Thursday, April 30, 2009

Forward This Or Else

I got this email the other day. You have to see it in all it's glory:

This is Serious!
This incident happened recently in North Texas .
A woman went boating one Sunday taking with her some cans of coke
which she put into the refrigerator of the boat.

On Monday she was taken to the hospital and placed in the Intensive Care Unit.
She died on Wednesday.

The autopsy concluded she died of Leptospirosis.
This was traced to the can of coke she drank from, not using a glass.

Tests showed that the can was infected by dried rat urine and
hence the disease Leptospirosis

Rat urine contains toxic and deathly substances.
It is highly recommended to thoroughly wash the upper part
all soda cans before drinking out of them.
The cans are typically stocked in warehouses and transported straight to the shops without being cleaned.

A study at NYCU showed that the tops of
all soda cans are more contaminated than public toilets (i.e.). full of germs and bacteria. So wash them with water before putting them to the mouth to avoid any kind of fatal accident.

Please forward this message to all the people you care about.
Mmmkay. These things set my teeth on edge. Pet Peeveville. Since the people who forward this type of email don't have the netiquette to use BCC, I hit reply all and put in a link to Snopes or whomever debunks the obviously false statements, and in the past few years, I've gotten - well, a bit more sarcastic with my responses:
Leptospirosis isn't fatal, and none of the people in this email existed. Guess that killed em, since they weren't real. Link
I got a response. Now, I love this person a lot. This person means quite a bit to Sis and I. This person responded with a comment that the part about the cans being dirty was true, and that was what was important. I agree that cleaning is important. But I do NOT agree with sending alarmist lies to people attempting to cause panic to support this "policy." There was no "woman in North Texas. NYCU doesn't exist, so it would be difficult for a figment of the author's imagination to have published the study in question. I was in debate for four years - evidence is important. Made up evidence starts my motor, and not in a good way.

Okay, so most of these people have no geek blood in them. The magic box just works, and big companies and money are involved. Therefore, there has to be a simple secret to making money with no effort at all - why, there are ads on late night tv that say you can! The people using computers and making money probably didn't get rich by long hours, hard work and good ideas. No, they got it from some secret process that involves forwarding an email:

Dear Friends,
Please do not take this for a junk letter. Bill Gates is sharing his fortune. If you ignore this you will repent later. Microsoft and AOL are now the largest Internet companies and in an effort to make sure that Internet Explorer remains the most widely used program, Microsoft and AOL are running an e-mail beta test.

When you forward this e-mail to friends, Microsoft can and will track it (if you are a Microsoft Windows user) for a two week time period.

For every person that you forward this e-mail to, Microsoft will pay you $245.00, for every person that you sent it to that forwards it on, Microsoft will pay you $243.00 and for every third person that receives it, you will be paid $241.00.

Within two weeks, Microsoft will contact you for your address and then send you a cheque.


Chinu! I thought this was a scam myself, but two weeks after receiving this e-mail and forwarding it on, Microsoft contacted me for my address and within days, I received a cheque for US$24,800.00.

You need to respond before the beta testing is over. If anyone can afford this Bill Gates is the man. It's all marketing expense to him.

Please forward this to as many people as possible. You are bound to get at least US$10,000.00.

Trust me. It doesn't work. The Taco Bell Chihuahua never ran across your screen, now did it?!? If it's not Gates, it's some coupon, or some other company looking to over pay for a grassroots email promotion. There is not an email tracking program (yet, but Our Benevolent Government would just love one). I could get all geeky and glaze eyeballs with an explanation but that isn't what ya wanna hear. Sorry, you're just
gonna have to trust me rather than some anonymous yuckster laughing their asses off somewhere.

I'm part of the 8%. If you love Jesus, you'll forward this email. If you love the devil, just go ahead and delete this email. 92% will delete this.

Please show me any church's doctrine that claims that forwarding emails professing to love Jesus will get me into heaven, but deleting will send me to the pits of hell. Hey, remember, it's a magic box, and G_d is hooked in as well. Frankly, I suspect when I stand before Him on my Judgment Day, He is going to be a bit more concerned with how I obeyed the Ten Commandments and what I did for other people. I'm just sayin.'

You won't see this in the media. Our brave soldiers are doing a world of good, but there is no coverage of the positive things our boys do (followed by a lot of uplifting pics of soldiers, happy kids, and so on - most likely taken by Michael Yon). Forward this to all the people you know, because we want to show the mainstream media that we support our troops, and we want the word to get out.

Remember, this is the magic box, where things come easy. I'm sure our boys in the sandbox are extremely comforted knowing there are millions of emails circulating the internet supporting their efforts. That has to be much much better than, oh, say, a nice care package from home, or a letter or postcard. Yep, when they come home, the stories of how all those emails will be on their minds and lips - they just can't wait to thank you for your major big time effort. Click away, you internet patriot! Make Keith Olbermann and Katie Couric rue the day!

This virus was on the front page of USA Today, and on Norton's and McAfee's websites. This virus destroys the zero sector of the hard drive, where all the important data is kept.

Yep, actually looking or searching the named websites are beyond our concerned forwarder. They did their part - they'd rather send this out to all their friends and be wrong than not do it and feel responsible for all their pal's destroyed zero sector of the hard drives. Apparently, the data on other parts of the drive just isn't important. Better go grease your muffler bearings, Bunky. You might find the zero sector there. Besides, that might warm you up so flapping your arms especially fast can get you to the moon.

I wonder if I can write one of these:

This is National Ear Wax Awareness Week. NASA and the Pentagon, with assistance from the NACM (National Association of Christian Ministers) and teamed with Bill Gates and Warren Buffet have announced some important news you should know. The mainsteam media has not been informed. The parties involved want to spread this knowledge by email, because the people who use email are more technically literate and therefore more desirable for the survival of our planet.

The existence of human earwax eating monsters from Mars has been confirmed, and their plans of world domination have been discovered. The monsters appear to be clones of the older Elvis Presley but with an anteater like probiscus meant to suck out human earwax. Unfortunately, when they attack, the brains of the victim are usually ingested by these inhuman freaks. Equally unfortunate is the fact that their space traveling technology is superior to ours, so they will attack.

What can you, as a selected person, do? First and foremost, you must keep your ear canals clean. This means using Q-Tips© in an unapproved manner - you must insert the tip in your ear canal to clean the material. The monsters have a highly developed sense of smell, and will not attack you if your ears are clean.

Bill Gates and Warren Buffet have supplied this program with funding as an incentive to help save humanity. For every person you forward this to, you will receive $150. For every person they forward to, you receive $149. The third teir of forwarders nets you $148 - and so on. They all receive the appropriate amounts for the people under them as well. This should keep us all well stocked with Q-Tips© and walking around money until the military and NASA can deal with the aliens.

The program founders also feel that Christianity should be represented by the majority of the survivors. So, the NACM requests that if you love Jesus, please forward this to all your friends. They also advise that if you love the Devil, or are in league with the monsters, then by all means delete this email.

Remember, you will not hear of this on television or the radio. This is an internet exclusive. I'm not a lawyer or a scientist, but I have friends who are. They assure me this is for real and not a hoax. If you want to survive, forward this email. Since this email was released by the Pentagon and they don't want the media to find out, if you do delete this message, the zero sector of your hard drive (where this important information is kept) will be destroyed.

I love you and Jesus, so I sent this to you! Please do the same!

If I get this in an email, I'm gonna be ROTFLMAO!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Our Principled Speaker

What? She wouldn't be fudging a bit! She knows nutteengk (in a Sgt Shultz voice)!

Monday, April 27, 2009

This Time Was Different

Well, another 10k miles, another oil change. I didn't make a mess like the last time.

Headed to Ohio tomorrow - this will be the second time I've been to that state.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

If They Stand Perfectly Still

I can't see them. Well, that is what they think. Actually, the immortal words of Samwise Gamgee come to mind concerning "a brace o' coneys." They need taters: "Po-ta-toes! Boil 'em, mash 'em, stick 'em in a stew."

The annual crop of wild onions in the yard are coming along - too bad it's really not worth it to dig enough up to actually season something. I spent almost two hours one day digging the bulbs, cleaning and trimming with the result being about a half cup. The variety here tastes like mild radishes, actually.

The coneys oughta be pretty tender this time of year - they've had a chance to fatten up after a pretty mild winter. No stress.

And I certainly would not take a shot considering where they are now! Gotta consider Rules Two and Four of The Four Rules of Safe Gun Handling.

Yep, I see ingesting some very locally grown protein soon.

W00T!!!11!! I'm Number Five!!!11

Yep, number five in the UK for that particular search string. I really and truly don't want to know, but it seems to me that proper personal hygiene might, just might be a preventative measure. Maybe it's just me.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

The Doobs Are A Habit, Not A Vice


I'm all about listening to a tune from my past that doesn't get a lot of airplay. The Doobie Brothers' South City Midnight Lady is another example. It's from their breakout album The Captain and Me, with two of their more popular hits China Grove and Long Train Runnin' as the songs most likely to be on the radio today. The Doobs really showcase their skills on this one.


This video is about an offroad trip and just happens to use the song in question - I Cheat the Hangman from Stampede. This song just sends chills down my spine - it has an emotional impact on me even all these years later.

I don't profess to know much at all about music. Never played an instrument or studied any form thereof. All I know is what I like to hear. The Doobie Brothers were, and still are, pop music. Britney Spears is pop music. Milli Vanilli cranked out pop music.

But, during an almost five year period from April 1971 to March 1976, the various members cranked out six high quality albums that helped define the term classic rock. They also toured to support those albums. No wonder some were burned out and had health problems - even I realize that is a lot of work. These guys were (and still are, by the way) good. They posses actual skills. Their music has worn well over the years, which is more than can be said about some of their "competition."

And I still say Michael McDonald ruined the band in the long run.

I Just Couldn't Help It

I had to post this picture!

Ripped off from SondraK

Friday, April 24, 2009

Tornadoes to the Left of Me, Tornadoes to the Right


These tornadoes were north of my house on the eighteenth - about fifteen miles or so. I'd heard there were a few, but had no idea this video was on YouTube!

Dern glad I wasn't there!

H/T Road Pig

Another Moldy Oldy


Well, once again SiriusXM has a song on the ol' playlist that ya just don't hear much anymore - and it's a shame. Sniff 'n' the Tears Driver's Seat - I just like the sound. It's from 1978 - so considering we didn't have a rock FM station and I didn't buy the album/8-track, the audio quality of AM radio probably lured me in with it's dulcet tones. Not a lot worse than listening on this laptop, frankly.

But, the Mighty Binder has a four speaker setup, so it ain't all bad these days.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Frankly, This is a....

Great Idea!! Yeah!

Neat Old Pictures

I found a heck of a timewaster - Maybe you've already heard about it, so you know what I'm talking about. Click on the picture to go to the site and read the description. The cat was an aviation pioneer, and the pic might be him at his master's funeral. The photographer really captured the dignity and solemnity of the feline - if ya ask me! At any rate, a lot of the pics are from the old wet plate photography method, and there are newer ones in corrected color there as well. Plus, read the history of Shorpy - quite interesting.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Happy EarthCivilization & Technology Day

Stolen shamelessly from SondraK

Alan Keyes


Everything he says is a logical extension of things we know, but most want to ignore.

H/T Ant Gail


Thanks for stopping by - I have no answer for you if you are really looking to hook up your trailer tires to Algore's internet. I have no idea why they would want internet access. Do your trailer tires need Facebook that badly? If so, I wanna meet them.

Of course, maybe, just maybe, you were looking for inner tubes? Hmmm??

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Knuckle Boom Crane Action

I've been fighting a bit of a fever the past few days and boredom has set in hard. I found these pics on my old - now back up laptop, so here ya go!

This is a series of pictures depicting the unloading of three hundred barrel steel tanks at a oilfield supply yard - so all I had to do was "set them off." This is considered a gravy run since we aren't on location for hours setting tanks plus walkways and stairs. The tractor is a Freightliner I was assigned to drive before my heart surgery - since replaced by the Mighty Binder. The crane is the same, though - I've had it on three tractors since it was new.

The first thing to do is drop the trailer in a position where I can park beside it with the tractor and pull the tanks off, setting them on the opposite side of the tractor.

So, here it sits before I extend and drop the outriggers and unfold the crane.

Now the outriggers are set and the boom is extended with the A-chain on the hook. The A-chain is a hardened steel loop with two equal length chains with a hook at the ends. The ladder is set so I can climb up and hook the chains to the lifting lug that is on top, but actually is on the side of the tank near the top.

I've picked the tank up a small amount and moved it down the trailer because the bottom of the tank is butted against the top of the next tank. If I started lifting it from where it originally sat, the top of the middle tank on the trailer would be damaged. The bottom edge of the first tank could hit the fitting at the top of the second tank, damaging the threads so that using a lift eye or installing pipe fixtures would be impossible without repairing. So, sliding the tank down the trailer is required to clear the second tank.

Now the tank is picked up, cleared the trailer, and is in the process of swinging over to the other side of the tractor. At the moment, it needs to be turned 180 degrees so I can stand it up. If the tank is dropped, it won't stand - it will fall to it's side. We have to choreograph our crane controls to get the tank to stand the tank up vertically. Remember, it's hooked to the side of the tank, near the top. Leverage is required.

This picture was taken from the same spot. I've successfully stood the tank where I wanted it, picked up the outriggers, moved the tractor forward, dropped the outriggers, and have the boom and A-chain ready to hook to tank number two. We use foam padding and cardboard between the tanks and the trailers to protect the painted finish on the tanks - thus the loose cardboard that blew off the tail of the trailer.

Now, I've jumped ahead - the tanks are offloaded and the extendable trailer tail needs to be shortened. Latch pins on each side need to be pulled so release the tail. You can see the extra holes in the rail that allow latching in several different lengths.

Success! I can drop the pins in, gather my dunnage and tie it down, put the crane, outriggers, pads and A-chain away, hook up to my trailer and haul hiney for home. As you can see, all this sliding steel tanks all over the trailer for years has somewhat damaged the finish! This trailer has since been sandblasted and repainted. The curved steel floors of these trailers have multiple holes cut into them over the years to clear fittings on custom builds, so eventually the trailer also has to be re-sheeted.

These particular trailers were also made and designed by my company. They have air ride suspensions, and are quite durable. These trailers allow us to haul twelve foot tanks at a height of just over fourteen feet. A standard drop deck would have them up to fifteen and a half feet or more. This is a major concern when traveling, because there are a lot of low overpasses out there. 14'2" to 14'4" is a lot easier to get around than 15'6"or 15'8". Some of our competitors use specialty low drop deck style trailers, too, but most of them are just a several long pipe rails that the tanks ride on, welded to trailer axles with no suspensions. I'm sure they have to do a lot of welding to keep them together, plus the harsh ride doesn't do their tanks any favors. But, most of them just use commercially available drop decks and put up with the aggravation of the extra height, plus they have to haul three hundred barrel tanks two at a time, as opposed to three with our trailers.

Another thing a sharp eyed trucker might notice is where the fifth wheel is located on the tractor. In order to optimize the "well" of our trailers, the fifth wheels have to be moved as far back on the tractor as possible. Our custom made drop decks have comparatively short upper decks - since we are all about lengthening the well as much as possible. We don't have to worry about transferring weight because our loads are almost always lighter than legal. With our cranes, we get plenty of weight on our steer axles, too - we don't need to transfer weight off our drivers to axle out a load like most "normal" truckers do.

In fact, our tare weights are quite heavy - the Mighty Binder with one of these triple axles weighs in over 40,000 lbs. We have some other single drops that are more of a true flatbed that I tare out at around 43k lbs. But, as the boss has told me - we are not in the business of hauling freight - we are in the business of delivering the tanks the company manufactures. Our equipment is set up with that goal in mind. We run high horsepower motors and are geared relatively low so we can get over the mountains quickly and safely, and move around slowly on location. Our loads by definition get poor fuel mileage - the aerodynamic drag kills that idea, no matter the weight.

That is the same tractor hooked to one of our "regular" dropdecks with three 210bbl fiberglass tanks. They are sixteen feet diameter, six feet tall, and the whole load is around six thousand pounds. But, on a windy day, fifty five mph might be a goal rather than a destination. Some of these loads pull hard.

I hope y'all found this a bit interesting - it's all quite different than what a dry freight hauler sees every day.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Using the Mirrors on a Big Rig

One of the simplest tools available to a trucker is also one of the most valuable - the rear view mirrors. Truckers usually have spot mirrors as well - they provide a far larger - if distorted - field of view than the flat surfaced variety.

The most obvious use is simply to see what is behind you. We haul oversized loads, so we use a removable extended mirror. You can see just how little of the rear view we have even using the extended mirror. I'm sure we've all seen the signs on the rear of trailers that say "If You Can't See My Mirrors I Can't See You." It is a true statement no matter what the load or trailer in question may be. You are following too closely if you cannot see those mirrors, and you are also making the trucker uncomfortable. We know you are back there, but if there is a need for sudden maneuvering, we don't know exactly where you are and what you will do. You might just get run over if you change lanes suddenly when we have to dodge something and don't have time to look out for your welfare, too.

You'll notice how I have those mirrors set. The main flat mirror only shows the edge of the cab and then as far "out" as possible, and the spot mirror is set the same. When I make a left turn, it is highly useful to see just where the trailer is going, and if the spot mirror is getting a great view of the side of the cab, it won't "see" the rear of a 53' trailer when it's bent over during a sharp turn. This is true on the right side as well. I set my right side mirror low enough to see a car beside me, where I cannot see it from the flat mirror or just looking out the side window. The spot mirrors are good for reducing the blind spot on the right side.

Left turns with a trailer are always easier just because of the "extra room" compared to a right turn. You've always got at least a lane of room to play with. When a trucker makes a right turn, he/she has to be concerned with how far the trailer will cut into the arc of travel the tractor makes. If the trucker just turns right and hugs the curb all the way with the tractor, the trailer will "jump" the curb and anything within the radius will be run over - such as people, poles, or other various and sundry items. Swinging the tractor wide enables the following arc of the trailer to clear the curb, ditch, or culvert as the case may be. It may be an inconvenience to you in the car because the trucker had to take up two lanes to turn, but they can't help it - simple geometry requires the trucker to take that action. Trailers with their axles moved forward have an easier job, but trailers with their axles located at the rear (double drop flatbeds, grain trailers and such) aren't so maneuverable. Having the spot mirrors set correctly helps immeasurably in the task of turning in tight quarters.

The mirrors also help check the load. We use straps and chains to hold our cargo down, and checking the mirrors during a turn can show us a loose strap or chain. We can also see if the tires are flat or if a wheel seal is going out.

Backing up also requires the usage of mirrors as tools much the same as turning, only in reverse. It is harder to predict where the trailer will go in reverse compared to moving forward, but with practice a trucker learns. A lot of fleets have a see through sticker on their right flat mirror - G.O.A.L. - meaning Get Out And Look. It only costs a bit of time, and you, the consummate trucker, will look far more professional stopping to look rather than running over something.

Another use for mirrors is proper lane placement of the rig. This is particularly helpful if you are climbing from one truck to another for whatever reason. A lot of cabs have the driver's seat placed in different locations relative to the centerline of the truck. A cabover, for instance, has the driver placed well to the far left edge of the cab - which is far wider than an older narrow cab conventional. Those older conventionals have the driver butted up against the shifter, which would be in the exact center of the cab. So, after you've driven a cabover for a while, your butt is used to being close to the centerline (zipper) of a two lane road. Climb into a conventional, and suddenly what was comfortable has a major portion of the truck placed into oncoming traffic. Checking where the trailer wheels are running in relation to the zipper and "fog line" clues a driver in to where the truck is riding. Most trucks these days are conventionals, but there is enough difference between some to make a difference when comparing where the driver sits. Kenworth W900s and Peterbilt 359/379/389s have fairly narrow cabs compared to Internationals, Volvos, and say, Century class Freightliners. Looking at my picture, you can see that the rig is "over" to the right a ways, but it's because of the width of the load - the tanks are not over the "zipper." I can assure you that I'm hanging the load over the "fog line." We oversize haulers "live on the fog line."

That little tip applies to pickups, cars and SUVs pulling trailers, too. This incident wouldn't have happened if the guy had a clue where his trailer wheels were as he was motoring down the road. He had no excuse, because his trailer was wider than his Pathfinder, and the trailer wheels could be easily seen from his stock mirrors, had he set them correctly and actually used 'em. But, expecting intelligence from the general motoring public has proven to be a futile gesture (and this includes truckers, too). Best to drive defensively, and mirrors are a great tool for doing just that.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Media Bias Part II

In my post about Susan Roesgen's rather pointed coverage of a Chicago area TEA party, I mentioned that CNN had suspended her email account and that she was unavailable for interviews because of a pre-planned vacation. Mkay.

Now, according to Ace, CNN is demanding that YouTube pull all the clips of this incident due to fair useage reasons. This from a network that has a consistent history of allowing YouTube videos as a form of free advertising. CYA much?

Then, I read Big Dick and see this video:


It seems that there were bloggers there with video cameras, and one caught this exchange between blogger Kathy Barkulis and Ms. Roesgen, as well as more crowd reaction. CNN doesn't have copyrights on this video. Heh.

Oh, and one more thing. Ms. Defender of Obama, the sensitive reporter insulted by a protester calling our President a fascist, didn't seem to have any problems with comparing George W. Bush to Hitler. That would be epitome of nuance, to us bitter religion and gun clingers, and right wing security risks. I hope that is all clear to you fellow flyover redstate country Neanderthal mouth breathing knuckle draggers.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

I Love the Smell of Tornadoes In the Morning

It smells like victory....

Yep, it's tornado season in The Poor Farm country again. The dot more or less between Garden and Dodge is approximately where I live. The arrow shows the direction of the storm depicted by the triangle, which is the area of one of the current tornado warnings in the area. The warning is due to expire at 3:45pm, and it's now 3:30. Whee. The cell is coming this way - hopefully it's out of steam by the time it gets here.

Media Bias - Nothing to See Here, Just Move Along


I heard about this - plus the audio - on Glenn Beck's show on Thursday. At first, I thought it was a parody - but it wasn't. Now, I thought the guy claiming Obama is a fascist could have presented some cogent arguments, but it was pretty clear where the interview was headed even before it started - "Chicago style tea - does that come with the pizza as well too, Susan?"
"Well, you know, this is, uh, a party for Obama bashers. I had to say this is not entirely representative of everybody in America."

Nice to see you so "fair" and all - if it were anyone on the left protesting, you'd certainly include that disclaimer, now wouldn't you?
"This was organized by three different conservative groups."

Yes, I've noticed in the past how well y'all look into the organizers of liberal protests - like the constant hounding of George Soros, for instance. Oh, wait....

Susan Roesgen interviews the guy who stubbornly insists Obama is a fascist, and does a poor job of supporting his argument. But, honestly, considering what happens next, would a logical presentation of ideas matter to Ms. Liberal Sound Bite?
"Why do you say he's a fascist? He's the President of the United States."

What about being the President is a talisman against fascism? And when did we go from objective reporting of the news to defending the President against criticism?
"Do you realize how offensive that is?"

She doesn't see how offensive current events are to the protesters - which, by the way (disclosure), would include me. She also doesn't see how offensive she is - the supposedly unbiased and unswayed by any opinion professional reporter she so obviously isn't.

Then, she interviews the guy with the little girl who tried to use Lincoln as historical perspective.
"Okay. Let's see. You are here with your 2‑year‑old and you are already in debt. Why are you here, sir?"

He tries to answer: "Because I heard the president say he believed in what Lincoln stood for. Lincoln's primary thing was he believed that people had the right to liberty and had the right" interrupted
"Sir, what does this have to do with taxes?"

Glenn said: "This shows the ignorance of this reporter. She doesn't have any clue as to what this man is talking about. What this man is talking about is Abraham Lincoln saying it is immoral to pull down the house of one to build another house for someone else. You can't do that. He thought it was immoral, he thought it was unconstitutional. You do not take the fruits of the labor of one person and give them to someone else. He was very clear. But she didn't even know where he was going with this because she clearly doesn't understand and she's like, well, what does this even have to do with taxes? That was the point of Abraham Lincoln! You cannot take and tear down the house of one to build a house for another. That has everything to do with taxes. That is the point that Abraham Lincoln was trying to make."

This is when the "interview" gets surreal.
" Sir, what does this have to do with taxes? What does this have to do with your taxes? Do you realize that you're eligible for a $400 credit"

Why you uneducated unwashed convervative mouth breather. Don't you realize your munificent goverment allows you to keep $400 of the money you should gratefully fork over? What a deal!

"Let me finish my point" (what? Just who is interviewing whom here? Couldn't Ms. Unbiased Journalist take a moment to actually, oh, I dunno, do her job?) "Lincoln, Lincoln believed that people had the right to share in the fruits of their own labor and that government should not take it, and we have clearly gotten to that point. "
"Wait, did you know that ‑‑ did you know that the State of Lincoln gets $50 billion out of this stimulus? That's $50 billion for this state, sir.

What? What? There is so much "fail" in this little slip of information that I had to get out the duct tape to keep my head from exploding. Yep, this guy's home state would get $50 billion from the Feds. How much did the State of Lincoln send? Why shouldn't the State of Lincoln keep it in the first place? Why should there be that much tax money floating around? I guess when you're talking trillions, a few odd billion or so should keep the proles happy.

And she quoted a line from Illinois' license plates to counter the gentleman's Lincoln quotes? "Land of Lincoln" it says. So, because he is in the state of the Land of Lincoln - that is her answer to the moral implications of the guy's assertation that Lincoln was against excessive taxation?

She then ends the interview with some pretty scathing commentary - but she's a reporter of course, not an editorialist.
"I think you get the general tenor of this.It's anti-government, anti-CNN. Since this is promoted by the highly right wing conservative network Fox, and since I can't really hear much more and because I think this is not really family viewing - toss it back to you, Keira."

She just got through grabbing a big stick and stirred up a pot full of sh*t, and now she's complaining about the smell. It's like she jumped a bunch of antiwar protesters with declarative statements about how the draft should be started again to deal with you kids, or she did smoky burnouts with a Hummer in front of a global warming crowd before telling them they were full of it while getting the "unbiased" truth of the story. So, she wades in and insults the protesters, they respond, and it's not family freindly. She obviously cannot buy a clue.

Anti-government and anti-CNN? A bit of a Freudian slip? Hand in hand, they are showing us the true path to righteous groupthink, and those evil hate mongerers at Fox are slowing the wheels of progress. Odd that she actually applied at Fox, and was rejected. Harboring a bit of resentment, much?

And, it's kinda odd that CNN has shut down her email account and she's on a "pre-planned vacation," so she cannot be reached now.

Enjoy your vacation, Susan. I'd recommend you read up on journalistic principles, or just study the difference between journalist and editorialist and the appropriate place for both, but I fear there is no cure for moron fail.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

I Concur

Heh. Pretty hard to argue with Ramirez on this one!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Using the Clutch on a Big Rig

I've talked before about how to shift a "big rig," and I did mention the clutch - but only a little bit about it. Clutches in a truck/tractor are different than one in a car with a manual transmission.

The main difference is the clutch brake. Since the heavy duty gearboxes do not have synchronizers, when the engine is idling, the truck is parked and the transmission is in neutral, the gears all spin. So, the clutch is locked in, the gears are spinning, and the driveline isn't moving. When the clutch is pushed in, the gears still spin. The transmission will not shift into gear until the spinning gears speed matches the non spinning driveshaft. Which means the gears have to be stopped by grinding them until they do. Or, you can use the clutch brake. When the clutch pedal is pushed all the way to the floor (Peterbilt or Volkswagen Beetle) or firewall (pendant style), the brake is engaged and stops the gears from spinning. The operator usually has the gearshift "riding" the gears waiting to "catch" the moment when the teeth mesh - it is just as likely that the gears will stop in a position where they will not mesh than if they do. So, as the gears slow to a stop, one tries to slip it into gear without grinding - just enough to help the clutch finally stop the spinning, successfully getting the thing into gear. If the gears don't line up, one eases off the brake to allow the tranny to roll over a bit until the gears do mesh.

These brakes do wear out, and they are adjustable. I hear a lot of gears getting rounded off in truckstops because of out of adjustment brakes - or they are just worn out. Years ago, the transmission had to be pulled to replace the brake - it is on the input shaft right by the clutch. But, a good mechanic can take a "blue wrench" (cutting torch) to the old brake and a install a two piece unit. The skill is not cutting up other things whilst waving the torch around in the small access hole.

So, a good driver gets into the habit of only using the bottom end of the clutch travel to stop the tranny when getting the thing into gear - if said driver likes to use the clutch to shift, then only the travel required to disengage the clutch is used.

The other thing that is different about using the clutch in a big rig is that starting the truck rolling when idling is the recommended course of action. In a gasoline engine, we all gun the motor just enough to reach the necessary torque level required to launch the vehicle in the proper gear, feathering the clutch so the motor keeps running. Well, in a diesel truck, the motors are all about torque - considerable amounts of torque. Comparing torque curves of a gasoline motor vs a diesel would show the gas motor peaking at a fairly high rpm level, while the diesel will have a fairly flat curve that spreads over a narrow rpm range.

So, winding up the motor and dumping the clutch is a very very bad idea. A gas powered vehicle might smoke the tires, but a diesel? With eight huge contact patches compared to two small ones? Not so much. Plus, we are talking a lot of torque, multiplied by the lower gears. Enough torque to twist driveshafts in two, or break universal joints, strip splines on axles or just plain shear them, or break teeth in a rear end. In short, there are a lot of bad possibilities.

So, a good driver selects a lower gear that experience has taught him/her that will start the truck and it's load easily without undue stress or excessively slipping the clutch. It isn't necessary or all that great on equipment to start a truck rolling in the lowest possible gear each and every time - that super low gear is generally specced for moving the truck as a very slow speed for some special reason rather than sprinting from a stop light.

So, a driver starts the truck in a lower gear without slipping the clutch much, the truck is launched and rolling. What next?

Well, it isn't "gouging" on the loud pedal and winding the motor to it's cutoff, like I see so often in truck stops. Yep, pulling out of the fuel island in first gear, winding the motor, twisting the chassis and shifting six or seven times is less than impressive. Because they are unduly stressing the driveline. All a good driver should try to do is ease into the throttle enough to roll the truck up to speed just enough to be able to shift gently into the next gear, until the transmission is in some of the higher gears. Then, the torque isn't multiplied so much, and the driveline can stand the full measure of the power the motor has available. Only "pour the coals to 'er" in the higher gears. Unless, you as the consummate trucker, enjoy sitting in the waiting room of the truck repair shop cooling your heels until the parts are shipped in from across the country.

One of my pet peeves is a "throttle blipper." You know the type. They can't do anything with a manual transmission vehicle without stabbing the throttle several times before taking off. This is actually pretty fun with a Harley equipped with straight pipes, and most riders can't seem to resist. But, a diesel isn't a freaking Harley, and blipping the throttle while trying to get the tranny to stop is counter productive, plus having the motor wound up when starting to release the clutch is going to cause excessive clutch wear, among the other hazards mentioned above. Most guys that do it have it so ingrained they don't even realize what they are doing - it's like a dog turning around three times before it lies down.

What inspired this post was a dumbass at the west Flying J in OKC the other day. When the throttle is opened on a lot of the newer motors, you can really hear the air being sucked in. The sound is louder than the exhaust - and it almost sounds like a turbine engine in some respects. So, I hear this truck at the fuel island working up rpms sounding exactly like a plane building thrust before takeoff. Suddenly, he dumped the clutch and the truck leaped forward - until he cleared the pumps, then he stood hard on the brakes, stopping the rig just past the pumps so he could go inside to get his fuel receipt. I had to wonder what was the point? He only had to move the length of the rig - why wind 'er up, launch like a drag racer about two or three gears too high, and shut it down all in about ninety feet?

But, like "they" say, be careful what you ask for. I'm pretty sure I don't want a look inside a mind like that.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Mish Update

She's not doing very well, gang. The doctors have reverted to palliative care, and she's scared. If y'all would, go give her some support.

Mish Weiss

Sunday, April 12, 2009

For Charles


This one's for you, Charles G. Hill of Dustbury, OK. Chaz posts about high heels and how fashionable or not a particular example may be, artistic merit, or comfort (relatively speaking), costs and whatnot related to the shoes.

I like seeing a nice set of female legs showcased by high heels as much as the next guy, but I have to wonder about the comfort vs gain equation - does wearing a pair gain "enough" to warrant the discomfort? I had a pair of pretty tall platform shoes in the late seventies with some lift in the heel - and I can guarantee you the concentration level for mere walking was highly increased. Run in those shoes? It is to laugh. The cool thing about those shoes was how much more I towered over people. I'm 6'3", so I found out what being a few inches taller would be like - if I could only walk without tripping on bird doo on the sidewalk.

And the poor girl in the video - she's supposed to be a pro wearing those things. But, the second time balance and coordination go out the window - well, you'll just have to watch. Heh.


Happy Easter, everyone!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Rain, Rain - Don't Go Away

Niiice. It's been raining lightly all afternoon off and on, and now it's been raining gently for some time. So, the light rain was absorbed and the heavier stuff isn't running off now. It's even raining enough to wash out my DirecTV signal. A minor irritant I'm more than willing to endure!

I don't know if this rain is too late for the wheat - I suspect we'll all see some significant drought loss regardless, but this will help the pastures and the summer fallow. The irrigaters will get a breather running their pumps.

There will be a lot of people sleeping better around here tonight.

At the Chinese Restaurant

One of my trucking buddies and I went to eat Chinese yesterday for lunch. We went to the Golden Dragon in Garden City KS - if you are ever in that fine city, I'd highly recommend eating there.

Anyhoo, my pal's fortune cookie read:

Your talents will prove to be especially useful this week.

I said: "You know, people always take these fortunes to mean positive outcomes. What it probably really means is that your talent is being able to wipe your ass without getting shit on your hands, and it will be useful because you're gonna have diarrhea all week long."

After we got through giggling like little girls, my fortune read:

Linger over dinner discussions this week for needed advice.

How apropos.....

Thursday, April 09, 2009

How Not To Play Dead


From The Life of Brian. Yes, as a matter of fact, potty humor does make me larf, why do you ask?

H/T Eddie

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

News Flash

This just in:

The White Congressional Caucus met with high ranking officials of the the South African Apartheid Movement Monday, officials disclosed today.

Well, that's just great, just what we need, more problems with racism.

“It was almost like listening to an old friend,” said Rep. Bobby Rush

And this guy is a member of our Congress?

"I think that what really surprised me, but also endeared me to him, was his keen sense of humor, his sense of history and his basic human qualities," Rush said

Lipstick on a pig?

"He looked right into my eyes and he said, 'How can we help? How can we help President Obama?'" said Rep. Laura Richardson

Oh sure, just helping out here. Like I'm gonna believe that.

“The bottom line is that we believe its time to open dialogue " said Lee

Reopening old wounds much here? This is reprehensible - racism is supposed to be dying.


Ok, sorry, my bad. It was the Congressional Black Caucus, not the White Caucus. They met with Raul and Fidel Castro in Cuba, not some skinhead in SA. Of course the Castros have nothing but good intentions for our country, considering their history. As does the CBC, obviously.

I guess I'll have to watch An Inconvenient Truth for five times straight as penance for double plus ungood thinking. I'll be better in the future, you bet.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

And the New Mix Was Good

I've kvetched before about the limited playlists on terrestrial and satellite radio - but every once in a while an abandoned moldy oldy slips through:


Why Me by Planet P Project - wow, I had forgotten this song. And the video - made back in the day when MTV actually played music videos that were entertaining and interesting. What a concept.

Monday, April 06, 2009

Obsessed Much Error?

I tried an experiment - Blogger won't forward publish anything, but you can use an email service that sends emails at a specified time to publish a post. It obviously didn't work to well.

Obsessed Much?

If one were to compile a listing of folk art and artists in southwestern Kansas, M.T. Liggett of Mullinville would probably have to head that list, if only because of the strength of his character. His kinetic, totem style creations blow in the Kansas winds, created from old farm machinery, road signs and assorted dietrus. The inspiration for most of his creations are whatever strikes him as worthy of comment - he mocks major politicians, local officials, items in the news, his ex wives - whatever trips his trigger. His work is mostly concentrated at Mullinville - a small spot on the map at the US54/US400 junction west of Greensburg, KS (yes, that Greensburg). There is a small (relatively speaking) display along US 54 just west of the "split," but the majority of his work lines the north side of US 400 on the west edge of the city limits in the corner of a pasture. Don't forget to click to enlarge the pictures.

His take on the Waco massacre.

A view to the northwest from near the eastern edge of the line.

I think some of these are associated with his ex wives.

He's not happy with the BATF, nor with former President Bill Clinton. The area I photographed would probably be primarily the "Clinton Era Section." He doesn't care much for the Bush family, either.

More on Waco, Branch Davidians, and his view of the law enforcement officers involved. I saw one about Janet Reno, too.

Hillary Clinton and Laura Bush are noticeable here.

Tipper Gore and I'm assuming Teddy would of course be Ted Kennedy. Cecil Maupin was the owner of Maupin's Truck Parts in Dodge City (a truck recycler with new and used truck sales). I'm sure he was alive when this section was first displayed. And, an artist signs his work, right?

There is quite a bit of info on the web about Mr. Liggett. There are several videos interviewing him and showcasing his work. Below is one - and beware of the language. He says what's on his mind. I do recommend watching the video to see the sculptures in motion, and to get a better idea of the quantity of the sculptures.


There are quite a few different sites that mention Mr. Liggett scattered across the Intertubes, plus several videos. If you watch this video, you'll see he cuts hearts out of old plow disks - then he has a heart and the cutout for display (plus there is one beneath the "Tipper" sign in one of the pictures above). Our county attorney's place just on the east side of Cimarron has the pasture fenceposts lined with those hearts - given to him by Mr. Liggett.

He certainly is the epitome of the quirky individual driven to express himself.

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Is Your Cat Plotting to Kill You?

Is your cat plotting to kill you?

Damn. I'm gonna have to keep better watch on the meowing devil.

The TOTUS Strikes Again!

H/T SondraK

Eleven Years Ago

My father passed away. What I said last year covers how I feel now.

Friday, April 03, 2009

Like Chickens With Their Heads Cut Off

One of my long time friends mentioned Molly Hatchet's Flirtin' With Disaster in an app on Facebook and it reminded what happened to my copy.

I've talked before about my recreational drug use in a galaxy far, far away. One of my points was that people who do abuse drugs can actually have a good time - which seems to be something the just say no crowd glosses over. This story is one that is pretty funny now, but not so much at the time.

Smoking pot on a regular basis can be an expensive proposition, even back in the "good ol' days." So, anything that could get us off cheaply was something to at least be considered. Kansas had a fair amount of "ditchweed" growing in unlikely places. I think it's been pretty well eradicated these days, but back then, it could be found. The original strains were from varieties designed to grow hemp fibers, and it was a cash crop. Hemp fibers made good rope, but the THC (tetrahydrolcannabinol) levels were extremely low - and THC is the psychoactive substance that gets people high. The THC found in ditchweed is also inferior - supposedly there are quite a few different compounds, and some don't "work" as well. Also, supposedly, if low heat was judiciously applied, the lower compounds could be "boosted" to the more desirable varieties. At least this is what some of the ads for some pot treating equipment sold in High Times told us. Probably the same bunch that marketed fish carburetors or magnetic fuel line treaters.

So, here we are with a bunch of free pot that is mostly worthless lying around. About all one would get from smoking this stuff was a headache. What to do? What would a bunch of future capitalists and conservatives work out?

Enter the concept of hash oil. It is the resin extracted from hashish or marijuana, and it's in a manageable liquid form. Apparently it is also cut with molasses, since it always tasted sweet, and there is nothing sweet about mary jane. So, we needed a solvent. Alcohol works well, but we weren't too wild about denatured or wood alcohol - if we couldn't drink it, the idea of burning it and sucking down the fumes just didn't appeal to us. We might have been crazy, but we weren't completely stupid - well, maybe.

So we used Everclear. A test run was successful. I strained some weed with some Everclear, and cooked off the alcohol in a small foil container. It got us high - for about ten minutes. It was strong, too. We were sold. Production would commence.

So, we started processing in some buddies' house - we'll call them Luke and Bill (not their real names). We had a rather large supply of ditchweed - supplied with help from Gus (not his real name), and we stripped the leaves, seeds and such into coffee filters, which we folded over and stapled. The packets were placed in a cooking pan full of boiling everclear, and taken out when the resin was removed. More packets were placed in the solution, until it seemed fairly saturated. Cooking out the alcohol was the next step.

I didn't want to ruin the pan we were using, so I picked out a mayonnaise jar to use. You can probably tell where this is going, since mayo jars aren't usually made of Pyrex. I knew this, and compensated for it by using very low heat. We were using a gas stove, too. Nothing could possibly go wrong here. The process would take a lot longer, but the glass shouldn't break or the alcohol catch fire if the heat was kept low enough. Alcohol boils at a far lower temperature than water as well. I had the concoction mildly bubbling and went into the living room to relax.

Luke (not his real name) was not and is still not known for his patience. He, as one of the interested parties, arrived in the kitchen and decided the procedure could be sped up considerably if the heat was turned up a commiserate amount. More heat = less time waiting, or so he thought. He cranked the burner up to high, and the bubbling increased to his satisfaction.

I had been keeping a pretty close eye on the manufacturing process, checking every few minutes, so I happened to wander in the kitchen to hear Luke (not his real name) explain to me how he'd turned the fire up - it was just taking too long, and he'd dealt with it. It never occurred to him to check with me - the Evil Mastermind (not my real name) - if maybe - just maybe - I didn't have a good reason for the slower procedure.

I can only imagine what the expression on my face looked like - I'm quite sure extreme shock was part of it. At this time, the alcohol fumes suddenly lit on fire. I knew I had to get the jar away from the heat and get the fire out, so I grabbed a lid and some oven mitts. I put the lid on the jar, extinguishing the flames, and pulled the jar away from the stove -

only to have the pressure from the lid and the cracks suddenly appearing in the bottom of the jar combine to blow out the bottom of the jar all over the floor, which was tile and had a couple throw rugs that were drenched - and FOOM! The fumes ignited! The throw rugs were on fire. Luke (not his real name) and I started stomping the fires out with our feet, only to see our efforts wasted when we put out one section, the previously extinguished section ignited again. We were like chickens with our heads cut off clomping around that kitchen.

Remember Bill (not his real name)? He had his shit in one sock, as it were. When the conflagration began, he saw that our efforts would be useless. He also remembered that Luke (not his real name) had his dad's boat outside. Bill (not his real name) knew that boats have fire extinguishers, which he immediately ran out to retrieve, run back in, and put out the fire.

That dust was everywhere. It was in the cabinets. It was in the drawers. It was in other rooms. The stove's pilot lights were non functional. My Molly Hatchet album - on the turntable in the living room - was covered, and even after careful cleaning with my Diskwasher left serious pops and cracks in that side of the disk. My bangs, eyebrows, mustache and beard had been considerably trimmed. I was wearing a t-shirt with a big hole in the chest and belly, and the hairs underneath were scorched. The throw rugs were ruined.

But, the place didn't burn down.

I'll be emailing the link to this story to some of the players and associated characters of the day. This narrative has become something of a legend among us, and certain liberties by some tale tellers have been taken. However, I can assure you, as one of the main combatants that this scenario is the true version. Kids - don't you dare try this at home.

And Thanks Be to G_d for the statute of limitations.

Oh Yeah

Your results:
You are Malcolm Reynolds (Captain)

Malcolm Reynolds (Captain)
Zoe Washburne (Second-in-command)
Derrial Book (Shepherd)
Wash (Ship Pilot)
Inara Serra (Companion)
Kaylee Frye (Ship Mechanic)
Jayne Cobb (Mercenary)
Dr. Simon Tam (Ship Medic)
River (Stowaway)
A Reaver (Cannibal)
Honest and a defender of the innocent.
You sometimes make mistakes in judgment
but you are generally good and
would protect your crew from harm.

Click here to take the Serenity Personality Quiz

Hey, I'll take it as a compliment, even if it probably isn't true. I like Mal.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Big O, the CEO

It's not General Motors anymore - it's Government Motors. Wait till their cars still don't sell - then we'll have mandated vehicle purchasing. To save the taxpayers' investment.

Why not?