This is the official hood ornament for the Rolls Royce, it's known as The Spirit Of Ecstasy. There aren't many cars like this where I live, or any. Somebody must be visiting friends or family. I'd be more impressed seeing a member of the family in a Gulfstream G650, to be honest, but they're hard to park.
This ornament design is more than a hundred years old. If you buy a Rolls Royce, the salesman will tell you the story about it.
But I'll tell you the story for nothing. The model was a real woman, although the sculptor was also influenced by paintings and sculptures of the Greek goddess Nike, who personified victory.
The model's name was Eleanor Thornton. She was the girlfriend of the married man who commissioned the work. He had six names, being part of the British royalty, but was known as Lord Montagu. It's a sad story of forbidden love. He loved her but had to marry somebody from his social class. They carried on their affair with the help of their close friends and the encouragement of Satan.
Anyway, Lord Montagu wanted a hood ornament for his Silver Ghost Rolls Royce. In those days, the Silver Ghost came without one. The owners could put whatever they wanted on top of the hood: statuettes, art pieces, flags, mobiles, potted plants, servants.
A friend of Lord Montagu, Charles Sykes, designed an ornament known as The Whisper. It was very similar to this, except Eleanor Thornton's hand was raised to her lips, keeping silent the affair with Lord Montagu. Today, The Whisper is on display at the National Motor Museum.
When Rolls Royce decided to introduce an official hood ornament, they commissioned Sykes. He modified the earlier design to create something which represented the speed and silence of the Rolls Royce. Another name for the Spirit Of Ecstasy ornament is The Flying Lady.
Years ago, a helicopter buzzed me at a beach in Sonoma County, and then it hovered above the waves nearby. This was early in the morning, maybe 7 am. I was there with my view camera on a tripod, taking large format photographs of the shore. Turned out the director of a "major motion picture" was deciding which beach to use for some movie scenes. I never saw the movie, can't recall the name. Maybe it was Margin Call.
Meanwhile, this helicopter is probably looking for gas leaks. It's owned by a company called Lasen, and you can see that very same helicopter at the top of their home page. It's also featured at the beginning of a Lasen video about using lasers to detect pipeline leaks. Operating that helicopter with a system called ALPIS, Lasen claims they're ten times as efficient as people on the ground or in vehicles.
Highway 24 from a BART platform on the Richmond and Bay Point lines. It's wonderful to see people riding the rails and cutting down on air pollution. I wonder what this young passenger of public transportation is thinking.
"I want that car. No, I want that car. Here it comes now, that's the one I want. Ugh, wrong color."
There's a quote attributed to Jim Morrison of The Doors, and I think it was used as a book title, "Nobody gets out of here alive." A reference to life.
I like what Buddhist teacher Bob Thurman did to the quote, "Nobody gets out of here dead!"
Is it real? I hope so, the car was parked in this garage and I met the owner. I didn't touch it, though, so maybe it's imaginary. You never really know for sure when the license plate is GHOST.
Decades ago, I flew to India and visited a popular guru. When I returned to Nebraska, I began meditating for the first time. I enjoyed lots of experiences which are common to meditators when the energies finally flow. It was a wonderful time of bliss and visions.
I decided to move from Nebraska to California a few months later. A couple of minutes after I crossed the state line from Arizona to California, I was passed by a large white car. Never had a chance to get any photos, but I remember the license plate: it was the mantra of the guru I had visited in India.
For all I know, that might have been a real ghost car.
P.S. The movie Ghost was the box office champ of 1990. It was nominated for five Oscars and won twice. Whoopi Goldberg won Best Supporting Actress, and Bruce Joel Rubin won the Oscar for Best Original Screenplay.
© 2012 by Max Clarke - all rights reserved