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Sound familier?

In her "near-futuristic" novel, she writes:
The state starts moving money around. A little fairness here, little more fairness there. . . . 

Eventually social democracies all arrive at the same tipping point: where half the country depends on the other half. . . . Government becomes a pricey, clumsy, inefficient mechanism for transferring wealth from people who do something to people who don’t, and from the young to the old — which is the wrong direction. All that effort, and you’ve only managed a new unfairness.

Slouching into Dystopia - A wry squint into our grim future

Read more at: http://www.nationalreview.com/article/445502/lionel-shriver-dystopian-novel-the-mandibles

BUSINESS and INDUSTRY (Times-News Archives)

Asbury Technical Institute has produced 36 techs who were hired into Asbury stores so far

Automotive News
July 6, 2015 - 12:01 am ET

ATLANTA -- While some dealers scream about technician shortages, Asbury Automotive Group is trying to plug those gaps by training more of its techs in-house.

Craig Monaghan
CEO Asbury
The public dealership group launched Asbury Technical Institute last year in a former dealership in suburban Atlanta. So far, the school has produced 36 techs who were hired into jobs at Asbury stores. Another 25 or so are expected to graduate this year.

The school is expected to help Asbury reach its goal of adding between 200 and 400 technicians in the next couple of years.

"These students are moving right back into our stores and adding value in a relatively short period of time, so we just think it's a win-win for everybody," Asbury CEO Craig Monaghan told Automotive News.

Technicians themselves were the impetus for the school. Some Asbury master techs approaching retirement told executives they'd like to stay with the company in teaching roles. At the time, Asbury was moving an Audi dealership to a new site, which freed up the service department space at the old store. The first class of 12 technicians graduated in September, just in time to start filling open positions at Asbury's Atlanta-area Nalley dealerships.

"We're always on the edge of having enough technicians," said Ryland Owen, Asbury regional director of training and recruiting.

The volume of work in Asbury's service departments grew during the recession, and that has continued, Owen said. At the same time, the repair industry has suffered from a decline in people interested in becoming technicians, creating bottlenecks for dealerships.

Ryland Owen
Asbury regional director of training/recruiting,
former IMSA Racing official 
"You combine all these forces, and we realized we were coming to a point where we just can't plain do enough work for customers and meet their needs and grow our business unless we have enough technicians," Owen said. "And we're faced with a general lack of technicians in the marketplace. Corporate decided let's make an investment here."

Tool set to go
Asbury declined to say how much it has spent on the institute. The available space meant capital costs were relatively low, but it's still a significant investment. Asbury pays the students a $12 hourly wage for 40 hours a week during their 12-week training. The retailer gives each of them a $5,000 tool set upon graduation.

Graduates must agree to work at Asbury for at least a year. So far, four have left early, including one for health reasons. That's still less than Owen expected, based on industry norms for beginner techs. Anyone leaving early must return the tools and pay a prorated amount of the training costs.

The students are a mix of ages and backgrounds. About 20 percent come from jobs at Asbury stores -- porters or car washers looking to move up, for instance, Owen said. Others are referred by Asbury employees, often friends or relatives, or answer ads that Asbury posts on the Internet. Students have ranged in age from 18 to mid-40s. Most have some exposure to auto repair, even if only through high school auto shop classes. About two-thirds of school time is spent doing hands-on, in-shop training, and the rest is classroom instruction.

The school graduates a class every four months. Upon graduation, students become entry-level technicians, but they do more than just oil changes, Owen said. "These are people who will go to a store and do basic maintenance," he said.

Asbury will consider adding schools in other markets if the Atlanta center continues to perform well, Monaghan said. The company has locations in North Carolina and Florida that could be candidates, Owen said.

'Into the fire'
For graduates, the training continues on the job at the dealership, and wages can increase swiftly.

Jonathan Hambrick, 24, graduated from the program last fall and began working at Nalley BMW of Decatur. He now makes $18 an hour and recently bought his first house. Hambrick had worked as a mechanic before but had no formal training. He was referred to the program by a friend who works at a Nalley Infiniti store.

The tool set and the job guarantee appealed to Hambrick, who said he probably wouldn't have gone back to mechanic work without the program.

"I had such a bad experience," Hambrick said. "I had worked at two mom-and-pop shops in the past. In the dealership setting, there's a lot more give and take and more understanding, more professionalism, more laid-out guidelines of what you're supposed to do."

He's doing a full range of jobs at the BMW store.

"When I first came out of tech school, it was straight into the fire," Hambrick said. "So far, it's worked out."

Burkey & Cox CPA firm is loading up with Certified Quickbooks ProAdvisors

Palmdale - Lancaster, Southern California

These days both large and small companies are using QuickBooks software to enter their bank transactions, create estimates, invoices, manage and pay bills, payroll, inventory, etc. and the list goes on. Then they have the ability to turn all this information over to a their CPA firm -- saving loads of time and ultimately, money.

 Certified QuickBooks ProAdvisors are experts who have been tested and certified by Intuit on a range of QuickBooks products. They are typically CPAs and advanced accountants and auditors working for CPA firms.

One CPA firm in particular is adding Certified Quickbooks experts and making accounting even easier and more streamlined for their clients. Burkey, Cox, Evans and Bradford of Southern California's Antelope Valley has jumped on this trend and works with their QuickBook-using clients hand-in-hand with their accounting preparation.

Certified ProAdvisors at Burkey & Cox are helping businesses get the most out of their QuickBooks software. They provide a range of services, including: QuickBooks setup, training, payroll and consulting, among others.

Burkey & Cox partner, Laura Bradford explains, "Our certified pro advisors show the clients how to operate and properly enter their information so we can do our magic and reduce their company tax bills, operating costs and even more."

"Our motto is: It's not what you earn... it's what you keep."
And we are relentless in achieving that for our clients," Bradford emphasized.
The most valuable part of the pro advisor program seems to be the Certification Training. These pro advisors learn so much each year and use that knowledge to better serve our clients.

The late Lorraine Holt, ProAdvisor
"I am excited about the additional insight I received," said Lorraine Holt. "And I look forward to better serving our clients by sharing with them this higher level of expertise -- either over the phone or one-on-one at their office."
Brenda Cohen, ProAdvisor
Lorraine was not "new" to QuickBooks. She had been using the program since 1998. Over the years she had helped many clients with companies of all sizes.

Charissa Crouch, CPA, ProAdvisor
Kyle Lindaman, CPA, ProAdvisor

Other Burkey Cox CPAs, accountants and staff are: 
Partners: Scott Evans, CPA, CFP, Laura A. Bradford, CPA, Harold W. Manning, CPA
CPAs, Accountants, Auditors: Jennifer M. Evans, CPA, Kenneth S. Evans, CPA, Janette Henriquez, CPA, Kyle M. Lindaman, CPA, Brenda Cohen, Charissa Crouch, CPA, Lorraine Holt, Chris Horne, Raymond Langley, Darci O'Neal, Cheryl Prescott, Stacy Ren, Terrie Ruiz, Robin Zink,
Payroll Services: Kim Redding
Partners' Assistants: Bobbie Simmons, Victoria Gehring, Charma Leonard,
Administrative: Joan Brautigam, Jessica Busic, Rancy Manning
Past: Terry L. Snedigar, Enrolled Agent - EA

Mike Busse and WESTCANN helping newspapers to gather new ad revenue

WESTCANN (the Western States Co-Op Advertising Newspaper Network) is a non-profit organization of western U.S. and Canadian newspapers dedicated to new business development.
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Simply put: The past conference in March, 2011 demonstrated to newspaper ad sales people how to find and gather new advertising co-op money for their publications.
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This 31st conference was hosted by the Los Angeles Times. This is the only nationwide Sales Conference that provides valuable information on how to capture co-op ad dollars. Newspaper people from all regions of the US were invited to attend. Take it from me ... you will reward yourself and your media company by attending the next conference.
The Los Angeles Times hosted the 31st WESTCANN Conference. Attendees stayed at the nearby Grand Kyoto Hotel and Gardens.
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Mike Busse founded WESTCANN to teach advertising professionals how to translate hidden dollars into new business for newspapers. They will learn about the new co-op procedures that make the process simple. Manufacturers will present new co-op advertising opportunities and will tell you how their money can be used through advertising by local independent retailers.
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Their speakers have sold millions of dollars of new business revenue into their newspapers by using co-op advertising as a base. Co-op advertising funds billions of dollars of local advertising nationwide but most of the money made available by manufacturers for local advertising goes unused.

WESTCANN has made arrangements with The Grand Kyoto Hotel and Gardens to offer a special half-price discount for Conference  goers. The hotel is within walking distance to the Times building.

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The people attending the next conference will meet and learn from "the best of the best" at this profit-making sales gathering.
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Before Mike Busse founded WESTCANN in 1989 he had headed the Los Angeles Times advertising office in New York City. Selling ads for a newspaper 3,000 miles away wasn't easy but the big ad agencies were all there and Mike excelled at pitching the LA Times' Southern California market to the national advertisers.
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During that time Mike discovered a fortune in hidden print advertising dollars available in just about every market. National companies have funds earmarked for local distributers of their products. The only problem is, unlike a major market like LA or New York, a sales rep for a local publication doesn't know who to call on to shake lose those dollars.
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Mike's story would make a good episode on AMC's "Mad Men," because when Mike went to New York, newspapers were flourishing. Now, many newspapers are struggling with printing, delivery and operating costs and competing with the 'undocumented' news of the internet.
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Mike and the WESTCANN volunteers of working newspaper people have a dedicated affection for newspapers and want them to be around forever. I myself can't imagine a world without a printed newspaper delivered to my door every day. When you think about it, that's quite a service. And without advertising it would never have been.
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I had the pleasure of working and selling advertising with Mike Busse years ago at a daily newspaper chain in Southern California. Mike had just returned from Vietnam as a decorated soldier to his old sales job after serving our country in the U.S. Army. Even back then, Mike showed me and others how to tap into the co-op "vault." Soon I had several local appliance stores that advertised very little before, now running full page and double-truck ads on a weekly basis.
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Mike was soon snapped up by the L.A. Times and I never had a chance to thank him. It was a nice surprise to find out that he's still helping newspaper people and their organizations. Thanks Mike. -- Jim Owen
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Past WESTCANN host newspapers have been:
Orange County Register, Las Vegas Review Journal, Salt Lake City Tribune, Dallas Morning News, Times-News (Idaho), East Valley Tribune (Mesa, Arizona), Arizona Republic, Calgary Herald (Canada), Miles Media (Gig Harbor, WA), Oregonian (Portland, OR), San Diego News Tribune, Riverside Press Enterprise, San Bernardino Sun, Long Beach Press Telegram, San Jose Mercury News, San Jose State University, Sacramento Bee, San Francisco Chronicle, Marinscope Newspapers

UPDATE: Michael C. Busse passed away on December 11, 2012.  
Mike was born on December 28, 1942 and was survived by wife, Gloria J. Busse; sons, Brad and Kurt Busse; mother, Lucille Busse, brother Kenneth and other relatives. 

A Celebration of his Life took place on Saturday, February 9, 2013 at St. John's Lutheran Church, Orange, CA. Please make donations to your local Veteran's Association in his honor.


The New Honda NC700X is Getting Dirty!
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Honda hasn't produced a "real" off-road Adventure bike out of its popular new eco-friendly NC700X but that didn't stop Owen Art Studios from adding the front and rear wheels, tires and suspension from Honda's XR650 off-road motorcycle. Of course this Owen Art version is all Photoshop but many owners have already installed knobby tires on the stock wheels and are reporting that their off-road equipped NC700x's can go anywhere a proper GS-type adventure bike can go -- and getting over 60 MPG off-road it can certainly go farther.

The new Honda sells for about $7000 and can get over 75 MPG on paved roads.

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 The owner of this NC700X has fabricated a protective bottom plate, off-road tires, extra lights and even added a winch for when the going gets really rough. He is also making suspension modifications and rugged saddle bags. 

RideApart.com a motorcycle news website tested the NC700X in off-road conditions and reported good results for a bike with nothing more than knobby tires added. 
Wes Siler reported: "Strip the plastic off the NC and you can see just how low and centralized its mass is.  While practicing low-speed control alongside other riders on everything from single-cylinder dirt bikes to the big KTMs and BMWs, the humble little Honda drew envious stares. Balance is so good and so easy, standing on it, both legs up, at 0mph, just comes naturally."
"The engine’s Diesel-like character — most torque is just above idle, there’s no benefit to revving it out to the redline — also sees it simply drive over any obstacle you can throw at it. Even very steep, walking pace climbs can be tackled in 2nd or 3rd gear; the NC will just walk right up whatever you ask it to. It helps, too, that the fueling is completely smooth and hiccup free. You can get off the clutch as soon as you pull away, then just control everything with only the throttle until you decide to come to a dead stop."
"That suspension that sounds so basic (just 5.4 inches of travel front and 5.9 rear), actually ends up being well damped. I was able to attack whoops in the sand and gravel at speed and, instead of bottoming out, the bike just floated over the top. In fact, I didn’t find the suspension’s stops once all weekend. Neither did I drag the low, exposed sump."
RideApart.com photo  
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Former racer Jerry Welch runs Lefty Guitar Store after motorcycle crash

Jerry Welch at the race track during his motorcycle racing days.
By Sam Burnes
SARASOTA, FL — Jerry Welch was a motorcycle road racer in the Southeast CCS (Championship Cup Series) region.  But before Jerry's motorcycle racing years he was a contractor, designer and builder of high-end houses and a self-taught guitar player. He bought his first guitar -- a right handed Martin Vega V845.
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Guitar playing became his hobby and his passion. And, just as he was getting good he lost his left index finger in a construction accident. After the finger accident he thought his guitar playing days were done. Looking for another passion, he took up an interest in motorsports and eventually bought a street motorcycle and built a race bike for road racing events.
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Jerry's first season of racing netted him the #2 spot in the series. But like a lot of motorcycle racers who are fast, Jerry got banged up pretty bad over the years. He hit the 'bare' wall, head-first at Daytona International Speedway coming out of the chicane when his handle bar came loose. In addition to injuring knees, elbows and shoulders, his helmet visor cut a deep gash under his eye and he still suffers from double vision at night. He returned and built a brand new Suzuki SV650 with all the right stuff and went racing again. Doing quite well with the new bike he crashed at Moroso and broke his collar bone pretty bad. And, it took a long time to heal.
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Jerry, who's a muscular six-foot-something, soon realized that the bigger you are, the harder you fall and that maybe it was time for a guy in his late 40s to quit road racing motorcycles. So again, he was having to quit something he loved because of injuries.
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After he quit motorcycle racing and without a hobby, he decided he really wanted to play the guitar again and it seemed playing left handed was the answer. Having a full hand to fret with seemed more important than a full hand to strum with. So Jerry became a lefty player.   He banged around Jimi Hendrix-style on that 'turned around' Vega for years before deciding to find a factory lefty. Any lefty knows what happened next -- frustration. Not even 1% of guitars built are lefties, even though 8 to 10 percent of the population are lefties.
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Jerry eventually accumulated a large personal collection of about 25 left-handed guitars but was still unhappy with the limited choices all lefties have. He wanted more choices so he spoke with many manufacturers about making more models available. He was told pretty unanimously that they would be happy to make him lefties if he would order them in quantities that would make production feasible. So he did, and now he's a successful dealer of only left-handed guitars and string instruments.
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The business took off and today Jerry's Lefty Guitars is now a household name to left-handed guitar, mandolin and bass players the world over and offers hundreds of lefty guitars on his website, new and used.

Jerry Welch at the NAMM dealer show in California with custom woodcrafter and boat builder, Thomas Tuten in the foreground.

He's finally getting to play a wider range of instruments. As a matter of fact he's having guitar models built that have never been available before to lefties. You lefties can thank Jerry Welch for that.
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Jerry now has a huge collection of lefty guitars, a growing business that he's passionate about, and a nice collection of street and racing motorcycles in his garage, including his original Ducati M900 "Monster."
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He even claims that becoming a left-handed player after playing right handed for years is good exercise for the brain, and has a whole right brain, left brain usage thing on his website. If it does, in fact, make you smarter, I think I'll switch my mouse pad over to the left of my keyboard. It's a start.
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By the way, a short list of well-known lefty guitarists are Jimi Hendrix, Paul McCartney, Kurt Cobain of Nirvana, Cesar Rosas of Los Lobos, David Cook of American Idle fame, Dick Dale, Iggi Pop, Elliot Easton head an all-star cast including other greats like Jackie King, Billy Hinds, Omar Rodriguez-Lopez of The Mars Volta, Toronzo Cannon, Al McKay of Earth, Wind, and Fire, Dean Tidey, Steve Hammond, Angel Reca, The Campbell brothers, Michael Anthony, Michael Lund, David Booker,  Tom Holland, Coco Montoya, Ollie Halsall, Tim Armstrong of Rancid, Andrew "Tone" Smith, Tony Iommi, Albert King, Davey Scott, Ronnie Mutone of The Roost, Jimmy Cliff and producer/perfomrer Michael Stein.
Visit Jerry's blog.
Or his website at jerrysleftyguitars.com

A R T • H O M E • D E C O R

Rockford Files painting of "29 Cove Road" Malibu trailer art 
This particular "Cove Road" print #29 hangs on the wall of script writer Rob Howe, the creator/moderator of The Official James Garner Fan Page on Facebook. Howe was a staff member during the Rockford Files TV show and the movies that followed. The painting is also available as a limed edition giclee wall hanging (see link below).
In honor of the newly-released book, The Garner Files, by James Garner and Jon Winokur, California motorsports artist, Beacham Owen has painted a group "portrait" of the famous vehicles from the popular TV show of the 1970s and early 1980s. The painting* is titled, "Cove Road" and sells for $59 (artist-signed giclee print) from Owen Art Studios.

According to Owen and the huge fan-base of The Rockford Files aficionados, after James Garner and the show's regulars, the co-stars of the show were the vehicles, starting with the beautifully ugly beach-side trailer that Jim Rockford called home in Paradise Cove, Malibu -- an actual place that one can visit today, sans trailer and the section of the parking lot where the trailer took residence during the show. Flanking the rusting and corroded home is Rockford's trusty and powerful Pontiac Firebird and his father, Rocky's (played by Noah Beery, Jr.) GMC 4x4 truck. And, that's what the painting shows, along with a begging seagull standing in the parking lot foreground.

* A limit edition of 500 reproductions of the "Cove Road" art is available to Rockford File fans exclusively from Owen Art Studios -- link below.

The new book has had rave, even affectionate reviews from coast to coast and abroad and looks to be a huge success. Read the Los Angeles Times review -- link below.

See the "Cove Road" painting bigger with information at the
Owen Art Studios website.

The Los Angeles Times' Mary McNamara delivered an insightful review of the book, The Garner Files.

Interesting Rockford Files Blog by Jim Suva contains many photos including film location shots.

The Rockford Files Firebirds Facebook page

Dudes and decor...
the new trend in wall art for men

Claiming their territory... Out with the pictures that match the sofa and up with wall hangings for men.
LOS ANGELES Decorating, or simply adding some of your own personality to your surroundings is hard enough -- and more so if you are a man trying to decorate your home or apartment, office or even your "man cave." 

For years there's been a void of manly, yet tasteful, limited edition wall hangings for men. Other than sports posters from cheap poster companies, there wasn't much a guy could hang to claim his territory. And posters are considered a decorating faux Pas, because they're mass-produced, low quality and they fade fast and discolor within a few weeks.

This large giclee reproduction of Jo Siffert's Porsche 917 is pre-trimmed to fit a standard size frame. And, it's hand-signed by artist Beacham "Beach" Owen. 
See "Accidental find" below...
Problem solved:  
Enter beautiful limited edition road and highway scenes, motorsports art and historical vintage racing photos for your walls. So, out with the abstract picture that matches the sofa and those fu-fu flowers and landscapes from the "discount store" embarrassingly taking up space on your guy walls. Do house guests actually look at these things or even make a positive comment, other than saying, it's interesting?
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Now hang a 30-inch framed black-and-white photo of Steve McQueen hauling butt down the back airport straightaway at Sebring in 1970, and watch your friends' faces light up. Or another large vintage motorcycle grand prix action scene of "King" Kenny Roberts with rival Barry Sheene cresting a European hill-top back in the day. And for the mantle, a beautiful large canvas giclee of a bright red Ferrari Testarossa painted and hand-signed by artist Beacham Owen. Ahhh, it's your home again.
     These are just a few of the many delights available from the collection of Owen Art Studios -- a California company that's been offering these unique motorsports wall hangings since the 1980s, but known only to the likes of Jay Leno, Jerry Seinfeld, and other serious motorsports collectors, until the Studio went on-line in 1998 with their collection of limited edition works. Just about all the Studio's art purchases are now through the website, and European and U.S. sales are running about fifty-fifty.
Barry Sheene and Kenny Roberts 1981 photo print for sale at Owen Art Studios
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This large giclee photo print is over 36-inches wide when framed.

Accidental find: 
I discovered these quality giclees by accident while picking up a print that my wife had framed at our local Michael's art and framing store. There was a young man there who had brought in a painting on canvas of Jo Siffert's Porsche 917 appearing through the early-morning mist at Spa Francorchamps. "Wow," I thought, the Porsche, in Gulf Oil livery was glowing against the dark background -- it was beautiful, almost haunting. He had another large painting of old Burt Munro fish-tailing his Indian Scout streamliner towards the time traps at Bonneville -- right out of 1960s history and the cult movie, "The World's Fastest Indian." All I could imagine was these types of very unique works of art hanging in my home, and looking at them every day. I began talking to my new friend about his art and almost forgot to pick up my wife's framed flower print.
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The story of his art:
The young man with the very cool and "manly" artworks told me that he had purchased a colorful painting of Valentino Rossi crashing his Honda NSR500 MotoGP bike in the rain, a painting by Beacham Owen (signed "Beach") and hung it in his office/cubicle at work. Before long, people would stop by and admire it, and he found out that many of  his co-workers, whom he hadn't known that well before, were also into cars and motorcycles, rode and took weekend adventure trips, just as he did.  He said with amazement, "Because of that painting at the office I've found some really neat friends, of all ages, with the same interest as me. "I would never have gotten to know them otherwise."

His new art pieces were not for his small office, but were going home to the walls of his new house.  After talking and getting to know him a little, I knew he wouldn't be in that cubicle much longer.

Pasadena Harbor 110 freeway, Los Angeles, art, painting by Beacham "Beach" Owen
This acrylic painting by artist Beach Owen (Beacham Owen) is a Los Angeles Pasadena-Harbor Freeway scene titled "110 to I-5 North."
Even people who aren't exactly motor-sport fans seem to find these wall hangings fascinating, as other frame-shoppers at the store were asking him questions too.  And if you're like me, a semi "car guy" who rode a motorcycle in college, these wall hangings conjured up all the great memories and enthusiasm I used to have about cars and bikes -- and still do.

I remember when some friends and I drove many hours to see the 24-hours of Daytona, and the 12-hours of Sebring back in the 1970s.  We slept in a van and walked the track and the paddock looking at all the cars and crazy goings-on for days. Where else can you wake up at two in the morning, walk down to the paddock garages and watch million-dollar cars, up close, being repaired while famous drivers waited to get back in the race. I actually saw Steve McQueen, just a few feet away, sitting on a pit wall with his foot in a cast.  Man, those were good times. I never realized how important those memories would become.
Steve Mcqueen sitting on the pit wall at Sebring during the 1970 12-hour road race, Porsche 908 #48

In the 1980s we all got together again and went to the AMA motorcycle races at Road Atlanta. Milestones for sure and they bonded us for life. We always talked about getting together again and going to LeMans and the Isle of Man. And, you know, it's not too late. Thanks to Owen Art Studios, I'm encouraged to pull this off. Right now, I'm just waiting for my new BMW cafe racers wall hangings to arrive. It's about a 3-day wait for photo print, but I can endure -- after all, I'm a man.

Malcolm Hailwood

This article contains information about wall art and photos of road and highway art scenes, auto racing, motorcycle - motorbike scenes and racers, formula one (1) cars, moto-gp, world superbike, AMA races, and events at Sebring, Daytona, LeMans, Spa, Phillip Island, Laguna Seca, Loudon, Road America, Road Atlanta and other American, European and Asian tracks.

Pilot, Gary Pidgeon Paints Motorsports Art

Commercial pilot, Gary Pidgeon has been creating beautiful first-rate paintings of cars, motorcycles and aircraft since he was a kid growing up in Southern California. But just to make sure he wouldn't end up a talented but starving artist, he went to college to study his art and also aeronautics.

When you're passionate about something and lucky enough to have artistic talent the first thing you do is draw and paint your passion, then you go out and do it for real. That's what Gary Pidgeon did.

Not long ago Gary emailed California-based Owen Art Studios to see if they could help introduce his motorsports art to the international market. Owen Art Studios specializes in unique motorsports artworks and has been very successful in supplying the world's motoring enthusiasts with quality art, paintings and giclees since the 1980s.

According to the Studio, Gary sent over a photo of his Johnny "Rutherford at Indy" -- a 6-foot-wide bright yellow Chaparral Indy Car painting that he created years ago and they were blown away. He then sent over a Michael Schumacher Ferrari painting and they said they would love to help him and even print out his giclees and put them on their web gallery for the world to see. The Studio is also the home of fellow motorsports artist Beacham Owen who was very impressed with Gary's work.

Emigrating from England in 1946, Gary Pidgeon's mother and father settled in the Los Angeles area, where he was born. His father was a machinist-fabricator and a sports car enthusiast who introduced young Gary to the world of motorsports and machines. Gary was soon driving his parents crazy by painting everything in sight. Raised on a steady diet of go-carts, dirt bikes, road bikes and everything from Datsun 510s to Chevrolet Corvettes, Gary became engulfed in the SoCal auto and aerospace culture. These interests worked their way into his paintings and quickly became the thematic focus for his artwork.

Gary's drawing ability transitioned into vibrant acrylic paintings, gaining recognition by the community and winning awards. It was a proud moment for Gary when one of his paintings ("Rutherford at Indy") caught the attention of 3-time Indy 500 champ Johnny Rutherford and he called to discuss purchasing it. Although Gary studied art in college, his passion for aviation drew him to the air and he obtained his private pilot license. The racing urge still strong, Gary enrolled in a 3-day driving course at the old, classic Riverside International Raceway with the Jim Russell British School of Motor Racing. He also participated in some school sponsored run-offs a few months later. But fully catching the flying "bug," he obtained an instrument rating, a commercial license with flight instructor ratings and ultimately an Airline Transport Pilot license. Gary finally achieved one of his dreams by becoming a commercial airline pilot with SkyWest Airlines who are booked through AirTran Airways, Delta Air Lines and United Airlines in the eastern U.S.

Always artistically committed, Gary has been absorbing influences and refining his style for many years. He painted whenever raising a family and his pilot career allowed. Now, with his two daughters grown up and off to college, Gary is very excited to be able to devote more time to his art and now, share it with the public! The public can now see his work at the Owen Art Studios' online gallery at www.owenartstudios.com.

Does size really matter?

By Kathryn S (TNT Motorsports Archives)

As far as race car drivers are concerned it certainly does…and with the advent of KERS, all the more so.

The additional weight of the entire KERS is not the critical factor as the cars are built to be significantly under the weight limits. What it does affect is weight distribution. Ballast is used to bring the car up to weight and the ability to distribute this ballast advantageously is what is lost with the KERS system and a “heavy” driver. According to some, the race-long positive affect of weight distribution “outweighs” any advantage KERS might bring in short bursts.

Much was made last year of the fact that Robert Kubica had lost a good deal of weight from his already slender frame so as to provide better balance on his car—apparently to some good effect. But the prospect of KERS has put him and some of the other tall drivers under pressure.

Is this fair…and should new rules be made to correct or ameliorate the penalty on the “big” drivers? Once I get past the “life is inherently not fair” adage, it seems to me that an accommodation needs to be made if KERS becomes mandatory. It has been and always will be more difficult for heavier drivers to make it in motor sports. Most formulas’ weight limits include the driver in the computation. What, to me, seems wrong is to allow these drivers to reach the pinnacle of their sport then change a rule that increases the penalty for their size and puts them at a competitive disadvantage.

As of yet, KERS has not been proven to be a winner for most of the teams…it was reported that only three cars were using KERS in the last race. Should the regulations, as has been discussed, include the use of a mandatory spec KERS for 2010, weight limits need to be raised to include the additional weight of the KERS. The “big boys” will still be disadvantaged, but not double penalized.

Posted by Kathryn S on April 21, 2009 at 02:41 PM in Formula One Times Fanzine Fanzone

Art and Racing dreams (TNT Archives)

Artist, Beacham Owen took photographs of Bobby Rahal racing in Australia, then returned home and painted this scene on a commission from Miller Genuine Draft Beer.

By Kyrra Casey - Knight-Ridder Newspapers Archive: June 29, 1996
Last year's Christmas gift was the spark that Florida artist, Beacham Owen needed to follow a lifelong dream of motorsport racing.
"I had been wanting to go racing for the past 20 years, But I didn't get the chance until my wife, Birgit gave me a 3-day competition racing course for Christmas," Owen said.

After completing the course at the Skip Barber Racing School at Sebring International Raceway, Owen has completed two events in the Barber Racing Series and hopes to find a sponsor for the Formula Dodge racer that he drives and compete in the SCCA (Sports Car Club of America) National Series.

"I'm in training now for the Formula Dodge Race Series starting June 14, in Lime Rock,
Connecticut," Owen said.

Owen's car uses a 2-liter Dodge 4-cylinder 16-valve engine in a Mondiale chassis made in Ireland. The car can reach speeds in the 140-mph range and can go from 0 to 60 in a little over four seconds. "This car handles so good that it can easily beat a more-powerful Corvette or a Viper around the Sebring road course," he said.

Owen, a well-known motorsports artist and co-owner, art director at Graphic Island Advertising said that learning to drive a race car was quite an experience. Owen replied, "Everything about a purpose-built race car is different from a street car. The race car's transmission allows you to up-shift and down-shift much faster and without using the clutch. Handling is go-kart-like and you're practically lying down when you drive, so you must learn every corner entry and exit of the track because you're almost at ground level."

The 3-day driving course cost about $2,000 with each days lapping and practice sessions running about $700.

Once he got the hang of things, Owen caught the attention of professional drivers and instructors, Vic Elford, Walt Boran, John Lewis and Terry McQuistin, who found him passing most of his opponents. They encouraged him to keep training.

"Once you learn the capabilities of the car it's a lot easier," Owen said. "They use the Mark Donohue method of trail-braking into the apex of a turn and I literally spun-out on just about every turn at Sebring until I perfected the method. I also learned to be much smoother, which is very important in such a light car."

You will find a wide variety of people learning how to drive the race cars, according to Owen.

"It was a split in my class between the beginners, like me, and some pro NASCAR and sprint car drivers coming to improve their road racing abilities," he said. We had a few housewives and some other folks who just like to drive fast."

Owen said mental training as well as physical training is needed to be successful. "A race in this series lasts about 30 minutes and the key is to keep focused, know what's going on all around you and where you are in the race. It's also good to practice the foot-work needed for driving fast. I work out physically by lifting weights and riding a bike. Staying in shape helps me get through that 30 minutes without getting too worn out. Plus I was happy to loose 20 pounds."

Owen also said, "There is such an adrenalin rush that I know what Steve McQueen meant when he said, 'life is racing, everything else is just waiting,' or something like that. People that race are thinking about it all the time and waiting for the next one."

Beacham Owen's involvement in auto racing also includes the artwork. For a long time he has been painting cars and motorcycles and selling limited edition prints of his work in galleries and on the internet.

Miller Genuine Draft recently commissioned a painting of Bobby Rahal at the Australian Grand Prix for their Guam office.