Outsiders Poem – Inspired by S.E. Hinton Novel

My 12 year old son’s tribute to the Outsiders by S.E Hinton:

Stumbling, Stinging

Red Glow, Flames

Little Kids Screaming

and the Haze


Get Out! Coughing

Dally Swore

Falling Embers

A blocked door


Old Roof Crashing
It was hot

No time to see if he

landed OK or not


I leaped out

Dally clubbed me in the back

and I went down

into a peaceful black


If there were a sequel to the Outsiders, Pony Boy will have escaped social sorting and classification and become a  dreamer and a creator without limits. He discovers that limits don’t come from the outside but from the inside and that there are no limits.

Pony Boy and Johnny weren’t greasers. They weren’t fighters. They hadn’t stepped over the line and self labeled themselves yet. They weren’t stereotypes but instead people with ideas and dreams and goals and empathy and love. They hadn’t become jaded.

My 12 year old son Nik is reading the Outsiders in language arts and it has opened his eyes to social stratification as well as thinking about literary methods.

In case you haven’t read the Outsiders book or seen the Outsiders movie. The story is a tragedy, which are out of vogue today (which IS a tragedy). It is about a group of greasers in the 1950s who live on the wrong side of the tracks in Oklahoma City and are bullied by the rich kids (socs).

This book was the most formative piece of literature I read as I was coming of age. As a teenager I identified with Dallas Winston. No… I wanted to be Dallas Winston. Dallas Winston was a fearless fighter, he took the younger guys under his wing, he led the way, but he also had a golden heart which played a larger than life role in the tragedy. Under his mask he had feelings, feelings that he couldn’t express in the positive, so they came out in the only way he knew, with tragic consequences.

The other characters:

Soda Pop Curtis – the gas jockey high school dropout with movie star good looks who had every girl in the city visiting his gas pump.

Pony Boy Curtis – The dreamy reader and writer who loves sunrises but is born into a working class greaser life and tells the story in the first person.

Johnny – Pony Boy’s best friend who tells Pony Boy to ‘Stay Golden’ like the sunrises he loves so much.

To all my fellow Outsiders out there…

Stay Golden!

Consumerism is Good

Heresy right? If this title sound nuts to you, I challenge you to keep reading.Yesterday, I read an old friend write the following facebook status, “Don’t be a consumer, be a creator. The consumer economy is dead. Live simply.”

It sounds noble, but it is short sighted. Why? Who is going to buy (consume) your creations?

Creativity-Innovation/Consumption are each a side of the same coin. We need to be both creators and consumers.

Yes! Create! But but don’t forget to consume other people’s creations. We seem to have lost that sense of balance. Our culture seems to have drifted to point where consumption is viewed as a vice.

It also seems this entire create vs. consume mindset has produced mass myopia and hypocrisy.

Case in point, the Apple iPad. Now, I have no issue with Apple products, most are superior to competing products in many ways. It is more the zeitgeist that surrounds Apple products that I find disturbing. That zeitgeist is that Apple products are hip, cool, and the best for creative people. But… In reality iPods, iPhones, and especially iPads, are not creation devices, they are consumer devices that are used mostly for more consumption. They are also highly priced status symbols – which I have no problem with, except that these products, in reality, represent the exact consumerism that many Apple fans rail against.

It doesn’t matter if you are on the right or the left, or a Democrat, Republican, or Independent… hoarding, extreme frugality, and anti-consumerism will not lead us to prosperity, it will lead us to poverty.

Yes, be creative. But it is no virtue to be anti-consumer. It is quite the opposite, to be anti-consumption is selfishness. It is the failure to support anyone else’s creations but your own.

Tyco Racing with Curve Huggers 1976

1970s Tyco Slot Car Racing

Do you remember the Tyco slot car race sets in the 1960s and 1970s? Curve Huggers? HO Scale race sets? This is one my favorite sets from 1976 JCPenny Christmas Catalog:

Tyco Road Race Empire - Curve Huggers

I never had the Road Race Empire, but I used to dream about it when I was 7 years old while looking through the JCPenny Christmas catalog. $49.88 must have been a lot in 1976. Using the US Inflation calculator, the same track would cost $191.00 today.  I had slot car set in 1976, but it was AFX/Aurora, but I had some of the Tyco cars. The Tyco cars were faster and stuck to the track better than the old Aurora cars. At least until the AFX G-Plus cars came out.

Bicentennial Tyco Cars – 1976

Bicentennial Tyco Cars
Bicentennial Tyco Cars

I had every car in this set. The headlights worked, but they drained juice and slowed the cars. By disabling the lights I could make them 30% faster.

Assorted 1976 Tyco Slot Cars

Assorted Tyco Slot Cars 1976
Assorted Tyco Slot Cars 1976

Of these I had the blue and red #43 stock car and the orange sunburst muscle car. Notice the white rear tires. The white slot car tires gripped the track better and gave the cars better speed and better handling. There were also red rear tires. My uncle had a slot car track that was six lanes wide and he won every race with slot cars that had red slot car tires.

Tyco Criss Cross Lane Changer

Slot Car Lane Changer - Criss Cross
Slot Car Lane Changer

I put at least one of these lane changers on every track I made. It was best to have an odd number of criss cross lane changers. That way no one racer would end up on the outside lane for the entire race. The best part of racing was smashing into each other on a criss – cross piece.

Tyco High Bank Curve Set

Tyco High Bank Curve Set
Tyco High Bank Curve Set

Never had these pieces. But I can imagine how they would offer an advantage to the car on the inside lane. Due to the bank, the car take the corner at a higher speed than a normal track, and since the inside lane is the shortest around the track it would give that slot racer the advantage.

In the days before video games we spent hours on the basement floor racing Tyco slot cars… the olden days… leave your memories of slot car racing in the comments.