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Paul's Playthings

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Click (Clack?) here for more MG-TD pictures

Call it midlife crisis. For my fifty-fourth birthday, I plunked down ten grand and bought myself this 1951 MG-TD, a car I've been lusting after ever since I sold my Austin Healy Sprite in 1969. At right is a fellow midlife crisis victim, the late Tom Magliozzi, of NPR's Car Talk, with his then-newly acquired 1952 MG-TD. The sketch is borrowed without permission from the Car Talk website. I think my car is even more beautiful than Click's. (Or is that Clack's?) was. But then, I paid more.
British sports car enthusiasts might want to check this link for the best MG-TD website I've seen.
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Dr. SETI's guitar Yet another birthday present. For Year 55 (which, he emphasizses, is an age, not a speed limit), Dr. SETI bought himself this 2000 Ovation Legend Classical, model 1863. His first electro-acoustical guitar, it necessitated the purchase of a Fender Acoustasonic 30 amplifier, and a Shure TPD-CE wireless microphone system. Now Paul has a ton of additional gear to schlep along on gigs (but it makes him sound so much better!)

click on thumbnail Since I was not able to wait the three months 'til my fifty-seventh birthday, my loving wife gave me this VW New Beetle Turbo-S for Valentine's Day, 2003. Ordering it in red (to match the old Nighthawk motorcycle and Funk airplane -- see below) was my idea. The 180 HP turbocharged 20-valve engine was Volkswagen's idea. The red bow was hers. click on thumbnail

In 2010, the VW was traded in on this 177 HP, 4-cylinder 2006 Pontiac Solstice... click on thumbnail

...which, in 2014, was traded in on this 250 HP, 3.2 liter 6-cylinder 2000 Porsche Boxster S... click on thumbnail

...which in turn, in 2015, was traded in on this 265 HP, 2.9 liter 6-cylinder 2009 Porsche Cayman. (What kind of sports car will next year bring? Stay tuned!) click on thumbnail

Another present to myself. For Christmas 2004, I added to my art collection this breathtaking painting by my friend Jon Lomberg. Jon is a prominent space artist, and was Carl Sagan's longtime illustrator and collaborator. "Approaching the Milky Way" was a key frame from the original COSMOS television series storyboards, showing the view as we enter the Milky Way at an oblique angle. This signed 1978 painting, gouache on paper, was the sketch from which the artist executed the final animation scene, one of the most vivid and widely reproduced from the entire COSMOS series. Along with the artwork, I received a tattered vellum overlay with handwritten labels showing the position of the Sun, Orion Nebula, Crab Nebula, and the direction towards the Andromeda Galaxy from where we approached our galaxy -- Jon's notes to Carl to orient him for the production. click on thumbnail

Here's my 2005 Christmas present to myself, one more Jon Lomberg painting (see above). "Core-Set" is another key frame from the original COSMOS television series storyboards. click on thumbnail

click on thumbnail Dr. SETI was the high school kid sitting in the back of the room in 1960, when the Project OSCAR group conceived the idea of putting up the world's first non-government communications satellite. "Some day, when I grow up," he said, "this is what I want to do." And someday, when he grows up, he will! Meanwhile, Paul has served over the years as a volunteer technician, engineer, Board memer, Technical Director, and Chairman of the Board of Project OSCAR Inc. When the National Air and Space Museum was dedicated on 1 July 1976, Paul was in Washington DC to help exhibit the OSCAR I flight backup unit in the Hall of Satellites.

Dr. SETI resides on a radio-quiet hilltop just north of Williamsport PA, with his biologist wife and five of their seven recombinant DNA experiments. To get to The SETI League office in far-off New Jersey, he air-commutes in his much-modified 1970 Beechcraft A-24R Sierra. click on thumbnail

thumbnail Andrew and Erika grew up on the airshow circuit. Here they pose with the family Beechcraft at the 1981 Antique Aircraft Association gathering at Watsonville CA, where the family celebrated Paul's 35th birthday. thumbnail

This 1939 Funk Model C is featured in Paul's story "The Lady Or The Tiger." Now owned by Peter Talbott and based at the Frazier Lake Airpark, Hollister CA, it was flown by Paul on occasion from San Jose's Reid-Hillview Airport in the 1980s. click on thumbnail

click on thumbnail Andrew and Paul tied down Peter Talbott's Funk at the 1987 Watsonville Airshow, where Paul had just ground-looped in front of God and everybody. Read all about this unseemly arrival in "And Those Who Will."

Paul serves the Harrisburg Flight Standards District Office as a volunteer Aviation Safety Counselor. Recognizing that the most dangerous part of flying is the drive to the airport, he tempts fate by riding there on his trophy-winning 1989 Honda PC-800 Pacific Coast. click on thumbnail

click on thumbnail One of Paul's favorite motorcycles, the Honda Nighthawk. This is the bike on which eldest son Andrew learned to drive, when he was fifteen. It's also the first bike Andrew ever dropped, with (thankfully) little damage to bike or rider. Photo by Erika.

This beautiful Honda TwinStar CM-185 belongs to the equally gorgeous Dr. Mom, as the license plate will attest. click on thumbnail

Dr. SETI's amateur radio telescope graces his North Central Pennsylvania hilltop. Here Paul's 3.7 meter diameter Paraclipse dish scans the heavens for evidence of extra-terrestrial intelligence. It is Station FN11lh in The SETI League's Project Argus all-sky survey.  thumbnail

click on thumbnail click on thumbnail click on thumbnail So which is the real Mrs. Dr. SETI, the witch, the angel, or the Dark Elf wizard? Only Paul knows for sure, and he's not telling!

click on thumbnail In his online gaming persona, Dr. SETI is an ogre of the Shadow Knight guild, residing in Oggok. According to EverQuest, "the ogres of Oggok are the brute force of the forces of evil. They are not mentally complex enough to plan or coordinate much of what goes on like the dark elves, and don't have the sinister appeal that trolls do, but they are very effective at what they like to do best...smash."  thumbnail

link to The SETI League
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this page last updated 14 March 2015
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