Monday, October 31, 2011

Quote of the Day

From Spartanburg County, South Carolina:
Sheriff Chuck Wright opened his news conference by saying, "Our form of justice is not making it.
"He said, "Carry a concealed weapon. That'll fix it."

He's gonna catch nine kinds of hell, but it's nothing but the truth.


H/T Aglifter from the Gun Counter forum

Dear Mr. President:


Sincerely,

Rural America


H/T Larry S

Happy All Hallow's Eve



Happy Halloween*, everyone!



*Brought to you by your brain starved zombie host.**


**Just not starved of much of anything else.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Just Won't Sweep Under the Rug Anymore















Of course I speak of Operation Gun Runner, also known as Operation Fast and Furious. From my seat high up in the bleachers, it seems to me that we all owe a great debt to David Codrea of The War on Guns, and Mike Vanderboegh of Sipsey Street Irregulars. They kept hammering and pushing on the subject, and their continual railing eventually got some notice and some network television coverage through CBS. Even some liberal editorial cartoonists have noticed and chimed in.That started the ball rolling. Since then, the situation has been unraveling for the Obama administration - Holder's and Obama's statements about when they knew not matching up (Teh Won heard about it and had Holder investigating before Holder knew about it), the rewarding of major players with promotions, plus Eric Holder's testimony before the House Judiciary Committee that he didn't know about it, and Janet Napolitano's assertion that not only didn't she know about it, but since it was an ATF operation, it had nothing to do with Homeland Security.


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Mmmmkay. So, it's not their fault. There are two options. Either they didn't know because they're too incompetent to keep their cowboy underlings ( who, by the way, are all career bureaucrats whose culture demands they don't fart without permission in order to cover their asses) under control, or they are lying.

Gee, guess what I think.

Okay, time's up. I think they should all be canned. I think the White House knew about it and planned it, because this has the Obumbler administration fingerprints all over it. The stated goals were to trace the guns back to the drug lords in Mexico. I was in debate in high school for four years. When on the affirmative side, we had to propose a plan and promote and defend it in a series of speeches. In order to promote the plan, we always had to propose advantages that the plan would bring that the status quo was unable to provide. I have to think an advantage to their plan was that they could also stoke the fires against the Second Amendment by having proof of guns going across the borders to supply drug cartels. They've been hammering on that non existent issue for years, since the weapons that do cross the border are generally stolen, not bought by straw buyers. It's a fact that the Mexican drug lords get better value and selection for their money from arms merchants. In hindsight, this so called advantage surely seems far fetched to them now, but I also think the parties involved have such self inflated egos that they figured it would work, just because they thought of it. They've all been armchair quarterbacking for years with no experience, why would that change?

So, I think Teh Won oughta be impeached.

Do I think it will happen? Are you kidding? At most, some heads will roll and some will be tossed under the bus, maybe even Holder and Napolitano. After that, the flood walls of the mostly compliant press will contain any efforts to pin this on their Dear Leader. It's amazing to me that CBS is following this story as much as they have. I suspect this story is causing some pretty big rifts in Black Rock and above at Westinghouse's board meetings. And, GE, Viacom, Disney and Time-Warner have got to protect their investments, and that's just the visual media. Not having a Republican dominated Congress kinda shoots that idea right in the ol' buttocks, too.

I'm truly not going out on a limb to make that prediction. Think about it. Hang on and watch.

Friday, October 28, 2011

There May Be Hope...

... for Billy yet. Billy ponders his future with a national ID card and wonders how a Founding Father managed his. Meanwhile, Jeffy goes mining for green gold.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Bob


BOB from Jacob Frey on Vimeo.
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Be sure and watch until after the credits have rolled - it ain't over just yet! Cute factor eight out of ten, IMHO!


H/T Ant Gail

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Didja Ever Notice?

Now that movie studios have everything digitized, they are altering colors. Today's movies are washed out in order to emphasize flesh tones. Teal and orange are the predominant colors these days.


Picture from Ace of Spades "Overnight Open Thread"

Technicolor is closer to reality than today's color palette.
It's bad enough when horror, sci-fi and fantasy movies seem to slavishly adhere to this unpleasant template, but even mainstream adult dramas like Up In The Air and Fair Game (both of which are films that I would otherwise like) are being drained of all their colour in post-production. This unfortunate trend in dreariness also lessened my enjoyment of last year's Best Picture winner, The King's Speech.


Recently, I did some searching on Google to find out whether others are equally disturbed by this ugly trend in today's films. Sure enough, I turned up this article that helps to explain what is going on. It's interesting to read the numerous comments afterward, as there are many, like me, who abhor this unpleasant trend, while others defend it as being true to the director's "vision". Though they may like to think of themselves as unique visionaries, most directors working today merely conform to one basic template of mediocrity that the Hollywood studios all decree must be followed. Because of this trend toward the drab and ugly, I find myself seeing fewer and fewer films with each passing year. Perhaps Hollywood should realize that many older moviegoers are used to far richer looking movies from the more glorious past - today's films just turn us off. BLECCHH!!

After reading the various posts linked to above, it seems even my favorite new movie of the last year or two True Grit is guilty as well - it sure seems to be a sepia kind of tone, perhaps to convey the idea that the events took place in the past, where the pictures we see from that period look the same. And the latest Harry Potter movie was almost unwatchable on my television - I was working over the brightness and contrast just to see detail that was obscured by the intentional cutting out light. After I'd fooled with those settings, the rest of television land was overly bright and sharp.

Hollywood doesn't seem to listen much to the actual people who pay to see their products. They all jump on bandwagons that only they, in their insular world, have any use for. I've got enough gripes about the endless copying, the predominantly liberal mindset (and if you know what's good for you you'll agree with whatever mindset they're pushing, because after all, they are the beautiful and cool trendsetters), the advent of short attention span theater quick cuts (remember when a long shot was art?), shaky and disoriented camera work and, and - well, you get the idea.

And now we get dulled and dark movies that look depressing. Yeah, color me not so entertained. No wonder I end up watching old movies these days.

H/T Ace of Spades, who linked to Boing Boing, who linked to this article and this article.

Chum

Checking in on the ol' social networks this morning, I saw this tweet from Iowahawk (who has nearly abandoned blogging for the Twitter platform, and is a true Master):
When government gives you money to pay your mortgage to a bank, they're not doing it to help you.
No kidding. TARP just bypassed the customers and fed the hungry maws of the banks directly. Too big to fail, remember? Then I saw this editorial cartoon by Tony Auth.


Which is about right, but Tony (who has a decidedly liberal bent) really missed the point - our Hope and Change Government is chumming the waters ahead of the underwater mortgage holders. Frankly, Tony would have this cartoon right if it were people who successfully pay their mortgages doing the swimming - they're the ones that will have to pay the bills of those who cannot pay, and will continue to get assistance, plus the banks whining about getting into trouble again ought to trigger yet another round of stimulus money hot off the presses.

Sharks as a metaphor for banks is apropos - they are just doing what they do. Mindless search for profit, no ethical controls since they are the big fish in the pond with no other controls - they are just getting what they paid for. Paid with our money directly and profits diverted from truly growing our economy towards corrupt politicians. Corrupt politicians. Sorry, repeated myself there.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Oh, Damn

Financial Woes May Sink WikiLeaks, Assange Says

LONDON (AP) — One of the world's most notorious secret-spillers is going silent.

WikiLeaks said in a statement Monday that it would stop publishing in order to focus on making money — explaining that the blockade imposed by financial companies including Visa, MasterCard, Western Union and PayPal left it with no choice.
They're looking for donations. Oh, my, as my daddy used to say, "My heart pumps pure piss for ya." What will we do without someone who compromises the safety and lives of U.S. citizens abroad in the name of transparency?

George Soros, your phone is ringing.

Boob Apron

Wimmin, are you so well endowed men never meet your gaze because they ain't lookin' there? Then this product is for you.

Below the fold for language and such.


Monday, October 24, 2011

'Til Ya Die


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Gawd forbid, I heard this song and found myself movin' to the groovin.'

Well, it's funk, not disco.

Heh. Really, this was a pretty fun song when it debuted, and that ain't changed none.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Teh Won Testy? Tell Me It Ain't So!

Have you noticed in Our Dear Leader's speeches how grumpy he sounds lately? If you have, you aren't the only one.Seems a linguist has done some testing.
What I noticed is that president Obama seemed a mite testy in his weekly address for  10/1/2011 ("Fighting for the American Jobs Act"). This led me to ponder the phonetics of testiness, and of emotional expression in general. For this morning's Breakfast Experiment™ I thought I'd take up one small aspect of one dimension of this large topic, namely what happens to F0 ("fundamental frequency", commonly called "pitch") when you "raise your voice".
He goes on to explain how differences in ambient background noise can make you raise your voice - if it's louder, you have to compensate. He decided to test a couple of speeches - one in August where he seemed calmer, and one in October, where he was noticeably louder. He found no difference in the level of background noise.



The difference is a fairly large one: an average pitch of 137.3 ±0.38 Hz on October 1, vs. an average of 106.6 ±0.31 Hz on August 6, for a proportional difference of about 29%. To avoid misunderstanding, let me repeat that there are lots of reasons for someone's pitch range to vary, so that this is not a reliable metric for physiological arousal. But when other things are held constant, it can be interpreted that way. And it's easier to quantify and compare than things like voice quality are.

I'd say the Mighty O is mighty rattled these days.

H/T Ace of Spades

(It) is Not the Name of the Restaurant, That's Just the Name of the Song


Alice's Restaurant - Arlo Guthrie - Full song from Scott Wade on Vimeo.
link

This performance even had my father laughing so hard tears were running down his face the first time he heard it.

Just remember, friends:

If you want to join the Alice's Restaurant Anti-Massacre Movement, and
all you got to do to join is sing it the next time it come's around on the
guitar.

With feeling. So we'll wait for it to come around on the guitar, here and
sing it when it does. Here it comes.
You can get anything you want, at Alice's Restaurant
You can get anything you want, at Alice's Restaurant
Walk right in it's around the back
Just a half a mile from the railroad track
You can get anything you want, at Alice's Restaurant

Saturday, October 22, 2011

OMG! No Wonder!


Here we see the feral PJ wolfing down his food as he always does, exposing the horror behind his normal diet, even as the more worldly Dolly tries to hide the truth. If you find yourself at a singles bar and run into Thel wanting your hot bod, you just might want to step back and reconsider before thinking you are gonna score. There are worse things than waking up in a tub of ice with a missing kidney.

Why Change Your M.O. Now?



Okay, here we have Alex, extreme liberal young daughter of Mike. She's been the vehicle for Trudeau's views on gun control (last issue, open carry in Starbucks) and any other liberal agenda he sees fit to "comment" on. Her boyfriend, "Toggle (Leo DeLuca)," recent Iraq veteran. Up to this point, I thought perhaps, maybe, just maybe, since most soldiers are very conservative, we might see some sort of debate between political philosophies. Toggle's mother is a trailer trash biker lovin' ignorant mama with tats, cigarettes, and is a jab at conservatives. Like liberals all live in mansions and townhouses. The whole point is Leo wouldn't have gone into the military had he been born in more lucrative surroundings - he'd be a success instead of being forced to go into the service to make a living. He's a disadvantaged poor person with no chances, you see.

Even knowing all this, when I saw that last strip, I thought perhaps Mr. Trudeau might present a different POV, considering the implied conservative politics of his downtrodden protagonist.



Silly me. Of course, he's gonna have his poor military protagonist suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder toot suite. Every military character in the strip so far has, so why should Toggle be exempt? BD has it. Everyone in his support group has it - all veterans. Ray Hightower has it. Possible the only one not displaying PTSD is Jeff Redfern, who worked for the CIA in the sandbox rather than serve. He's off his nut as well, portaying "The Red Rascal," an invention of his supposed exploits in the Middle East that he even believes. But not PTSD yet.

Every veteran you and I know all suffer from PTSD to the point of being unable to function in society, don't we? I mean, you can't take one to the freaking Post Office for fear they'll open up and slaughter us all, right? Or Gawd forbid, go to a crowded Mickey D's for lunch without blood in the streets - am I right?

Of course not. In Trudeau's little mind, using veterans as a punching bag for unfair characterizations is fair game because they disagree with him. Using black stereotypes to make a point is automatically racist and unfair, but painting veterans with such a broad brush is A-OK. They should know better than to think the way they do, it's why they all go nuts, am I right?

Fucking asshole.


Ahhh, it's all cleverly solved now. Leo is taken back to his deepest inner fears from the battlefield by a bunch of privileged liberal kids whining. Now it all makes sense. Ha ha, isn't that funny.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Feel The Power


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I'm with Dave on this one. Keep that damn thing away from me!

The Doobie Brothers

If you know me at all, you know The Doobie Brothers are one of my favorite all time desert island choices for a rock band, period, end of story, that's it. At least until their Stampede album - after that they kinda drifted from their trademark sound and As Far As I'm Concerned, they went downhill. Coincidentally that was the arrival of Michael McDonald, Jeff (Skunk) Baxter and the eventual exit of Tom Johnston. Of course, my mild dislike of McDonald might have something to do with that view as well. Just sayin.'

But anyways, everyone knows China Grove, Long Train Running, Take Me In Your Arms (Rock Me), and Black Water. All great songs, but there are so many more. Since the AOR format is pretty well dead, unless you listen on SiriusXM, these are some of the songs that the programmers miss these days:


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From Toulouse Street. Listen to the Music was the big hit.


The Doobie Brothers - Natural Thing by fragueur71
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link


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These are from The Captain and Me. Long Train Runnin' and China Grove were on this album.


The Doobie Brothers Tell Me What You Want (and I'll Give You What You Need) from shawnnhouston on Vimeo.
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What Were Once Vices Are Now Habits debuted these two songs. Black Water was the big hit.


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Probably the favorite here - from Stampede. This video uses the song as accompaniment for a different visual them other than the song itself, but, oh well. Then, just because, the end of I Cheat the Hangman as a lead in for China Grove, live:


The Doobie Brothers I Cheat the Hangman~China... by Randy_Rowland
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Good stuff.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Upgrade!

I'd been getting pretty crabby about the speed that Algore's Innertubes arrive here at The Poor Farm in the past couple years. Speeds had been dropping since Day One, back when I was the only customer they had on the head unit that serves this neighborhood, and I was one of the few out in the country with DSL in the first place. Most everyone else was on dialup. However, the local ISP gradually weaned the dialup customers away until they shut it down entirely to save money. No point in running all that equipment for a few people and having it cost as much as the broadband stuff.

But, things had been slowing. Had Alltel and now Verizon ever put a tower up that actually served this area, I'd have probably abandoned my ISP/phone cooperative, but I can't make a damn cell call here, much less get enough data for a decent connection. Every time the sales types at Verizon tried to upgrade me, I'd tell 'em that if they could call me up, and keep the conversation going for ten minutes without dropping the call, I'd sign up. Otherwise, they'd give me the aircard they really thought I needed so badly for free - with no charges for using it, too. For some reason, those calls stopped.

So, this morning, I was reading emails when my modem disconnected. Only one of the two signal lights was showing any activity, so the connection light never changed from orange to green. So, I called in, and the tech there could see that it was disconnected. Time for a new modem. This meant a trip to Dodge City.

As I was getting ready, someone knocked at the door. It was a tech from the ISP - with a new modem. Turns out the tech in Dodge didn't know what the guys out here were doing - they had upgraded the equipment and my old modem was not compatible anymore. We pulled it out, along with the old noise filter they had recommended (he said it wasn't needed anymore), and I was back up.

Their webpage claimed the basic tier of service should run 1.5Mbps, and I got 1.6. Lately it was more like .8. Back in the day, my uploads might even be faster than downloads, but not so much anymore. Now, some of you with FIOS or even a decent fast cable connection might be turning your noses up at this, but for me, major improvement. Call me a satisfied customer for now - I still feel pretty fortunate to have broadband out here on the prairie. My sister in northern OKC cannot get cable, cable broadband or DSL. None of the biggies will invest in upgrading her neighborhood, so it's dialup, cell aircard, or local wireless if she wants broadband.

When I was testing out the connection by watching all kinds of YouTube videos, I found I had to recalibrate my little BitMeter app. It shows a graphic of upload and download speeds - and I'd set it for my home connection. It was always pegged out on the road - most motel connections were way way faster than what I was getting here. Anyhoo, while watching the Chicago video, this was what I saw:


None of the other videos showed that kind of pattern. I'd say whomever set up the server that the Chicago video is stored on has an artistic bent, no?

I'm A Man, Dammit!

Been doing a little YouTubing today and came up with this:


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The original. Grade A 'Murrican, by Gawd!


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Then some of them thar British Invaders worked it over.


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Then a young Stevie Winwood wrote up something new with the same title. Love the Hammond organ.


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Then The Chicago Transit Authority (which, of course became Chicago) had their own version. Apparently, they misunderstood the original Spencer Davis Group's lyrics.

Any of these versions will have me tuned in. Good stuff.

Imagine


It's just a stick, honey, until you bend the force of your brain to make it whatever you want it ..........

Oh, never mind.

Christine!


link

I dunno about y'all, but I ain't gettin' in that car. Plus, if I see it coming down the street at me, I'm goin' the other way tout suite.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

More Of The Same


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Another hit from 1989 from Steve Earle's album Copperhead Road, the song of the same name. Good stuff - lots of guitars, bagpipes and a cool story for lyrics. Remember when music videos told us something?

Sunday, October 16, 2011

So Alive


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I always go on about classic rock being my favorite genre of music, but I really liked the AOR format, and this song certainly fit - in the late eighties. Something about it shouted minimalist to me, and I just enjoyed the whole package, including the lyrics. This is So Alive, a one hit wonder by Love and Rockets.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Bittersweet Memories


Pretty sure I've covered this meme (First set of wheels) before, but I'm lazy and ain't gonna look it up in the archives. That is my only digital picture - robbed it off an old Tripod site I uploaded it to years ago, and the original picture has apparently been lost in their many upgrades and the many hard drives I've had go bad over the years. So that pic is it.

That is a 1965 Ford F-100 SWB with a three on the tree and a 240 cubic inch six banger. A fifty cent piece would choke the huge carb right down. Dad bought it for me with the promise that we'd really work it over - we were gonna get 'er painted and drop a V8 with an automatic to make it go. Well, with many of my father's promises, that never worked out. When it came time to cough up, he always had an excuse. He paid for the truck, the insurance and tags, and the gas. The flip side was I had to stay with him for a summer job - one that didn't pay very well or get me many hours. My friends were making three to four times as much as I during summers, and could afford to buy halfway decent cars. He just couldn't understand why I wanted to move on to something else years later - I guess I should still be driving it according to his thinking at the time. Oh well. It served me pretty well for what it was.

What it was - indestructible. The valves would float before it revved out, so it could be floored and it had it's own natural redline - it just wouldn't run any faster, and it wasn't fast enough to grenade. I could get it to lay a scratch, but I had to wind it up and dump the clutch. Can you say axle tramp? I could make the bed bounce in pain. Wham wham wham wham! I'm sure the quarter mile times were well over twenty seconds. One of my buds had a '66 with the 300 and a four speed - he could always get me out of the hole, and I'd ever so gradually ease by after the quarter mile line had gone by as we lumbered over it. I always got beat, but it was close. These races were always quite amusing to our friends with serious quarter mile cars. They'd sit in the ditches watching us rolling with laughter.

The sheet metal was thick. When it was loaded down with mud, I could kick the body panels to dislodge huge chunks without denting the beast. The paint was a lost cause, so another scuff? Which one? I did my best to customize my pride and joy - I bought some white high back bucket seats from a Charger in a junkyard to replace the bench seat, those white wagon wheels in the picture (Dad bought some chrome ones originally, but they rusted out even though I kept them polished and waxed), an AM/FM 8 track from JC Whitney, a floor shifter from Hurst and other little odds and ends. That fade out red paint? It looked really good for about a week if I slathered on some wax and didn't really work on buffing it out, spray a ton of Armor All all over, then wax it again a couple times. The Armor All worked it's way into the paint and made it look pretty shiny (even slicked over scuffs!), but it didn't last. But I tried, anyways.

All this lack of power surely meant it made decent fuel mileage, right? Not so much. It didn't matter how fast or slow I drove - eleven to twelve mpg. Since it was a six banger, it was geared pretty low, and seventy mph was really pushing it hard. Fifty five was more to it's liking. Didn't matter. It drank fuel like it was cheap and was always gonna stay that way.

Those bucket seats were the spark behind one of the worst arguments between my parents I ever witnessed. I bought the things with the idea that Dad would help me install them - they needed some brackets fabricated to fit and I did not know how to weld at that time. Dad kept putting me off, and the seats sat outside in the weather for a couple of months. My mother finally got tired of seeing them sitting in the yard and how disappointed and hurt I was - because I'd ask for help every once in a while and fail. Generally, a nap during a baseball game on television was a priority over helping me. She jumped into Dad big time and ate his ass out about leaving me in the lurch, how the seats were going to rot, and any other thing she could throw out. At first, he was arguing back, but she eventually proved her point, because he grabbed me, and in tears, went to town to buy some angle iron. I got to hear all about how he was just about to get to this project, etc., what a bitch my mother could be and so on. I'd heard all that before, and I'd just seen her behavior get more action than anything I could safely pull off, so my sympathy meter was running pretty low that day for the Old Man.

Like I said - this truck has bittersweet memories for me.

Another time, he sent me out to get estimates for a repaint. He wanted the best - back then one hammered out the panels carefully and used lead rather than today's plastics for filler. Yesterday's plastics had a tendency to fall off after a period of time. The tech was new and needed work. He even directed me to go to another town to a highly regarded shop. After I got home with the estimates, he about had a cow and told me that we weren't going to paint this pickup - no matter what we did or how much money we spent, it was always going to be a six hundred dollar pickup - that being the original purchase price. I look back on that now and wonder WTF was he thinking? Why send me on a wild goose chase building up my hopes? I got home all excited and pumped. Which changed in a hurry.

I started hearing a clunk when going around a corner, so I told Dad about it - I had no clue where or what to even begin looking for. He correctly determined that the rear bearing in the transmission was going out, but he kept putting off fixing it. It kept getting worse, and I guess he got tired of hearing me, worried, telling him about it, so we made an appointment in town to get it fixed. He was following me when all of a sudden, the driveline locked up. Luckily, I was on gravel. I fought for control, and gaining it, even managed to slide off to the side of the road out of the way, until it could be towed into town. The bearing had broken apart and locked the gears in the transmission. Dad said he was pretty proud of me for the good job of driving I did, and that lasted until one of the shop owners said it was a good thing that it happened on gravel. On pavement, it might have broken a u-joint, and if it was the front one and the driveshaft drove into the ground sending the pickup into a roll, Dad might have been burying me instead of bragging on my good driving. He should have gotten that truck in there long before he did.

Dad wasn't always an asshole - I've written about another incident where he rose above the situation. Plus, the ol' Ford had an oil consumption issue when he bought it, so he knew it was going to need overhauled. During a slow period one summer, we took it over to our neighbors and tore it down. The cylinder walls were really in pretty decent shape - we just honed 'em out and took a ridge reamer to the tops. The pistons were coated with carbon - it was my job to carefully chisel that crap off. The rest of the motor was full of crud, so we washed it all out. Detergents in engine oils have improved off the charts - back then, it was not unusual to find sludge all over and even plug up oil galleys when the motor was operated in a dusty environment.

The cylinder head got hauled to town to get rebuilt - the valves, guides and such were all pretty well shot and we just didn't have the tools to fix that. We went back with cast iron rings - figuring they'd seal up on the still slightly grooved cylinder walls. Dad figured we'd be back in to bore it out within about 10k miles, but those rings sealed up tight and I put on way more miles than that before we sold it. So that was one father/son project promise that was fulfilled, and that I enjoyed.

That old pickup did provide me with a freedom that I appreciate to this day. It was far from what I would liked to have, but it worked most of the time. It was more than a lot of kids had, too. It got me home from after school activities like football practice, took me to school events, got me to and from our various fields, took me hunting, cruising around aimlessly listening to the latest eight track, and so much more. Some girls turned up their noses at riding in it, but that was a sure fire clue that particular girl was not for me - even if I'd had a beautiful car good enough for them. I learned a lot of life lessons with that pickup - some were not positive, but they were valuable.

Shut Your Piehole, Jeffy


Awesome. You go, Alice!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Git 'Em, Tim!


link
Link to another video and text quoted below
by Rebecca White KWCH 12 Eyewitness News

5:19 p.m. CDT, October 13, 2011
(WASHINGTON)—

Republican Kansas Congressman, Tim Huelskamp (KS-01), challenged billionaire investor Warren Buffett to release his full tax return last month. Buffett has said he earned $62 million in 2010 but was only required to pay taxes on 17.4% of his income – a number that Buffett believes is far too low.

Buffett wrote an opinion article for the New York Times in August saying the government needs to stop “coddling” the super-rich and argues the very wealthy can often find loopholes and special investments that keep them from paying regular tax rates on portions of their income.

The billionaire says federal law allows him to pay a lower tax rate than his secretary. But the Wall Street Journal editorial board and some conservatives have questioned Buffet’s claim.

Huelskamp says he doesn’t believe every private citizen should be required to release their tax information when they become involved in the public political process but says, “when you have one man who would like a new tax law named after him, and the President has suggested that, the ‘Buffett rule’, I think it’s only fair that we examine the basis for that claim.”

President Obama recently introduced a proposal, which has become known as the “Buffett rule”, that would ensure that taxpayers who make more than $1 million each year are taxed at the same rate as most middle class Americans.

Huelskamp says the problem is not a taxing problem but that Washington has a spending problem. “The President is trying to avoid is the issue of spending,” said Huelskamp. “That’s the direction we’re trying to take that discussion.”

Huelskamp has called on Buffett to release his tax returns. The Congressman says he will release his tax returns when Buffett releases his full tax information.

Warren Buffett says he’s not interested in seeing Huelskamp’s tax return. However, Buffett says he would release his tax information if other “ultra-rich” tax payers, like Fox News and Wall Street Journal owner Rupert Murdock, agree to release theirs.

Huelskamp says this is “a very special situation” based on what one man is claiming on his tax returns and doesn’t believe that everyone involved in advocating a public policy should be required to reveal tax information.

“I don’t think everybody should be required and neither should I, but we made that offer,” said Huelskamp. “If you want to show us the proof, and see if it’s really there Mr. Buffett, we’d be happy to share our tax returns as well.”

Huelskamp says that, in the end, he hopes to focus the discussion on “a flatter, simpler, fairer tax code.” He says, “We don’t need more taxes, we need more tax payers.”

To watch the full interview, click here.

Yeah, that's right, that's MY Congressman! Put up or shut up, Mr. Buffet!

Yes, it has so far been a pretty good natured exchange of barbs, but I think Representative Huelskamp made his point. I've been pretty pleased with his legislative performance when he was our State Senator. Ultra conservative, religious, stands on his principles (stubborn, I like), responds to his constituents - the list goes on. He's from Fowler, KS - just south of here, and he's our hometown guy in the Capital.

This won't be the last time we hear his name in the national news, and we have hope for the future in him as well.

Go get 'em, Tim. We're behind you all the way.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

I'm Really Warming to This Kind of Thinking


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Yeah, I'm simple minded and like my politics explained by cartoons and videos, so I'm getting my financial advice from Ray Stevens these days. Hey, if it works for our government and Teh Won, how could spending way beyond my means on borrowed money be wrong? Bueller???


H/T Nunkle Kim

Monday, October 10, 2011

Parked!

From the head firmly inserted into the rectal area dept:

My load today is an 8'x30'horizontal steel tank - it sits on stands like a propane tank. Legal load, right? Well, not with the fittings hanging out. There's plenty of blame to pass around there, so I'll leave it alone by saying I should have "signed up" in Kansas since we have annual oversize permits and insisted on getting one for Oklahoma - where I was taking this puppy.

Only I, the consummate professional, hadn't really checked his permit and registration book lately and the copy of my annual was expired. This would be what the nice Kansas DOT officer told me when he saw it. He'd pulled me over because he could see my load was overdimensional without the proper signs, flags and lights.

Then I whipped out the ol' CDL. Expired last birthday.

I have absolutely no memory of getting any sort of mailed renew notice. Unusual? Yep. Hell, I might have even got one and ignored it to my peril.

So I'm parked at a truck stop in Arkansas City. The officer let me move the rig from the side of the road to drive here. One of our owner operators is bobtailing to hook on to this trailer and deliver the load, and he's bringing one of our drivers to take my truck home, with me as a passenger.

Technically, I can't even drive to the DMV to renew my license, so I'm not sure what's gonna happen. I did not get a ticket for being oversize or having an expired permit, but I did get cited for the DL.

And I feel like a total moron, too.

Fracking Evil Oil Companies!

As y'all know, I work for a company that manufactures and delivers tanks for many purposes, not the least for the oil industry. I've talked about the oil boom in North Dakota drilling into the Bakken Formation. That post was about how the efforts to expand oil production are pretty well maxed out, even with the current administration's interference and avowed hatred of petroleum energy. I found this interesting:
Two years ago, America was importing about two thirds of its oil. Today, according to the Energy Information Administration, it imports less than half. And by 2017, investment bank Goldman Sachs predicts the US could be poised to pass Saudi Arabia and overtake Russia as the world's largest oil producer.

And this from the same source:
Amy Myers Jaffe of Rice University says in the next decade, new oil in the US, Canada and South America could change the center of gravity of the entire global energy supply.

"Some are now saying, in five or 10 years' time, we're a major oil-producing region, where our production is going up," she says.

The US, Jaffe says, could have 2 trillion barrels of oil waiting to be drilled. South America could hold another 2 trillion. And Canada? 2.4 trillion. That's compared to just 1.2 trillion in the Middle East and north Africa.

Jaffe says those new oil reserves, combined with growing turmoil in the Middle East, will "absolutely propel more and more investment into the energy resources in the Americas."

Russia is already feeling the growth of American energy, Jaffe says. As the U.S. produces more of its own natural gas, Europe is free to purchase liquefied natural gas the US is no longer buying.

"They're buying less natural gas from Russia," Jaffe says. "So Russia would only supply 10 percent of European natural gas demand by 2030. That means the Russians are no longer powerful."
Another part of the reason we're not importing as much oil is because the economy sucks and there is less demand. Of course, silly me, that's all Bush's fault. The current administration wouldn't have any sort of responsibility in this regard.
The American energy boom, Jaffe says, could endanger many green-energy initiatives that have gained popularity in recent years. But royalties and revenue from U.S. production of oil and natural gas, she adds, could be used to invest in improving green technology. "We don't have the commercial technology now," she says, noting the recent bankruptcy of American solar companies like Solyndra.
"The point is you can't force a technology that's not commercial. Rather than subsidize things that are not going to be competitive, we need to actually use that money to do R&D to create technologies — the same way that the industries created these technologies to produce natural gas and it turned out so commercially successful."
Heh. An article from NPR that ballyhoos the current administration's funneling the big bucks into non commercially viable industries even though they are "green?" Whoda thunk it?

Getting back to the oil patch, two terms bandied about are horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing (fracking) - and the combination of the two is the technological evolution that makes oil recovery from a "tight" formation possible.


Horizontal drilling differs from the standard method in that as the well is drilled, the bit can be directionally controlled. When the well is at the proper depth, it is turned so that eventually, the path goes from vertical to horizontal. From what I've heard - the well actually goes somewhat uphill rather than a perfect horizontal. This allows the oil to flow "downhill" to make pumping it easier. Notice how much deeper the oil well goes past the water table. This will become important later.

This is a video from Continental Resources explaining hydraulic fracturing. Now, I realize that this is nothing but a propaganda video to the more vehement of fracking's opponents, but it is based in fact rather than conjecture. Two things to note: The pic and video both came from their site, and this company is a customer of my company.

video

Another thing Continental has come up with are Eco-Pads. This is basically bundling wells into one "pad" or well site with all the accoutrements such as storage tanks, pumps, wellheads rather than scattered over several single pads, minimizing the impact on the environment. I've seen four wells on one pad with them - and they aren't just drilling into the Bakken anymore, either. There is another oil bearing formation that is just now showing up on the radar - the Three Forks. Those four wells were drilled into either one, the other, or both, plus they are also doing a sort of "lateral" line technique - there might be more than one horizontal line in one well.

Now - addressing the concerns of those against fracking. The fracking occurs miles below the water table. It has no effect on the water table because it does not open access through all those miles of rock to get the oil and gas into said water table. The only way a well can contaminate the water table is if the well casing is poorly made or breaks down at the water table level - and both are possible. However, the oil industry has been drilling oil wells right through the water table for years now with a pretty decent record of safety as far as contamination is concerned. Fracking a well does not affect the strata associated with the water table. It's just too damn far away!

Now, I'm not here to defend the instances where a well casing failed due to poor installation or whatever. But to my mind, people who suddenly find their water blaming their water smelling like gas after fracking is done on wells in their area need just a little more science involved before the connection can be made. Like real, hard data. Was the water not contaminated before the wells were fracked? Is it now? What is the chemical makeup of the contaminant?

The large majority of petroleum based water table contamination occurs on the surface and seeps down. Pipeline leakage or failure, old storage tanks leaking, point contamination where oil has been continuously dumped to saturation and migrate down, oil spills and yes, oil casing leakage have been responsible for ground water pollution. An old refinery in Wichita was responsible for some contamination several years ago, for instance.

But fracking causing water contamination directly? I'm gonna need some hard data on that, personally. Just because both happen underground where we can't see it doesn't make it likely.

Sunday, October 09, 2011

Rain!

We haz it. I stop by my house and park the truck overnight quite a bit if it isn't too far away. It's one of the perks that my company gives me (and other drivers as well). It saves me a ninety mile round trip with a fourteen mpg pickup, so I appreciate it.

So, Saturday I needed to take the truck "home" for the weekend routing of washing it for the next week and any other work that needed done, which this week included the ten thousand mile service. However, when I woke up, it was raining.

Yes!!!

I had to take the truck back - but driving it on a dirt road during a rain wasn't in my plans. As a rule, until the road has a chance to "settle," one does not want to take any sort of heavy equipment over a freshly drenched road. You can really tear the road up - opening the road to ruts that hold more water if it rains more and makes the road harder to get over for all vehicles. Makes ya real popular with the neighbors, if you know what I mean (and I think that you do).

But, I got a phone call. The trailer I was pulling was scheduled to go out Monday with a load and they needed it back ASAP.

So, away I went. Max velocity - twenty mph. It was for sure greasy - the road had a firm bottom, but it was entirely too easy to slide around. If I was gonna get stuck, it would be from slipping into a ditch.


There is even some standing water in the fields! Outstanding!


Even water standing on ground with cover! Woo Hoo!


I could see the ruts I was leaving far better than the ol' Droid could.

I dunno how much we got. This morning it was raining again. Nothing heavy, just a bit over sprinkling, but you could just about hear the slurping sound of the prairie drinking. It may only be an inch or even less, but I'd bet what we got was more than the total amount of moisture in the past six to eight months, period. That wouldn't take much when the other instances of water from the sky might total in the whopping hundreds of an inch. Or even as NOAA puts it - a "trace."

It's too cold now for the toads to break out in song at night. Toad serenades are a pretty rare event and I've sorely missed their throaty calls of love. This rain isn't "enough" by any means. Wheat planting has already started - farmers have been "dusting the crop in" - meaning there wasn't enough subsoil moisture to start germination, but they gambled on having it show up later. It will take far more to obtain "a good stand of wheat."

This rain might not be all that, but it sure as hell beat the alternative.

Friday, October 07, 2011

How Do Ya Want Your Peterbilt?


link

When most people think of a needle nosed custom Pete, this ain't gonna come to mind. This goes beyond any kind of pulling a load.
This is Jay Leno's 1960 chopped Peterbilt with a 852ci two-stroke Detroit Diesel twin-supercharged V12 mated to an Allison 4-speed automatic transmission from a Greyhound bus. The engine produces 500 horsepower and nearly 1000 lb-ft torque with a red line of just 2,800 rpm. Built by the Blastolene Brothers.

"Just 2800 rpm." One of the hotrod tricks for the old mechanical four stroke motors like the Cummins 855 block or the Cats was to mess with (replace or just stretch the crap out of it) the throttle return spring and shim it up so that the cutoff of 2100 rpms could be exceeded. You really didn't want to make it a habit, or a ventilated block was a distinct possibility. Part of the idea was that the fuel "curve" would be fattened so that lower rpms could get more juice. Of course, other mods were necessary to get the fuel to flow. More diesel, more power. At any rate, 2,800 isn't really radical at all.

 Plus, this is a Detroit two stroker. It will not run without a blower. Yeah, it sounds cool to clearly have a  couple of superchargers mounted, but they are pretty much standard Roots style blowers that have been on Detroits since day one. The drag racers, in their search for more power, had in these blowers the ready ability to force more air into a four stroke gasoline motor with instant throttle response, as opposed to a turbo.  In fact, this engine is from the V71 family - twelve cylinders of 71cu in makes 852 cubes total. Probably the most iconic Detroit is the 8v71 - called the 318 because that was the horsepower rating. There was also a 6v71 and this twelve cylinder isn't much more than a couple of them mated. The 6 and 8vs were put into all kinds of equipment, but what the public encountered was mostly buses and trucks. The sound of an old bus roaring away - Detroit power.

Even though these Detroits were blown, they really only compared to their naturally aspirated competitors. And, the way to increase the power was to throw a turbo on, just like the straight breathing four strokes. The 350 Detroit was an 8v71 with a turbo. I drove a "Silver 92" - which was one of the last two strokers. Detroits were always painted an odd green color, but the "new" ones were all silver. The example in the Ford cabover I drove for several years was an 8v92 rated at 475hp, and like all Detroits, the torque curve was all above 1500 rpms. Part of the old trucker lore was to properly drive a Detroit powered truck, before climbing behind the wheel, one must place one's hand in the door jamb and slam the whee out of the door. That would put you in the proper frame of mind to wind the crap out of it and try to abuse the motor. If you took it easy on them, they had no power. They always had to be" on the boil." Contrast the Cats, which were all about low end torque and lugging.

And five hundred horses from that old V12 ain't bad, but contrast to my current Acert Cat at 550hp, and I hardly ever go over 1700rpms. So, five hundred horses in something that light is nothing to sneeze at, but this is obviously set up as a cruiser. It's been tweaked, and I'd bet all the internals have been lovingly picked for their performance characteristics and then polished and balanced, plus the fuel pump tweaked.

If ol' Jay got tired of this puppy and decided to give it to me, I'd not turn it down. However, I'd bet most SBC powered Deuce coupes or similar would suck it's doors just because they're so much lighter and wind up so far more quickly. As a "Just Because We Can" exercise, it's full of win.

H/T Nunkle Kim

Thursday, October 06, 2011

Real Beer for Real Men

The beer of choice of manly men everywhere. Below the fold, objectionable language.


eBay Problem

Does anyone know how to cancel a bid? I'm kinda in a hurry here......


Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Apple of Their Eye


Steve Jobs - RIP.

Yannow, I made it a point - publicly - to distance myself from his products, mostly because the fanboi cult turned me off. However, there is no denying the impact he had on consumer electronics and in fact the entire business world. He was not only a design genius, he was a marketing guru as well. How many of us still think of him as David to Bill Gate's Microsoft giant? Even though David is the richest corporation in the world at the moment? That's a good job of selling, period. After his retirement, the maintenance of that lofty perch was called into doubt, but there was the comforting idea (for Apple's supporters, anyways) that Jobs was still in the background. No more, and who knows what we've lost. No - I'm not talking about iPhone XXVI or any such thing - what sort of other ventures would he have explored in a healthy retirement - a la Bill and Melissa Gates?

I got to thinking about a picture for this post, and decided to make that one. I've never fooled with Gimp much, but I did figure out layers a little bit, I think.

Report Card


Yep, I'm simple minded. I like cartoons that illustrate an issue. This one contrasts Obama's statements in the past about specific issues and the results his policies have generated. No fair blaming Bush here. The buck never stops at the big O's desk, does it? The only place the bucks stop are in the pockets of his major contributors - unions and companies like Soylandra.

This illustration was made by John E at Ace of Spades. You may have to go to his Flickr page to view the picture in a larger size. I uploaded several larger sizes, but Blogger only wants to allow a 289x1600 pixel image. For me in this browser, anyhow.

Do go to the unions link  -the dirty reality of campaign funding is that the biggest contributors are not evil Republican big businesses, but rather strongly Democratic fund raising institutions and labor unions - but I repeat myself. The facts are far different from what the progressive press and liberal politicians scream, eh?

So, tell me fifty two percenters, how's that Hope N' Change working out for ya?

Monday, October 03, 2011

Hooah

link

I couldn't leave the house yesterday until I'd seen this scene. I've read accusations that Pacino was over acting. Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn.

Oops, wrong movie.

Sunday, October 02, 2011

Interesting......

Watch live streaming video from ideacity at livestream.com

This is Tarek Fatah. I got this video link in an email with this text:
If you never watch another video, please watch this one. The speaker is an Indian Muslim who is warning us to wake up. He has tremendous courage and pulls no punches on what is happening with Islamic fascism. Make sure you listen to the end of the tape where he says we now have three members of the Muslim Brotherhood in the White House (and names them).He is elderly and in a wheel chair recovering from cancer treatments - perhaps that's why he has the courage to speak out. This is probably one of the most important messages of our day.

Well, I don't know if this is one of the most important messages of the day or not, but it does put a face on a lot of what some of us seem to think and the rest are afraid to name. It's a long video, but he's a good speaker and he has quite a message -surprisingly from a Canadian liberal activist and not a "Tea Party Crank," as the MSM would paint a US citizen. It's sure relevant even if we ain't Canadians.

H/T Lydell

Edit: I set this to auto post and when I checked this morning the latest Day by Day cartoon was in the space for the video. I have no idea what happened - I copied and pasted the video embed HTML once again and it all seemed the same, but the video appeared on the preview and the second publishing.

Saturday, October 01, 2011

So Do You Recommend I Join AARP Now?

Which is what I said to my doctor after he gave me some advice. Advice about BMs. So, if you are easily offended by a potty mouth, do not go on. If you aren't, the rest of the story is after the break.

Yer Kiddin' Me!


The Family can only afford one helmet and they put it on Jeffy? I'd be for making PJ wear the thing just to protect the relatively unmolested gray matter in his round noggin. There might be hope for him yet.

Yeah, I've been hard on Family Circus lately. If the Keane conglomerate actually makes me laugh, I might actually stop for a while.