Mike Mayer's Homepage
 
 

The online home of  Mike


Last Updated: April 11, 2008

Welcome to my little corner of the Web world. Consider it a digest version of who I am and what's important to me. Sure it won't tell you everything, but you know what they say...
"I wouldn't want to belong to any club that would have me as a member" - Groucho Marx


"Round up all the usual suspects" - Inspector Renault (Casablanca)
"What, me worry?" - Alfred E. Neuman.
"We have met the enemy and they is us" - Pogo
"Badgers, we don't got no Badgers, we don't need no STINKING Badgers...." - Anon
"It's a little known fact that yer ancient Celtics there, invented the game of basketball.......and parquet floors.." - Cliff Claven (Cheers)
"So we finish 18 and he's gonna stiff me so I say..hey..hey Lama (Dalai Lama), how about..... you know..... somethin' for the effort? So he says you will not receive any money, but on your deathbed you will receive.... total conciousness....so at least I got THAT goin' for me.....which is nice." - Carl (Bill Murray - Caddyshack)
"Nee, Maikeru-san, kimi kara no kanai-ate no koi-bumi wo yonda yo!" - Former Japanese friend (^^) (just kidding)
"When all is said and done, I'm really just a silly bastard" - Michael Mayer


Contents:

THIS PAGE:

My interests (See below on this page - at your own risk! (^^))

MY OTHER PAGES:

Japan SL (Steam Locomotive) 'Otaku' Page

OCEAN LINERS - Early 20th Century

Atlantic Coast Line Railroad Unofficial Homepage (under construction)

Seaboard Air Line Railroad Unofficial Homepage

 IM-Ports, LLC webpage


My New Company's first product:

4-Packs of InterMountain Railway Co's PS-1 Boxcars in Delaware & Hudson's Laurentian Shield Herald. Boxcar Red Oxide color scheme in use from the early '60's thru the '70's and beyond. 
Four different car numbers are offered in this first production run that will be available by mid-December.

IM-Ports, LLC is my wife Ileana and mine, Mikes, (hence the clever IM) we created to pursue my interest in model trains and her interest in imported goods and handicrafts. My side is devoted to the D&H and NYC models that I need for my layout and want to make for use by other modelers, and make a few bucks along the way. :-)

IM-Ports, LLC webpage


Vitals:


The night of the Great Shrimp Fry
Concordia College - 1970

Jimmy Kung, Michio Ito, ME (seated), Tom Ayres, Rana Kanjilal 
(my best buddy) and Don Larson

One night we 'lifted' a gallon can of shrimp from the dining hall where we worked. Jimmy from Hong Kong got out his fryer and rice cooker and we fried and ate the lot. The aroma of frying shrimp and lobster sauce permeated all of Bohm Hall, bringing us to the attention of 'Uncle Jerry' our Clint Eastwood-like Dorm Counseler. We had violated countless fire codes by cooking in the room of the 1910 dormitory - how we escaped disciplinary action beats me but we did. (^^) Especially me - I was already on his 'Shit List' for numerous pranks. 
One night I lead a group of us in our white lab coats with clipboards, carrying a struggling 'madman' wrapped in a straight jacket, one of us carrying a shovel - across the road to the darkened athletic field - as if we were going to kill and bury him (^^) - and making sure passing cars saw us. We crossed the road a couple of times using the crossing light until we crossed in front of a police car! The cops just laughed and laughed........but the school was not amused and we were all sent for discipline to Men's Council - at my 'trial,' I denounced the Council as a 'kangaroo court' and claimed they had no jurisdiction over me...to no avail...standard punishment....take out all the garbage on my floor to the incinerator. Doug Spadaro, not only denounced the Men's Council and also called them a 'kangeroo court' but, like Joan of Arc, demanded his case be put before the Pope in Rome! I listened outside the door to it all. It was magificent! As Lutherans, the Pope had no say, but it was cool anyway.
Favorites:
Online Favorites/Links:
Jap.Com
Hamada Family Web Page
Hiroshi Naito's Railfan Homepage
Indian Railway's Homepage (Unofficial)
Imperial Japanese Navy Page
Internet Movie Database

NEW YORK CITY SUBWAY RESOURCES

copyright Joe Testagrose
 

Photo of the ledgendary Third Avenue 'El' (elevated) (or Da Toid Avenoo El - in local dialect) at its northern terminal at Gun Hill Road where it joins the White Plains Road Line (#2) in the Bronx, New York. The Manhattan portion was torn down in the 1950's and the Bronx portion survived until around 1973. My Father's last firehouse was located just to the right and the Italian restaurant (Louie's) in the Godfather where Michael Corleone shoots the police Captain is also to the right there below.

Hobbies:

·Railways: New York Central, Pennsylvania, Seaboard, Atlantic Coast Line Railroads, Japan, Steam, Model Trains: 
Family:

My Grandson Jonathan and my ever-faithful hound Jack, taken Christmas, 2001. (English Springer Spaniel...full title: Stonewall Jack..named after 'Old Bluelight' as General Thomas J. (Stonewall) Jackson of the Confederate Army was known by his troops because he was very religious and was tea-total, besides one of the finest generals who ever lived) Jack is now deceased, Jan 30, 2002. We all miss him. Jonathan couldn't pronounce his name and called him "Cack!" After Jack died, he kept prowling the house calling: "Cack, Cack!" 

Warships: Nihon Kaigun, US Navy

STEAM! My only real experience as a fireman (under a foreman's supervision) was for the Minnesota Transport Museum's 1907 Roger's (ALCO) Ten Wheeler (4-6-0), ex-Northern Pacific No. 328, for one night on night watch from 2 am until 10 am, to keep the fire going and steam pressure up in preparation for the Anderson Window's company picnic the next day. It was tiring but fun! 

Me trying to correctly toss the coal onto all sides of the firebox - not as easy as it sounds - to keep the fire just right. The idea is to load up the sides and leave the center with just a light coating of new coals so as not to smother the fire with 'green' coal. .


RAILROAD! My only real experience working for a railroad was with the Florida East Coast Railway back in the winter of 1974 as a Track Laborer (^^). It was interesting, back-breaking, intense work - often pure hell but fun some times. Our gang did mostly tie replacement in muddy, weed-grown sidings, with the track buried up to the rail heads in dirt. But we also got to work on the main line, and one wonderful day we rode slowly on the main line from Hialeah Yard to West Palm Beach, following the Sperry Rail Detector and replacing faulty rail in a few spots. Beautiful day!
Here's your's truely after a grueling day leaning on our faithful labor truck, equipped with rail wheels as well as truck tires, but we seldom rode the rails.

With the help of my Afro-American compatriots like Bean, Uncle Roy, Brother Isaiah ("Alright Mike, jess gimme a little bit 'o hep, thass aaall ah need, jess a little bit of it!"), Mack, Pendergrass and my Bro, Johnny, we got a lot of work done under the guidance of our Foreman, Perkins, who looked for all the world like an athletic coach.

There was also Charlie (Afro-American too), the track inspector and his side-kick Trim (from Barbados). Charlie, always full of bounce and brimming with confidence, once had us guys do the most amazing thing - cut a rail using jacks, hammers and ice water! On the 'wye' in the Little River section of Miami, we had to cut a rail to fit - and had no rail saw with us - so Charlie had us put the rail in the middle of the track, place big jacks to bend the rail, then as it bent farther and farther, keep hitting in one spot with big spike hammers and pouring ice water on the spot - and sure enough it snapped right where we wanted it!!

The worst job we ever did was when a big GP7 diesel locomotive 'split the rails' in a warehouse district on newly laid track laid on Florida's famous 'sugar sand,' which has little stability. The engine split the track and was on the ground - for over two weeks - we had to re-build the track and ballast it with rock practically under the engine, which kept on splitting the track - until it finally crept out of there.


20th Century History:

The 20th Century could have been the happiest, most productive century ever, but countless tiny twists of fate rendered the most disasterous, disgusting, dramatic, ironic yet at the same time, noble and heroic time imaginable. Any fiction pales by comparison. No novel ever written or ever will be written could come close to the drama of the 20th Century. Good times and bad, progress and poverty, unimaginable horror perpetrated on people just because of race or beliefs.

The US, in popular history, supposed to be always the 'good guys' was forced to face itself and realize the hipocrisy it has always practiced internally (racial discrimination, grinding poverty, crime) and externally (supporting right-wing dictatorships because they were on our side, excessive brutality towards conquered peoples - the Phillipines, Vietnam, Native Americans...) at last by the Vietnam War and the civil rights struggle brought these issues to a head. Yet the ideals we Americans hold sacred, of Liberty and Justice for all, while seldom actually practiced, were, nevertheless a shining ideal that we still strive for - maybe one day. Now, with the demise of the communist empires, mankind has a golden opportunity unprecedented in history to act as 'one world' without the poisons and passions of nationalism. Yet, will we be able to overcome short-sightedness and narrow-mindedness and make the last years of this Century a path to peace at last, in the future?

The tiny twists of fate on which great events turned are endlessly fascinating. There was hope in the 1920's, before fascism became fashionable. Art, Jazz, Radio, etc. Culture and communication are always vehicles that promote peace. The Weimar Republic's explosion of art, music, cinema and a similar movememt in Japan in the 20's and 30's offered hope - but the Great Depression finally brought the nationalist passions to a head resulting in World War II. That era of the early 20th Century is the most interesting to me.

History is often neglected and most people only have 'impressions' of history and do not realize some interesting facts: For example, it is a popular notion in the west that the Japanese "Don't innovate, they copy everything." During the early 20th Century, the western powers seriously under-estimated the Japanese. For example, they built one of the finest and most powerful navies that ever sailed. They innovated construction techniques to save weight, by incorporating armor as part of the hull and not a seperate belt, invented advanced hull designs and torpedos that were larger and twice the range of any known torpedo and left no tell-tale wake! It is too bad that all that innovation was devoted to war but for a people who had never even used a steam engine before the 1860's, it is amazing.
 


Cinema:

Through the cinema, a close imitation of life, we come closest to being able to express the true passion of the human race. Old movies, for example, are windows to worlds that no longer exist, even though they represent a specific point of view. I love older Japanese cinema, Director Kenji Mizoguchi in particular (Osaka Elegy, 1936; A Geisha, 1951, Street of Shame, 1955 to name a few) a real advocate of women. Weimar Republic cinema, Fritz Lang (M, 1931) GW Pabst (Kameradschaft, 1931; Dreigroschenopper, 1931; Blue Angel, 1930) But I also really love cinema just for fun: The Marx Brothers, WC Fields, and modern cinema: I like actors Schwartzeneger, Robin Williams to name a few and movies such as: The Blues Brothers, Trading Places, Monty Python's Life of Brian and other silly comedies. Plus great films like "Dead Poet's Society," "Shawshank Redemption" and just good films like "Shall We Dansu?"

IJN SUZUYA

(courtesy of Imperial Japanese Navy Page)

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