Today this car caught my eye. I think it’s a Buick (correct me if I’m wrong).
As you can see, there’s not much left. I feel a little bit like this car, having just been told that my contract has ended.
Much like this old straight eight, COBOL is rapidly becoming a relic of the past, and despite the fact that I’ve striven stay up to date, the folks looking at resumes want to see the IT versions of V8 power and automatic transmissions.
But unlike our featured car, which was left to rot in the woods outside of Portola, CA, I can move. One of the hard things is managing a parent with dementia from 1,000 miles away, but now I have a chance to rectify that. Gut check time, I know. I’m still debating how to update my CV to reflect the fact that I use my keyboard for more than code (the good news is that my Elvis book is done!).
Despite the fact that it looks ready to go back to the woods, that blue wire shows that someone has tried a resuscitation effort–maybe I’ll get lucky that way as well.
Hunh. When I worked for the nation’s largest private health insurer, the COBALers we employed knew they had it made, because they are nigh onto impossible to replace. They knew it, too, ignoring the dress code and coming and going as they pleased and getting away with it every day.
Those crusty dudes are old and do … die from time to time. The very thought of another one of them passing on makes the IT managers extremely nervous. Because the thought of moving off the ugly old IBM 360 that is their core claims adjudication system frightens them to the core.
So think banks and insurance companies when you target your job search. They still love COBOL.
So basically what you’re saying is that a COBOL programmer is more the equivalent of a ’41 Buick in, say, 1944. Or Cuba.
Great pics and good luck!
Yup, as an IT recruiter I can tell you COBOL still lives. The next time you are 35,000 feet in the air think about COBOL and FORTRAN cause that’s what probably booked your ticket and keeps you from flying into shit and giving CNN some temporary relevance.
TCB. Nice pics and good luck, Jana.
Yep, I think you’re right; a 1941 Buick – possibly a ‘Super’.
And Jim is right – COBOL still lives in the big institutions
You make me feel old – I remember all of the programming majors in college carrying around COBOL books. I wonder if anyone still uses Fortran from the books some kids carried around in high school? Me? I had trouble with BASIC.
I am not, however, old enough to remember these Buicks when they were fresh and new, so that’s some consolation. 🙂
Whenever I see a car like this, I wonder what was the last straw that took it out of service. Did the owner know that it was for keeps? Or did he/she intend to fix it when a little money came in? Likely too late now. . . . .
I taught myself BASIC when I was 14. In engineering school, they were still teaching FORTRAN 77 to all the incoming freshman. Today my school teaches ’em all Java.
I, too, was subjected to FORTRAN in 1991. Thankfully this was after the demise of cards and did my work on the IBM mainframe.
Haven’t touched it since.
Some of the engineers in my office still use Fortran. In fact a couple years ago we bought a new Fortran compiler from Compaq–pretty slick according to the few that use it…
Learned FORTRAN as an engineering student in the early 1970’s and used it for the next three decades at Rockwell and Boeing. I hated punch cards and IBM Job Control Language in order to just access the mainframes, but later UNIX (IBM-AIX and SUN) systems were much easier.
Kids today are mostly taught variations on C and Java.
COBOL is greek to me. The car is almost certainly Buick with an OHV straight 8. Strangely enough Pontiac was a flathead IIRC and wikipedia says Olds was a flattie as well. I can’t find a Caddie straight 8. I do remember when they were still relatively new but I was too young to be consider me really knowledgeable. My brother had a straight 8 with dynaflow from the late 40s or real early 50s. Slow acceleration but went pretty good once the speed was built up. These straight 8s lost a lot of crankshafts and that is what killed his.
Losing your income is almost as devastating as losing a loved one. Dementia is almost as hard as losing them. Getting closer is probably a real good move. You will be in my thoughts and prayers. Hope you don’t get too busy to post more and looking forward to hearing things are sorting out.
I do not believe that Cadillac ever made a straight 8. Cadillac had a V8 going back to 1914, according to Wiki. Up through 1948, Cadillac and Ford were the kings of the flathead V8.
Well… it USED to be a Buick!
Packard had straight 8’s as well but the dash does seem to say Buick. They had that style of speaker grill above the radio.
Definitely a Buick. Packard’s were flatheads. I believe Buick and Nash were the only ones doing a OHV straight-8, Chevy (and Nash?) were doing straight-6’s. Pretty much everyone else was wedded to the flathead engine, unless you were talking a V-12 or 16. Plus Dusenberg and Stutz with their OHC’s.
I’m guessing either 40 or 41. Probably the latter.
I don’t believe its a 40, those grilles dipped farther down on the sides. I say clearly a 41.
Yeah, I’d say ’41. Here’s a photo of a ’41.
Agreed. Headlights fully integrated into the fenders, and no running boards (although having the bottom edge of the door flare out to cover that area was a cheat of sorts).
I wonder if there’s even one usable part left on that car. The motor is particularly pitiful; the valve cover is flaky like a really good pie crust, and everything is fused together into one big oxidized lump. Imagine trying to take the head off of that engine! It’s probably not even possible. The Jana/Buick analogy breaks down pretty quickly! You quite obviously have a lot going for you.
Elvis? What’s the name of the book? The Cars of Elvis Presley? The print version would be the size of a set of encyclopedias, and the digital version would probably max out the memory on my Kindle…
I’ve got a new apartment squared away.
As far as COBOL, I’m open to moving on. I’ve was using COBOL and SQL for 10 years before I would here with a lot older system.
The title of the book is ‘The Devil’s Music’, which I chose because I wove his love of Gospel and the birth of rock music together with a rather mousy girl(hmm.. where did I get that?) and some folks who wear pillows over their heads.
And yes, his $75 1941 Lincoln figures in. It took me a while to come up with appropriate maladies for a car that he joked that he pushed more than he drove. Right now, it has holes in the floorboards, a muffler that falls off in the presence of the MPD, and a transmission that doesn’t want to go in reverse(I have that twice, but I’ve thinking I may need another malady…) And Sam Phillips tells him to put Marvel Mystery oil in it since it looks like he’s driving a portable mosquito fogger.
here’s a good link http://www.examiner.com/article/a-look-at-elvis-presley-s-personal-cars-part-1-the-1950s , and yes, I’ve got his original Pink Cadillac catching on fire too.
The 41 Lincoln V12 was a real POS engine. Vapor lock and lubrication failures seem to have been their biggest killers, temporary and permanent, respectively.
Hmm.. more plot twist.
“Ah don’t what wrong with this here hunk of junk,” Elvis said… “Won’t start for the Love of Jesus.” He slammed the much-faded hood down in disgust.
Here’s another plot point for you… Elvis accidentally kicked a handgun through the back of my uncle’s guitar during a recording session with the Imperials:
That story is pure gold.
Thanks. Maybe I’ll get it in the sequel. The book now starts off with the release of ‘that’s all right’ in July of 1954 and ends with him signing with ‘Colonel’ Parker in January of 1955.
Yes, he did love guns and Karate:
Great title. I recently picked up his cleaned up Memphis sessions with the Moman crew and haven’t stopped playing it. Elvis week is getting bigger over here:
Get some copies there, you’re sure to find some buyers.
I know, one of my favorite ETA’s (Elvis Tribute Artists) is Jacqueline Feiltch -www.sheistheking.com. The ‘million Dollar quartet’ (a jam session with Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins, Elvis, and Johnny Cash(allegedy) ) is another good ablum if you don’t mind Gospel.
I’m not Godfearin’, but his gospel stuff is AMAZING. ‘If I Can Dream’ always gives me goosebumps, its my favourite single track. He really was torn between those two worlds.
I do play on the fact that he really, really wanted to be a gospel singers.
‘If I can dream’ is actually not a gospel song. Dr. Martin Luther King was killed about 10 blocks from the sun studios in April, 1968 while Elvis was preparing for his comeback special. He(Elvis) was very shaken by this happening in his hometown, and a someone working on the special wrote (Elvis couldn’t ‘read’ music).
I’m not really a lyrics guy, for me gospel is the feel. I know he used to sing gospel before and after shows, it was a genuine passion. My taste in this stuff is more along the lines of Edwin/Walter Hawkins and Miss Ree. Even Vivaldi’s Gloria rouses me. Sam Cooke was probably the one torn most between these worlds, he was completely vilified for crossing over. For me, music is music, regardless of source. It is my secular transcendence. Thanks for the ‘Dream’ backstory.
I don’t think rockabilly and gospel are two worlds. Batches of folks did both. Now when you got to rock and roll I guess so. I think the gospel of cash, presley etc were really moving.
You’re right, Lee. I think the dilemma came about from the intention, not the form. Popular music owes as much to gospel as it does to country and blues.
I was in the same room where Elvis recorded his early stuff as well as the $1×10^6 quartet session was recorded.
The very same microphone is still there and still being used.
A good detail, an oil change and a set of cheap recaps and she’s good to go. See Honest John’s Pre-Owned Classics, $99.00 mo for 99 years! Don’t let the job loss get you down, It was probably their loss more than yours. Hang in there, Jana.
Couple more pictures here:
I love the tree growing out the exhaust manifold.
Check this car out as well:
I have an acquaintance who makes his living as a COBOL programmer too. He’s never married and has moved quite a few times, and more than one of his jobs has been to help the employer convert a system from COBOL to something else. But that Buick’s a goner – the sword fern frond in one of the photos made me think it was in western WA, but not true as it turned out. And you’re not a goner – the first coding language is the most difficult to learn, just as the first database, the first spreadsheet, the first word processor etc. I think you’ll do fine whether you stay with COBOL or not.
I know several folks who do that. I used to, too, but life has a way of changing things. Like I said, managing some one with dementia from 1000 miles away is no fun, unless you like spending lots of time in the Air. I’ve tried to get a job down there, but it looks like if the mountain won’t come to Mohammed, then Mohammed must go to the Mountain. I know of some CC’s there that need to star here.
I found a Tatra in Memphis, so Memphis is ripe for the pickings.
Here’s the freshly rebuilt 263 in my ’53 Buick, just as a contrast to the one in the ’41 above. Since 2007, I’ve put another 10,000 miles on it. It uses almost no oil, but still gets a nice average of about 10 MPG. Oh well. At least it’s slow.
From what I can tell, the ’41’s engine is probably a 248.
Looks like you were correct, a 41
Lost my Mom to dementia back in 2010. I was fortunate that I already lived in the same town. It’s not easy watching a person who raised you lose mental capacity. Sometimes she would come back for a little while, I treasured those moments. I was happy to be there for her. It was stressful at times, but she appreciated the support and I’m glad I was able to do what I could.
Jana, things happen for a reason. The reason is sometimes quite obscure, but it is still there nonetheless. I will also admit I have had to tell myself that many times over the past year but I have kept the faith in it.
As others have said, it is truly their loss. You have a lot to offer.
Oh, yeah, the Buick is pretty well ready to return to the earth.