The Explanation
(for those who require one)

And, of course, that is what all of this is -- all of this: the one song, ever changing, ever reincarnated, that speaks somehow from and to and for that which is ineffable within us and without us, that is both prayer and deliverance, folly and wisdom, that inspires us to dance or smile or simply to go on, senselessly, incomprehensibly, beatifically, in the face of mortality and the truth that our lives are more ill-writ, ill-rhymed and fleeting than any song, except perhaps those songs -- that song, endlesly reincarnated -- born of that truth, be it the moon and June of that truth, or the wordless blue moan, or the rotgut or the elegant poetry of it. That nameless black-hulled ship of Ulysses, that long black train, that Terraplane, that mystery train, that Rocket '88', that Buick 6 -- same journey, same miracle, same end and endlessness."
-- Nick Tosches, Where Dead Voices Gather

The City: Reno #8

Original Caption:

Reno -- Industialist William P. Lear shows how his newly-developed steam turbine for low pollution vehicles fits under hood of an automobile. The turbine, weighing only 20 pounds, is a major component of the Lear steam system which also includes vapor generator, reduction gear box, condensers and control system. Complete system fits under the hood. Lear expects his steam car to be running "early next July" (1970)


MichaelRyerson said...

Okay, I'll bite. What do we have here? Another one of those shadow-industrial conspiracies to bury emerging, non-petroleum based technologies? Lear was certainly no neophyte. He had a track record and should have been able to attract some substantial money-men. I wonder what happened.

MichaelRyerson said...

Okay, reporting back. It would seem the estimable Mr. Lear may have been a bit of a snake oil salesman.

Peter L. Winkler said...

The simple fact is that steam engines that are small, reliable and produce enough horsepower are easier said than done. That's why the Stanley Steamer was succeeded by cars powered by internal combustion engines.

mndean said...

Indeed. There were a few buses retrofitted with his turbine out here in the Bay Area to test this idea out.

They failed.