Musings From the Bench

musings from the bench-2I was a high school freshman in 1964 the same year the Plymouth Barracuda came out. It was a two-door fastback A-body coupe that was based on the Plymouth Valiant and had a distinctive wraparound rear window. Car manufacturers were responding to the American public’s need for a sexy, more European looking car. A more sporty compact car that would still seat four comfortably. So on April 1, 1964 the public was introduced to the Plymouth Barracuda.

Now the executives at Plymouth might have wanted to take a closer look at the date that was picked for the unveiling, but they perhaps wanted to get a jump-start on the introduction of another car manufacturers offering of a sporty compact car which was scheduled to come out two weeks later. Namely, the Ford Mustang. But it was all for naught as the Mustang far outsold the Barracuda and this two-door fastback A-body coupe was given the nickname “pony car”. Probably a good thing….I don’t think the nickname “fish car” would have caught on.

Anyway, at that time people hadn’t heard about solar power, passive or otherwise.plymouth barracuda And you’ve gotta wonder if people back then were a tad smarter than the folks of today because one of the problems experienced in the back seat of the Barracuda in the summer was just how damn hot it got back there what with that distinctive wraparound rear window. Some owners took matters into their own hands and attached a tinted see-through screen on the inside of the rear window while others simply cut their losses and bought Mustangs. You didn’t hear anything about kids or pets being left in a Barracuda in the summer while Mom or Dad went shopping. They knew 10 minutes in the back of a Barracuda could be deadly. The second generation Barracuda still had the downward sloping rear window but it wasn’t as big as the first generation’s rear window so the back seat didn’t turn into an oven in a summer parking lot.

But it seems today’s parents are either mental midgets or so wrapped up in their own damn lives that they don’t even think before leaving their kid in a car in a parking lot on a hot day. It doesn’t matter if every window of your car is tinted black and you’ll only be gone for a minute while you buy a pack of cigarettes or a six-pack of beer, you don’t know for sure just how long you’ll be standing in the checkout line in that air-conditioned store while your child is locked in the car with windows cracked open for air.

There seems to be an epidemic of kids dying in hot cars all across this country this summer and it’s only July.

The National Weather Service Weather Forecast Office has come up with the slogan “Beat the Heat, Check the Backseat”. Here are the basic guidelines.

Never leave a child in a car unattended. Not even for a minute!

If you see a child unattended in a hot vehicle, call 9-1-1 immediately!

If a child is missing, always check the pool first, then the car including the trunk!

Be sure all occupants leave the vehicle when unloading, don’t overlook sleeping babies!

Always lock your car and ensure children do not have access to the keys or remote entry devices!

Teach your children that cars are not to be used as a play area!

Keep a stuffed animal in the car seat. When the child is put in the seat, place the animal in the front seat with the driver!

Or, place your purse or briefcase in the backseat as a reminder that you have your child in the car!

Make “look before you leave” a routine whenever you get out of the car!

Ensure your child’s school and/or childcare provider will call you if your child does not show up for school!

Remember, an ordinary car can heat up to an internal temperature of 109 degrees in just 20 minutes with an outside temperature of 80 degrees.


I have lived in New England all my life, specifically in Massachusetts. In fact I listed all the communities I’ve lived in and found I’ve never lived more than 40 miles away from the hospital where I was born. So when I say I’m familiar with the sounds of summer in my State, believe it. But this summer has me puzzled. See, birds in the area start their free concerts between 4 and 5am and are usually finished by 7 or 8pm. This summer there is one bird who appears to have a solo gig starting after dark and ending around dawn. 

Summer nights have been pretty cool making sleeping with the windows open a pleasure, but when I go to bed after watching Late Night with David Letterman and that bird is singing its heart out until 4am, well, not much sleep is being had by me. I asked my husband if the birdsong was bothering him while he’s trying to sleep and he said “what birdsong”? 

The only bird I ever heard of that sings at night is the Nightingale and as far as I know Massachusetts doesn’t have any. So what bird is this that can’t be seen but only heard?


I don’t know how many of you drink Coke or Diet Coke in the 12 oz. can, but if you do you’ve seen the company’s new ad campaign on the side of every can. It states ‘Share a Coke (or Diet Coke) with a…..and then it lists a pronoun. 

The Diet Coke I was drinking at the time said ‘Share a Diet Coke with your Mom.’ Well my Mom died in 2001 but when I read what was on the can, I saluted Heaven and said something like ‘wish I could Mom.’ That got me to thinking about something that happened years ago when people began getting their feelings hurt by messages on the inside of candy bar labels.

Some candy company, let’s say the Mars Candy Company, was having a contest. If you won something in the contest, the label would say ‘you are a winner’ and if you didn’t, it would say ‘you are a loser’. Well some woman was all depressed and took the ‘you are a loser’ personally and complained to the company. The company then destroyed the unused labels and had new ones printed up that said ‘this is not a winning game piece.’ I think it was right around the time when the presenters at the Oscars in Hollywood stopped saying ‘and the winner is’ after opening the envelope and instead started saying ‘and the Oscar goes to’.

So I’m just waiting to hear something on the news about the Coke Company having to change the writing on the cans of Coke and Diet Coke because some people think everything is directed at them.


I have been dealing with a shi(p)load of computer problems lately. It seems I may have downloaded something that was piggybacked on something I wanted to download at some time in the past, oh I don’t know, three weeks or so and I’m having the dickens of a time not only getting rid of it, but finding it. In fact, if I weren’t so leery about going to Google or Bing I’d get a picture of Liam Neeson and give you his speech about finding you and killing you for putting whatever this is on my computer. Instead, I’ll just post a picture I have of two very powerful beings who will take care of any bulls(p)it you send my way.Eastwood & Freeman (Empire-Keith Bernstein)That’s right, Dirty Harry and God. Don’t make me go back for Samuel L. Jackson.  He will @&$* you up, mother@&$*%^!


Thanks for reading. Until next time.



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About Jane Gray 58 Articles
Born in the '50s, grew up in the '60s, got married in the '70s. Gave birth in the '80s and started collecting social security in 2013. My time is my own and I don't mind sharing my opinions on everything with everybody. I hate injustice, the truth is easier to remember than a lie. I like the New England Patriots, the Boston Celtics, the New York Mets, and that English futbol team from Liverpool.


  1. I used to ride around in the back of a 73 mustang hatchback.

    Might be what’s wrong with me.

  2. Why is it that a problem has to be completely out of control before we as a society recognize it as a problem? Only a total moron would leave a child alone in a hot car. The state of Georgia may have addressed the problem properly, however. Justin Harris isn’t being charged with “endangering children,” or something else equally as weak, that will have him free in about 6 months. He’s being charged with Murder. Hopefully he’s found guilty, and sentenced accordingly. If he’s dumb enough to have forgotten, he’s too stupid to walk amongst the rest of us.
    As always, good job Jane

  3. Since the reply button is missing, I’ll have to reply the old fashioned way.

    1. David, just how old were you when you were sitting in the back of that ’73 Mustang hatchback, anyway?

    2. Hllywd, it seems these days that things in this country come in spurts. I mean, when Bill Clinton was in office and that Lewinsky scandal hit, the next thing you hear on the news are more sex scandals about everybody from the POTUS to local Mayors, to postal workers. It’s like the media sinks its teeth into something and that’s all the public wants to hear, more of the same stories. But being responsible for the death or near death of a child shouldn’t be treated as an unfortunate accident when indeed it is a form of torture and murder. No telling how long these reports will go on until the media and the public find something else of interest and it gets swept aside. It won’t be because people have smartened up and stopped leaving kids in hot cars.

    3. As to the PUM.bad.proxy, David gave me the info to remove it but when I started doing what he said to do, the numbers I was supposed to find in the first rectangular box weren’t there. You see, he said to do this in Internet Explorer but my browser is Firefox and that’s why the numbers were missing. I’m still waiting for the courage to try it again only right this time.

    See David, even when the instructions are written by the customer service technician the idiot reading them can still get it wrong. LOL

    Thanks, guys, for all the help. You’re the best and it’s a pleasure to know you. 🙂

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