me to drive up the California and Oregon coast in his brand new ’67 Vette. He on the other hand had always dreamed of owning one, and when he found the perfect one for him, he quickly snatched it up from Phoenix and invited me to drive it back with him to our home in Seattle. Despite never having even heard of this car at the time, I agreed to take him up on his offer and ride with him. Little did I know how much I would enjoy this opportunity.
We took separate one-way flights for our adventure, with me flying down to San Francisco to wait for him while he went to Phoenix to get the car. We would rendezvous in SF at my brother Nick’s apartment where I was waiting. When he first arrived at Nick’s doorstep, I was taken aback by his new toy. The sleek look and powerful noise of the ‘Vette tickled my senses and I was suddenly quite eager to begin our adventure. We left that day and went on our way back home.
The drive itself was long by any ordinary standard, but flew by due to its extraordinary circumstances. I distinctly remember driving up the 101 freeway in the bright red ’67, kissing the California coast as we wove our way up the Pacific Ocean and letting the deep muscle car engine roar all along the way. We were in no rush to finish our road trip, but nonetheless took few stops. One of the few stops we did take was in one of Northern California’s many monolithic Redwood forests. It was quite ironic how we were now admiring one of nature’s most gorgeous works after experiencing the thrill of one of man’s finest.
The remainder of our trip was predominantly spent on the road and in the Sting Ray. We made the whole trip in two days, stopping at our cousin’s house in Newport Beach, Oregon to rest before the second day of our trip. Perhaps what made this experience most especially memorable for me was that I was able to share it with my dad. Looking back, I feel this was one of our greatest bonding moments and truly brought us together as father and son. This I feel is a characteristic that exemplifies fine cars and makes them so unique; their ability to create a special bond between two people. Every summer, I look forward to driving that car again with my dad. Although the local Seattle neighborhood does not compare to the Pacific Ocean, it is nonetheless a great pleasure to ride in his ’67 Sting Ray and spend a few moments with my dad.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Interview with a Car and Motorcycle Thief -- San Diego, February 9, 2011

Interview with a car and motorcycle thief -- "Joseph"

So yesterday I spent some time in San Diego interviewing a car and motorcycle thief now reformed and determined to live a proper life. "Joseph" taught me much in the 50 minutes or so we had together. But above all, I commend him for his decision to honor his wife and stay away from both drugs and crime.
"Joseph" started on drugs at age 14 and it was drugs that led him to other illegal activities. He began stealing cars because he was into street racing, and wanted parts, engines, and accessories that were taken from Hondas or Accuras. In particular, Accura Integras from the 1990s had twin cam engines that the street racers of the day wanted for their rides. Ironically, "Joseph" had his own car stolen from him, even though it had two kill switches and an alarm! And, he was sleeping only 6 feet or so from where the car was parked.
It is a disgrace that Honda in particular had such a flimsy lock set up. It doesn't take much to overcome the ignition lock -- a bar and screwdriver, or a fabricated piece of aluminum taken from a pop top.
Motorcycles became the chief object of "Joseph's" desires, however. And Joseph will admit that it was greed -- simply wanting what others have -- that set him on his course of motorcycle theft. Since one can get $1,200 to $1,800 for a very good cycle in Mexico (of course the Cartel is involved -- auto/motorcycle theft 3rd in revenue after drugs and kidnapping), this is a profitable vocation. But in reality while "Joseph" made 96k a year, due to his drug habit all he had to show for it was two shirts, a pair of trousers, and a pair of shoes.
What do you steal -- Harleys? No, because they are simply too slow. A Harley can only top out at 120 mph or so -- cop cars can go 140 mph. You want to steal a "crotch rocket" that can go 190 on the freeway if necessary. And, by the way, once you steal the motorcycle, the first thing you do is fill the gas tank, because you do not want to run out of gas if you are chased by the cops.
Note that for a number of the manufacturers, they make it far too easy to steal their products. "Joseph" argued that all that is needed is some minor re-designs of ignition systems to stop most thieves cold. Why is the motorcycle industry so resistant to making these improvements? Is it because they end up selling more bikes? Is it because the owner buys a replacement more costly than the one stolen?
There is much more detail that I need to consider that was recorded from this interview. One final item -- most of the car theft rings in San Diego are run by women. They manage, but do not go out and do the actual theft of vehicles. Why women? Because they are smarter!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Cliff Brockman's St. Christopher Medal -- Thank you!

Hi folks -- I have been slow to acknowledge a small but meaningful gift (really a loan) that was given to me as I left for San Diego in early January on my solo drive. My friend and mechanic Cliff Brockman gave me a small St. Christoper medal, claiming that the "little guy really works!" And indeed it has so far.
There is a story to this medal, and that is what makes it so special. Unfortunately, I could not photograph it, as I do not have the proper equipment.
Cliff's father drove trucks for a living out of Chicago, and one day when Cliff was little, his dad took him to a blessing of the cars. It was there that they got this medal, and it has protected Cliff many times over the years. His father died of a heart attack while driving a truck, although he had enough presence to pull off to the side of the road before he passed.
Thank you Cliff, for lending me such a meaningful artifact!

Now for the hsitory lesson. This account of St. Christopher is taken from a Medieval Manuscript, perhaps the best single source on this Saint.

Here followeth of S. Christopher and first of his name.
Christopher tofore his baptism was named Reprobus, but afterwards he was named Christopher, which is as much to say as bearing Christ, of that that he bare Christ in four manners. He bare him on his shoulders by conveying and leading, in his body by making it lean, in mind by devotion, and in his mouth by confession and predication.
Of S. Christopher.
Christopher was of the lineage of the Canaanites, and he was of a right great stature, and had a terrible and fearful cheer and countenance. And he was twelve cubits of length, and as it is read in some histories that, when he served and dwelled with the king of Canaan, it came in his mind that he would seek the greatest prince that was in the world, and him would he serve and obey. And so far he went that he came to a right great king, of whom the renomee generally was that he was the greatest of the world. And when the king saw him, he received him into his service, and made him to dwell in his court. Upon a time a minstrel sang tofore him a song in which he named oft the devil, and the king, which was a christian man, when he heard him name the devil, made anon the sign of the cross in his visage. And when Christopher saw that, he had great marvel what sign it was, and wherefore the king made it, and he demanded of him. And because the king would not say, he said: If thou tell me not, I shall no longer dwell with thee, and then the king told to him, saying: Alway when I hear the devil named, I fear that he should have power over me, and I garnish me with this sign that he grieve not ne annoy me. Then Christopher said to him: Doubtest thou the devil that he hurt thee not? Then is the devil more mighty and greater than thou art. I am then deceived of my hope and purpose, for I had supposed I had found the most mighty and the most greatest Lord of the world, but I commend thee to God, for I will go seek him for to be my Lord, and I his servant. And then departed from this king, and hasted him for to seek the devil. And as he went by a great desert, he saw a great company of knights, of which a knight cruel and horrible came to him and demanded whither he went, and Christopher answered to him and said: I go seek the devil for to be my master. And he said: I am he that thou seekest. And then Christopher was glad, and bound him to be his servant perpetual, and took him for his master and Lord. And as they went together by a common way, they found there a cross, erect and standing. And anon as the devil saw the cross he was afeard and fled, and left the right way, and brought Christopher about by a sharp desert. And after, when they were past the cross, he brought him to the highway that they had left. And when Christopher saw that, he marvelled, and demanded whereof he doubted, and had left the high and fair way, and had gone so far about by so aspre a desert. And the devil would not tell him in no wise. Then Christopher said to him: If thou wilt not tell me, I shall anon depart from thee, and shall serve thee no more. Wherefor the devil was constrained to tell him, and said: There was a man called Christ which was hanged on the cross, and when I see his sign I am sore afraid, and flee from it wheresoever I see it. To whom Christopher said: Then he is greater, and more mightier than thou, when thou art afraid of his sign, and I see well that I have laboured in vain, when I have not founden the greatest Lord of the world. And I will serve thee no longer, go thy way then, for I will go seek Christ. And when he had long sought and demanded where he should find Christ, at last he came into a great desert, to an hermit that dwelt there, and this hermit preached to him of Jesu Christ and informed him in the faith diligently, and said to him: This king whom thou desirest to serve, requireth the service that thou must oft fast. And Christopher said to him: Require of me some other thing, and I shall do it, for that which thou requirest I may not do. And the hermit said: Thou must then wake and make many prayers. And Christopher said to him: I wot not what it is; I may do no such thing. And then the hermit said to him: Knowest thou such a river, in which many be perished and lost? To whom Christopher said: I know it well. Then said the hermit, Because thou art noble and high of stature and strong in thy members, thou shalt be resident by that river, and thou shalt bear over all them that shall pass there, which shall be a thing right convenable to our Lord Jesu Christ whom thou desirest to serve, and I hope he shall show himself to thee. Then said Christopher: Certes, this service may I well do, and I promise to him for to do it. Then went Christopher to this river, and made there his habitacle for him, and bare a great pole in his hand instead of a staff, by which he sustained him in the water, and bare over all manner of people without ceasing. And there he abode, thus doing, many days. And in a time, as he slept in his lodge, he heard the voice of a child which called him and said: Christopher, come out and bear me over. Then he awoke and went out, but he found no man. And when he was again in his house, he heard the same voice and he ran out and found nobody. The third time he was called and came thither, and found a child beside the rivage of the river, which prayed him goodly to bear him over the water. And then Christopher lift up the child on his shoulders, and took his staff, and entered into the river for to pass. And the water of the river arose and swelled more and more: and the child was heavy as lead, and alway as he went farther the water increased and grew more, and the child more and more waxed heavy, insomuch that Christopher had great anguish and was afeard to be drowned. And when he was escaped with great pain, and passed the water, and set the child aground, he said to the child: Child, thou hast put me in great peril; thou weighest almost as I had all the world upon me, I might bear no greater burden. And the child answered: Christopher, marvel thee nothing, for thou hast not only borne all the world upon thee, but thou hast borne him that created and made all the world, upon thy shoulders. I am Jesu Christ the king, to whom thou servest in this work. And because that thou know that I say to be the truth, set thy staff in the earth by thy house, and thou shalt see to-morn that it shall bear flowers and fruit, and anon he vanished from his eyes. And then Christopher set his staff in the earth, and when he arose on the morn, he found his staff like a palmier bearing flowers, leaves and dates.
And then Christopher went into the city of Lycia, and understood not their language. Then he prayed our Lord that he might understand them, and so he did. And as he was in this prayer, the judges supposed that he had been a fool, and left him there. And then when Christopher understood the language, he covered his visage and went to the place where they martyred christian men, and comforted them in our Lord. And then the judges smote him in the face, and Christopher said to them: If I were not christian I should avenge mine injury. And then Christopher pitched his rod in the earth, and prayed to our Lord that for to convert the people it might bear flowers and fruit, and anon it did so. And then he converted eight thousand men. And then the king sent two knights for to fetch him to the king, and they found him praying, and durst not tell to him so. And anon after, the king sent as many more, and they anon set them down for to pray with him. And when Christopher arose, he said to them: What seek ye? And when they saw him in the visage they said to him: The king hath sent us, that we should lead thee bound unto him. And Christopher said to them: If I would, ye should not lead me to him, bound ne unbound. And they said to him: If thou wilt go thy way, go quit, where thou wilt. And we shall say to the king that we have not found thee. It shall not be so, said he, but I shall go with you. And then he converted them in the fatth, and commanded them that they should bind his hands behind his back, and lead him so bound to the king. And when the king saw him he was afeard and fell down off the seat, and his servants lifted him up and releved him again. And then the king inquired his name and his country; and Christopher said to him: Tofore or I was baptized I was named Reprobus, and after, I am Christopher; tofore baptism, a Canaanite, now, a christian man. To whom the king said: Thou hast a foolish name, that is to wit of Christ crucified, which could not help himself, ne may not profit to thee. How therefore, thou cursed Canaanite, why wilt thou not do sacrifice to our gods? To whom Christopher said: Thou art rightfully called Dagnus, for thou art the death of the world, and fellow of the devil, and thy gods be made with the hands of men. And the king said to him: Thou wert nourished among wild beasts, and therefore thou mayst not say but wild language, and words unknown to men. And if thou wilt now do sacrifice to the gods I shall give to thee great gifts and great honours, and if not, I shall destroy thee and consume thee by great pains and torments. But, for all this, he would in no wise do sacrifice, wherefore he was sent in to prison, and the king did do behead the other knights that he had sent for him, whom he had converted. And after this he sent in to the prison to S. Christopher two fair women, of whom that one was named Nicæa and that other Aquilina, and promised to them many great gifts if they could draw Christopher to sin with them. And when Christopher saw that, he set him down in prayer, and when he was constrained by them that embraced him to move, he arose and said: What seek ye? For what cause be ye come hither? And they, which were afraid of his cheer and clearness of his visage, said: Holy saint of God, have pity of us so that we may believe in that God that thou preachest. And when the king heard that, he commanded that they should be let out and brought tofore him. To whom he said: Ye be deceived, but I swear to you by my gods that, if ye do no sacrifice to my gods, ye shall anon perish by evil death. And they said to him: If thou wilt that we shall do sacrifice, command that the places may be made clean, and that all the people may assemble at the temple. And when this was done they entered in to the temple, and took their girdles, and put them about the necks of their gods, and drew them to the earth, and brake them all in pieces, and said to them that were there: Go and call physicians and leeches for to heal your gods. And then, by the commandment of the king, Aquilina was hanged, and a right great and heavy stone was hanged at her feet, so that her members were much despitously broken. And when she was dead, and passed to our Lord, her sister Nicæa was cast into a great fire, but she issued out without harm all whole, and then he made to smite off her head, and so suffered death.
After this Christopher was brought tofore the king, and the king commanded that he should be beaten with rods of iron, and that there should be set upon his head a cross of iron red hot and burning, and then after, he did do make a siege or a stool of iron, and made Christopher to be bounden thereon, and after, to set fire under it, and cast therein pitch. But the siege or settle melted like wax, and Christopher issued out without any harm or hurt. And when the king saw that, he commanded that he should be bound to a strong stake, and that he should be through-shotten with arrows with forty knights archers. But none of the knights might attain him, for the arrows hung in the air about, nigh him, without touching. Then the king weened that he had been throughshotten with the arrows of the knights, and addressed him for to go to him. And one of the arrows returned suddenly from the air and smote him in the eye, and blinded him. To whom Christopher said: Tyrant, I shall die to-morn, make a little clay, with my blood tempered, and anoint therewith thine eye, and thou shalt receive health. Then by the commandment of the king he was led for to be beheaded, and then, there made he his orison, and his head was smitten off, and so suffered martyrdom. And the king then took a little of his blood and laid it on his eye, and said: In the name of God and of S. Christopher! and was anon healed. Then the king believed in God, and gave commandment that if any person blamed God or S. Christopher, he should anon be slain with the sword.
Ambrose saith in his preface thus, of this holy martyr: Lord, thou hast given to Christopher so great plenty of virtues, and such grace of doctrine, that he called from the error of paynims forty-eight thousand men, to the honour of christian faith, by his shining miracles. And Nicæa and Aquilina, which long had been common at the bordel, under the stench of lechery, he called and made them serve in the habit of chastity, and enseigned them to a like crown of martyrdom. And with this, he being strained and bounden in a seat of iron, and great fire put under, doubted nothing the heat. And all a whole day during, stood bounden to a stake, yet might not be through-pierced with arrows of all the knights. And with that, one of the arrows smote out the eye of the tyrant, to whom the blood of the holy martyr re-established his sight, and enlumined him in taking away the blindness of his body, and gat of the christian mind and pardon, and he also gat of thee by prayer power to put away sickness and sores from them that remember his passion and figure. Then let us pray to S. Christopher that he pray for us, etc.

HST 378 Book Review Assignment I -- Jack Kerouac, On the Road

HST 378
Book Review 1
Dr. Heitmann
Due on February 15

The length of the review should be 4-5 typed, double-spaced pages. You have considerable freedom in writing a critical analysis and personal response to Jack Kerouac’s On the Road , but I suggest you consider the following to provide structure and guidance to this exercise.
Since the publication of On the Road, a venerable mountain of critical literature has been generated on the author’s intended themes. The most recent views that have been discussed are those of John Leland, author of Why Kerouac Matters: The Lessons of On the Road (they’re not what you think). Leland asks the reader to focus on Sal Paradise (Kerouac’s character), rather than on Dean Moriarity (Neal Cassady). Leland argues that Sal provides the reader with something they can use, like The Road Less Traveled or The Purpose Driven Life. He goes on:
“Sal’s lessons divide among four overlapping fields, each unsettled in the postwar boom. America had emerged from the war with half the world’s wealth and nearly two thirds of its machines, and with destructive capabilities unmatched in history. It was creating suburbs, television, organization men, nuclear families, the car culture, Brando, McCarthy, and Rock and Roll. Amid this tumult, Sal navigates distinctive paths through the men’s world of work, money and friendship; the domestic turf of love, sex and family; the artist’s realm of storytelling, improvisation and rhythm; and the spiritual world of revelation and redemption. His lessons in all four areas remain relevant today – any reader picking up the book for the first time can apply them to questions that are new to him or her as they were to Sal.
What lessons emerge after reading the book, and why are they important to you?