In this particular year, ABC Sports assigned former Grand Prix auto racer Sam Posey as its analyst on the three week bicycle race. Not a good omen. Surprisingly, this gearhead did a wonderful job conveying the beauty, ferocity and strategic nuances of this 21 stage spectacle. It was evident that he had done his homework and sincerely seemed captivated by the non-motorized event.
Fast forward about ten years. Now who is this Sam Posey with a cover article in Model Railroader? No-one-single-man races at Le Mans, covers the Tour de France and builds a model railroad layout worthy of cover status, right? Wrong!
The December 2001 issue featured Sam Posey's home layout in a brilliant, but uncharacteristically abstract article for the magazine.
Various tricks were detailed for readers interested in expanding the perception of their layout space, if they could grasp 'the sensory inputs and visual mechanics,' Sam espoused.
Dave Frary's photos were easy to understand. Sam's conceptual sketches? ... not so much. I accepted the possibility that he was on an intellectual level that I may not know.
Fast forward now to 2005. A new book is out about model railroading... by Sam Posey! Boy, this guy is motivated! In it, he examines participants' passion for the hobby and identifies what he sees as two distinct camps within. One is the 'artiste,' or imagineer as Disney would say, characterized by Malcom Furlow and his fantasy-inspired free-lanced creations. The other is the 'pragmatist,' or operator of prototypically-based layouts, best represented by Tony Koester, he of the Time Table and Train Order gang.
The book is a thoughtful analysis of our hobby and makes for a great summer read. Sam tracks his childhood memories of his first layout to his current observations about the many extremes that modelers exhibit.
The architectural graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design now spends his days with another love, painting, while unfortunately coping with the effects of Parkinson's Disease.
I bet that neither Furlow nor Koester were all-that-willing poster boys for the two extremes, at least not to where either believed in mutual exclusivity. But Posey's examination of the two factions forces the reader to assess his own focus. By holding up two of the best known magazine contributors with very different emphases, readers can evaluate their own belief system against that backdrop.
It's a good read, written by a true renaissance man whose mantra has been, 'conceive, believe, achieve,' through a life of distinctly varied personal successes.
Next, 'Friendly Fridays' returns featuring a layout whose creators skillfully combined both artistic expression with prototype authenticity to produce a wonderful re-creation of a Vermont railroad. See you then.
BONUS: RHETORICAL QUESTION OF THE DAY...
Did you know? The author's only real weakness as a bicycle racer was that he got winded before anyone else which, as it turns out, tends to be a very real impediment to winning races.