August 15, 2011

Picture Quiz


Where am I?

Well, yes, you might well ask that since I haven't posted here in over two months. But that's another question involving an all-consuming project at work, and some all-consuming problems we've had with a sick family member. All that time I used to have to write blog posts has been mostly all consumed, lately. Hopefully, that will change soon.

But, what I really mean is where was I when I took this photo, and just what is this a photo of?

Is this an early prototype for the Oscar-Mayer wienermobile?

Is it a vintage New Jersey diner?

Is it the secret love nest where Ava Gardner and Frank Sinatra used to tryst?

Or, is it the biggest, baddest Wurlitzer jukebox ever made?

It certainly has some stories to tell.

Someone reading this blog should recognize it (assuming anyone is still reading this blog). It's been photographed almost as much as the Golden Gate Bridge.

If you think you know the answer, write it on the back of a Hallberg-Rassy 352 and send it over to O Dock. Or, better yet, leave a comment here.

There will be a follow-up post with more pictures and a thougtful narrative that draws insightful life lessons from a chance encounter with this, uh, whatever it is.

Now, let's not always see the same hands.



  1. By George, I hate to be the first with my hand up - it can be so embarrassing.

    First off, I send best wishes to whomever has a health issue. I wish them well, and wish you fewer all-consuming projects that keep you away from blogging.

    It has been decades since I lived in the state where I think this boat is located. The name begins with a T and so does the body of water on which floats. Quite a beautiful bird, and a very beautiful place as well.

  2. Well whittell my timbers, I hate to be the second with my hand up - it can be so embarrassing.

    First off, I send best wishes to whomever has a health issue. I wish them well, and wish you fewer all-consuming projects that keep you away from blogging.

    I'm not much of a one for answering other people's quizzes. I would rather ask the questions. So here's one for you.

    It has been decades since my first job in IT when I worked in an office in Stirling Road, Slough, UK. The building had previously been used to shoot a British mid-1960s science fiction television show using a form of marionette puppetry called "Supermarionation". What was the name of the series?

  3. I watched that show all the time.

  4. LOL Baydog. It was kind of weird to think we were working in the studio for that series. I was always thinking I would lift up some floor tiles or open some old closet and come face to face with Scott Tracy or Lady Penelope.

  5. Oooh. Shiny!

    PS - may I third the aforementioned wishes?

  6. Thanks for the kind thoughts, folks.

    I see that two of you have identified the location and the mystery object - something I probably wouldn't have blogged about if it hadn't been for a serendipitous encounter this past weekend. And yes, Bonnie, it is very shiny, indeed.

    This probably wasn't much of a challenge for anyone who has spent much time in northern California or for someone like Tillerman, whose knowledge is encyclopedic (or, at least, Wikipedic).

    And, speaking of Wikipedia, I see that the answer to Tillerman's quiz is the same as the answer to mine.

    I wonder if that animation film studio that later housed an IT operation is the same one where they created all of the moon landing video.

  7. Wow. Who would have thunk it? We each randomly think of a quiz and the answer to both of them is "the Staten Island Ferry!" What are the chances of that?

    Hmmm. You raise a good point about the moon landing video O Docker. The TV program ran in the UK in 1965 and 1966. I worked in that building from about 1971-76. So there is a mysterious undocumented gap from 1966-1971. The Apollo programs supposedly ran from 1966-1972 (but the 71 and 72 landings could have been filmed earlier in that period.) I think you're on to something.

  8. Many of the characters in that TV series were named for Mercury astronauts.

    Can there be any further doubt?

  9. And I always thought that "Neil Armstrong" in that July 1969 episode walked suspiciously like a puppet.

  10. Nice to see that we haven't forgotten how to get way off topic, regardless of who's posting.

  11. Talking of Slough, did you know that the British version of The Office (starring Ricky Gervais) is supposedly set on the Slough Trading Estate, also the location of the mysterious building known as 700 Stirling Road, where (according to O Docker) the moon landings were filmed.

    There is also a famous John Betjeman poem about Slough.

    Come friendly bombs and fall on Slough!
    It isn't fit for humans now,
    There isn't grass to graze a cow.
    Swarm over, Death!
    Come, bombs and blow to smithereens
    Those air -conditioned, bright canteens,
    Tinned fruit, tinned meat, tinned milk, tinned beans,
    Tinned minds, tinned breath.

    Mess up the mess they call a town-
    A house for ninety-seven down
    And once a week a half a crown
    For twenty years.

    And get that man with double chin
    Who'll always cheat and always win,
    Who washes his repulsive skin
    In women's tears:

    And smash his desk of polished oak
    And smash his hands so used to stroke
    And stop his boring dirty joke
    And make him yell.

    But spare the bald young clerks who add
    The profits of the stinking cad;
    It's not their fault that they are mad,
    They've tasted Hell.

    It's not their fault they do not know
    The birdsong from the radio,
    It's not their fault they often go
    To Maidenhead

    And talk of sport and makes of cars
    In various bogus-Tudor bars
    And daren't look up and see the stars
    But belch instead.

    In labour-saving homes, with care
    Their wives frizz out peroxide hair
    And dry it in synthetic air
    And paint their nails.

    Come, friendly bombs and fall on Slough
    To get it ready for the plough.
    The cabbages are coming now;
    The earth exhales.

    The poem was written in 1937, but it was equally appropriate in 1971.

  12. Sorry to hear about the sick family member - hope things do improve. Ditto with the all consuming project.

    It all sounds unfortunately very familiar :(

    Unlike the photo which draws a blank, but it looks like the big-brains have got there anyhow.

    At least its not Slough (shudder) - I actually prefer the US Office to the UK Office.

  13. I was just about to ask how to pronounce 'Slough'.

  14. Isn't Slough a perfectly awful word? I can't imagine why anyone would call their town that. It must have been a self-fulfilling prophecy.

    As Bunyan wrote in The Pigrim's Progress: "This miry Slough is such a place as cannot be mended; it is the descent whither the scum and filth that attends conviction for sin doth continually run, and therefore is it called the Slough of Despond: for still as the sinner is awakened about his lost condition, there ariseth in his soul many fears, and doubts, and discouraging apprehensions, which all of them get together, and settle in this place; and this is the reason of the badness of this ground."

    Thank you O Docker for writing this post about references to sloughs in English literature. How do you do it?

    I like the US Office too. Did you know that the address of the Scranton branch of Dunder Mifflin is 1725 Slough Avenue?

  15. In the allegorical Pilgrim's Progress, the protagonist is trapped in a blog in the Slough of Despond. He gets by with a little Help from his friends.

    No wait, it's bog, not blog.

    Sorry, JP, I wouldn't expect today's mystery object to be very well known in Europe or the UK, or even much outside northern California, although, locally, it is an almost mythical presence. More anon.

  16. JP is probably too young to remember Lady Penelope Creighton-Ward.

  17. Slough sounds an awful lot like Camden, NJ. But I don't think anything as exciting came from there as the Thunderbirds. Except Chunky New England Clam Chowder. It's a soup that eats like a meal.

  18. They never did explain what the chunks are.

  19. Big wholesome chunks of Atlantic clams, Idaho potatoes, and celery from Salinas.

  20. I do know Lady P... from the repeats!

    Tillerman: I never knew that about Dunder Mifflin!

    Blogs are such a great source of knowledge :)

  21. Chunky New England Clam Chowder came from New Jersey? Give me a break

  22. Oh, I get it. A bit slow this morning.

  23. Although Gallo makes a few really fine wines, Tillerman pointed out, early on they did allegedly want to be "the Campbell Soup company of the wine industry". Camden again.

  24. Exactly Baydog. I thought the reference to Gallo wanting to be the Campbells of wine nicely completed the circle of our discussion.

    The question is did Mars want to be the Slough of candy? Bar none!

  25. I don't want to get hung up on candy, but the Mars bar really did take the edge off in the spider hole.

  26. Cliff Clavin8/16/11, 9:39 PM

    It's not commonly known, but the Mars Bar that took the edge off for you, Saddam, was probably the European version, which is actually made in England, and is the same as what is marketed in the US as the Milky Way Bar.

    Either way, a dental hygienist would probably say you possessed weapons of mass destruction after all.

  27. :-(

    don't blink around here, or you will never keep up.