Saturday, July 31, 2010

Re Volting


If this could be any happier I'd puke. All we need now is lots of red banners waving and some videos of goose stepping soldiers with tanks and missile launchers. Government Motors indeed - they've got a Five Year Plan for us, and we've paid for it!

In case you haven't heard, the new Volt retails for $41,000. Base version, that is - the one with some goodies costs $45,000. The Nissan Leaf costs eight grand less. Buy Amerikan!

Or, buy a conventional dino burner - the Chevy Cruze is basically the Volt without the electrics, and it starts at around $17k to $23k for the fully optioned version.

The whole idea of electric cars and their advocates who think we should all be forced to switch over - or incentivised into buying into the idea has always put me in a sour mood. If the technology worked and the cost was competitive, there would be no need for such Machiavellian maneuvering. We as taxpayers have footed the bill to help bring this car out, and we'll still be on the hook for the DOE's plan to install 15,000 240 volt home charging stations - about 4,400 available to Volt "owners."

Even if we all ran right out and bought/leased Volts and their ilk - the products won't meet our needs:

The heart of the automobile (and of automobility) is its potential.

The automobile’s potential is its greatest secret—an open secret and yet, it often seems, a forgotten one. The big SUV in my garage may occasionally make a 10-mile trip to Walmart or 2-mile run to the volunteer fire station when the siren sounds. But it has the potential—the size, the power, the range—to take me, my friends, and our bicycles over the mountain to a distant bike trail, or 1,100 miles with a load of furniture and books to my son’s house in Florida.

A century ago, the gasoline-powered automobile revolutionized personal mobility. It did it so profoundly and swiftly as to make it a routine aspect of our daily lives. Wide-ranging mobility is so normal that many people, particularly in the anti-car crowd, have forgotten its importance. On whatever day you may happen to read this, Americans will travel 11 billion miles in their cars, going to work or to lunch with friends, shopping, visiting the doctor or dentist, picking up materials for a home project, transporting kids to soccer or a pet to the vet—compacting into a few hours tasks which, had they even been contemplated before the automobile, would have taken carefully planned days or weeks.

This marvelous potential, whether we use it a little or a lot, is woven deeply and invisibly into the fabric of our economy and of our lives. We Americans do not buy cars merely to get from point A to point B. We do not buy cars to meet average 20- to 40-mile-per-day travel expectations. We buy them with the idea that they can take us where and when we want to go, day or night, good weather or bad. What’s more, we buy them for their potential to carry not just ourselves but our families, friends, poker cronies, softball teammates, dogs and cats, antiques, tools, fishing rods, Avon deliveries, picnic lunches, easels and paints, Salvation Army donations, church bazaar cookies, saddles and tack, groceries, vacation paraphernalia, and whatever else we may dream of with some degree of comfort and safety across town or country. And, oh, yes, we might be dragging a boat or a couple of dirt bikes or a pony trailer behind us as well.

This powerful potential is at the crux of replacing internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles with electric vehicles (EVs). Can EVs ever develop the potential that ICE cars routinely deliver? This is not merely an issue of range, but range plus the sheer reserve power to carry real-life loads, deal with emergencies, and finesse the unexpected detour or delay.

I've been sitting on this article, kinda waiting for some inspiration to include it in a post. The stupid video above was just that. As they say, read the whole thing.

On the new Nissan Leaf:

Take, for instance, the case of the celebrated and much-anticipated (coming to the United States in December) Nissan Leaf EV, with its projected range of 100 miles. This car has been touted as a breakthrough on range for a “decent”-sized EV with seating for five. We cautioned recently that its 100-mile range might not be realistic. Now, one of Nissan’s top engineers has warned that the Leaf’s range may be reduced by as much as 40 percent under what most drivers think of as typical driving conditions. Hidetoshi Kadota, the Leaf’s chief engineer, says, for instance, that if you are driving in heavy traffic on a cold day and using your heater you should expect your range to drop to about 62 miles. And that is predicated on your driving at about 15 miles per hour. At higher speeds the range will presumably drop more.

If you happen to be driving on a very hot day, using your air conditioner, you should expect a range of 70 miles—if you keep your speed under 50 mph. But on a really nice day, when you don’t need either your heater or your air conditioner, you may be able to drive more than 130 miles in your Leaf, provided you cruise at a steady 38 mph. Kadota’s estimates not only contemplate speeds the vast majority of drivers would find laughably unacceptable, they are also apparently based on the Leaf with a single driver. No passengers. No noticeably heavy cargo.

This is not the potential most Americans expect in their cars. While in some quarters it may be exciting to contemplate even a theoretical 100-mile range, let’s put that in a little perspective. Here’s a headline from Motor World, January 15, 1914: “Ford To Build That Long Looked For Electric Car.” A subhead notes that the car “Will Employ Special 100-mile Edison Battery.” The article reveals that the great Thomas A. Edison “has been developing a battery especially for the purposes of the Ford electric and has succeeded so well that a 400-pound battery, capable of operating 100 miles without recharging, is assured.”

Well, history tells us nothing was assured about Edison’s battery or the Ford electric, which was never built. It is sobering to consider that after almost a century Nissan—with its $18,000 lithium-ion “sandwich” battery pack that weighs 660 pounds—is promising the same range that had been “assured” with the Edison battery, back before the First World War.

Electric cars just plain won't work for most of us. They might work as a second vehicle for those in certain circumstances, but any time some heavy lifting or unexpected extra miles or load on the motor might be encountered - forgeddaboutit.

Maybe I'm just a selfish Gaea hating knuckle dragger, but do y'all really think this thing would work for moi? I live twelve miles from the nearest town. I live forty five miles from my job. Of that forty five - over twenty are gravel. Do you really expect an electric car to be able to make the trip (one way now!) through mud and or snow? When the temps drop to below zero, do you really expect the batteries to perform as they would in their optimal temperature range - say around seventy or eighty degrees? How about when it's over one hundred during the summer? Can the motor pull the load on gravel and the air conditioner? With a load of groceries? Or would I have to limp it home and fire up the ol' gas guzzler to take an extra trip just to buy groceries or any other possible heavy item?

I can hear it now: "Oh, Jeffro - it's clear the electric car won't work for you - exceptions will be made." Exceptions will be made is something we hear all the time - you'll be exempt from that tax, your business won't be required to follow this safety standard, you don't have to report that income - whatever. It's bad policy. If it isn't good enough for everybody - it's bad social engineering - not that there is good social engineering. Loopholes are for the elites who write up this stuff, because they know and deserve better than the hoi polloi. For thee but not for me.

But Jeffro - if we don't pour cubic tax dollars into at least trying to find alternate energy resources for our transportation - where will we be?

What? Y'all don't think businesses and entrepreneurs over the world aren't trying to find the magic solution? You don't think battery manufacturers aren't working their butts off trying to make a better battery? You don't thing energy companies aren't spending their budgets away trying to find effective sources for our energy needs in the future? The people/companies who succeed will be friggin rich beyond their wildest dreams if they succeed. Conventional fuels from biomass? Workin' on it. Other forms of engines? All kinds of avenues covered. Even stuff like power loss over distances in electric lines is being studied. Any way to save a little. Capitalism tends to do these things if there is a demand, and there is a demand. So, government funding of some "green" initiatives can and does impede progress - because government can't read the future and by funding their pet projects - they are causing unfair competition for the other possibilities that just might work.

So, for now - you can pry my keys to my gas guzzling Z71 pickup from my cold, dead fingers.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Wild Kingdom


I don't remember seeing anything like this on Wild Kingdom with ol' Marlin Perkins. "Jim - eat some of that fruit to demonstrate it's destructive properties for us, will you?"

H/T Nunkle Kim

Monday, July 26, 2010

Better To Be Lucky Than Good

I got my Binder back for this week with a rebuilt air compressor - apparently that was another thing headed south. So, some of were tooling along west of Topeka when I saw a couple red lights suddenly appear on the dash. "Check Engine" and "Warning." Oooookaaay - the temps were all ok, air pressure up, oil pressure up - so we found a place to pull over. The plastic radiator reservoir has a couple of glass bubbles - the top one for full cold, the bottom (when clear) indicates it just might need a gallon or so of antifreeze. Both bubbles were clear. It took three gallons - I had two and a compadre had one. Looking around, we found the leak - a coolant hose going from the air compressor head back to the block. When replacing the compressor, the usual process is to clamp down on the hose with some vise grips to prevent leaking.

But, the hose was aged and didn't take that treatment very well, since it had a tiny split open. Luckily, we were close enough to the CAT dealer in Topeka to drive there and get it fixed. They had me on my way in under two hours. Thank you, God!

That shiny braided line just inside the regulator is the replacement - apparently rubber hoses have been deemed too weak for this application, and CAT has upgraded. While they were at it, the mechanic replaced the incoming line as well - that's the blue gel coated line on the head of the compressor.

I know that isn't even close to being a tornado, but clouds that do that crap will get your attention.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Eastbound and Down


This clip is really hilarious when you consider the current relationship between the drivers represented by their haulers - Carl Edwards in the 99, and Brad Keselowski in the 12. To say they have a rivalry would be an understatement. Maybe y'all remember hearing about the Atlanta race last year, when Edwards, upset by previous contact by Keselowski, deliberately took Brad out after spending 150 laps in the pits getting repairs (to gain points, which he sort of squandered right there). Carl got a three race suspension for that move, which sent Brad airborne, luckily without injuries (clearly it rang his bell). To be fair, Brad sent Carl airborne into the catch fence at Talledega - but it was racing for the win rather than revenge.

Then last week at Gateway in the Nationwide series, Carl spun Brad out, totaling Brad's car and several others as well. Brad had given Carl the "chrome horn" earlier in the lap - but he didn't knock Carl out. Believe me when I tell you that NASCAR talk radio was abuzz for several days over this controversy, even after Carl was fined points and money, plus put on probation for all NASCAR events for the rest of the year, and Brad on identical probation. Just about all the major players felt Carl took Brad out intentionally, and that his actions weren't just retaliation - it was escalation.

Well, you can see how I feel about the issue. Brad and Carl aren't afraid to mix it up, but Brad has shown restraint and better judgment. The general consensus is that it's ok to bump someone just enough to move 'em outta the way - but to put them into the wall - destroying their cars and several competitors behind the melee who had nothing to do with any of their problems is going too far.

So, when I saw this ESPN commercial - I had to laugh. It's beyond certain that this controversy is selling tickets and television time.

Friday, July 23, 2010

I'm Totally Ripping This Off

Chris - the Anarchangel - posted this today and I concur mightily:
Dawn Wells was WAY hotter than Tina Louise

Yes, she was. Something about all that girl next door in a midriff baring shirt and hot pants look made her seem far more accessible than the slinky evening gown wearing eye candy for millionaires. Not that you or me would get anywhere with her - but she'd at least talk to us. Ginger would require viewing your credit rating and cash balances. Then, if you passed that inspection, you might get to home plate.

Next up: Wilma or Betty? Marge Simpson or Peggy Hill? Betty or Veronica? Jane or Judy Jetson? Samantha Stephens or Jeannie?

To hell with shaving the whales or whirled peas, or even the latest crap from Washington, D.C. - this is what's bothering me. The ol' brain has finally turned to sludge, just like they like it.

Same As It Ever Was


Obama has sand in his vaseline.

H/T Ace of Spades

Thursday, July 22, 2010


I could give a rat's arse about the predictive ability of the invention. I'm all in on the selective destruction of brain tissue in order to control behavior. Oh, yeah!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Different Hood

Monday started out kinda crappy. I came in early just to clean out a valve on top of the air compressor on the Mighty Binder - it was leaking a bit and causing continuous cycling. The air dryer sounded like it was sizzling. Cleaning the valve would do the trick.

So, popping the cover found the little piston all gunked up. Cleaned 'er up, greased it up a bit and back together she went. The spring under the piston actually was able to put upward pressure on it.

But, it wouldn't pump up. So, I whacked the regulator. It started pumping, albeit slowly. Oh well, I could replace it later. But, it quit pumping again. Apparently the regulator is all crudded up, too. I needed to get going. So, it'was spare truck time. I spent about an hour moving the bare necessities from truck to truck - most of our "spare" trucks are pretty well ready to run with all the necessary equipment, so it wasn't that big a deal.

It's a Kenworth W900 - I think a 2005. I've mentioned before that KWs rule - they're just screwed together better and are on the whole far more quiet inside. They're not without faults - it seems most of ours have issues with the plastic dash moulding around the steering column rattling and squeaking. This one has a wad of paper towels stuffed into a crack. There is some pretty wicked wind noise from the passenger area. But, it's quiet enough inside to allow these things to be a bother, so there is that.

This pic is northbound US83 between Garden City and Scott City, Kansas. This little stretch epitomizes "flat." Everyone who travels between KC and Denver on I70 just think they've seen flat.

Speaking of east of Denver - here I am getting ready to blow the doors off a chicken hauler. Most of that particular brand are limited to speeds under sixty five.

We are not. Seventy five is the limit, so I wasn't speeding.

KW also has what they call the "Smart Wheel" as an option. The lower left buttons are for the cruise, and the lower right are for the compression brake - 0,2,4 or 6 cylinders on. When you're dropping down a mountain, having the jakes on full might slow you down more than you want. So, just cut back the braking cylinders. Ya don't have to keep reaching for a switch on the dash with the smart wheel.

Most of the rest of the gauges and switches. The Mighty Binder has most of these, but not all. I was parked in some road construction so you can see the flasher button is on. I don't like the idea of being rear ended in a construction zone.

So, the Mighty Binder has not been repaired - our mechanic is snowed under with other stuff. I can change out the regulator, but he also wants to replace the air filter in the air dryer - which is a pretty nasty job. More than this fat and lazy trucker wants to do on a weekend. So, I'm kinda like Brer Rabbit here - throw me in this briar patch! I like the 'ol Binder, and want it back, but I'm in no pain in this office, either!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

What Kind of Conservative Are You?

Quiz: What Kind of Conservative Are You?

My Conservative Identity:

You are an Anti-government Gunslinger, also known as a libertarian conservative or Tea Partier. You believe in smaller government, states’ rights, gun rights, and that, as Reagan once said, "The nine most terrifying words in the English language are, ‘I’m from the government and I’m here to help.’"

Take the quiz at Political Humor

Dale Earnhardt, Chuck Norris and The Nuge on Mount Rushmore? Awesome!

H/T SondraK

Hot Out?

Yes. It's hot out. Yesterday I had to wear my fire retardant coveralls at a site - some companies require that kind of clothing, along with hard hats, safety glasses, steel toed boots, H2S monitors, leather gloves, safety harnesses - well, you get the idea. Tomorrow - more of the same. They're really pretty comfortable - when it's cooler. Oh well. Gives me something to bitch about.

Monday, July 19, 2010


The first part of last week found several of us headed to a site southwest of Rhame, ND with some 15'6" diameter tanks. Which makes us around seventeen feet tall. Not the easiest thing to fit under overpasses and such. The routes the states give us with our permits rarely let us drive the shortest distance in the first place, but when loads get this large, it gets even worse. However, we do get to see some more country than we normally do.

This is US83 dropping into Pierre SD - the capital city. Actually, our trucks do go through there quite a bit.

I'm sure Jinglebob is quite familiar with this view. We're getting ready to take a roller coaster ride.

The grade has to be at least six percent or more - rarely does one see a drop this far that is that straight. Most major elevation changes are accompanied by lots of curves and switchbacks.

I rolled 'er through in the "extra overdrive" hole, but she's still pulling down big time about here. And it will get worse so I'll be dropping a bunch of gears.

We're all parked at the intersection of SD34 and SD73 - at Howes, SD. There is a little gas station/post office/convenience store located there that also sells a highly valuable commodity- BEER! In the picture of the rear view of the loads you can see a rod bent over the top of the tank. It's held there under tension by a long wire tied to the rear of the trailer, as well as the front (you can see the shadow on my load). This is a "kicker stick." The idea is if we pass under a line of some kind that droops a tad low, we won't snag it passing under. The wire will "ride" the kicker stick over the top. If we run into a line that does give us trouble, our pilot vehicles carry extension poles to lift it up to help us under. Our pilots also have to run a "height pole" mounted to their vehicle set slightly higher than the load - so if they pass under something and hit it with their pole, we are alerted that there may be a problem.

We've been getting a lot of orders for these larger tanks lately, so much that our supply of trailers designed to haul them was in short supply. So, new trailers were ordered and this is an example. These puppies are low riders fer sure. You can see how little clearance there really is. When we pull these, we really have to watch for situations that may hang one of these up - certain railroad crossings are pretty "humpy" and they'll stop us in a heartbeat. One does not want to be hung up on a railroad crossing and not be aware of the schedule for through trains. But, that's never happened - we generally end up taking the same routes over and over and there are not too many places we have trouble. Crappy dirt parking lots at truck stops probably give us the biggest problems.

Another thing that is different about these new trailers we're getting is the belly radius. Technically, these are double drop flatbeds with a dished out well. We've got a couple of older extendable double drop trailers that are pretty heavy, and they're radiused for twelve foot diameter tanks. When we load the larger tanks, this is what happens:

Don't you just love my mad MSPaint skilz! The red arc represents the twelve foot radius of the trailer with a sixteen foot tank (blue circle) sitting on it. See how it doesn't nestle in to the trailer? It just rides on the edges. This really isn't that much of a problem - most of our competitors use trailers without the sheeting so the support for the tanks is all on the trailer rails - but we want our tanks to be supported more firmly and also allow them to drop lower for better clearance. It may only be a few inches, but when the height is in the seventeen foot range - every inch helps. It may mean not having to go a hundred miles out of our way to clear some structure. I was permitted for 16'10" - so the actual height was probably a tad lower. These trailers don't extend, and the support areas are fixed where different height tanks will ride. So, they are lighter than our older warriors.

Aaand, after unloading, I caught a shot of a private buffalo herd. There's a couple herds close to home, too, but it was still cool seeing them here as well. They are still shedding winter coats and look pretty ragged. Big, tough and ragged. Not a bad way to be.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

I Had No Idea

I write like
Chuck Palahniuk

I Write Like by Mémoires, Mac journal software. Analyze your writing!

I Write Like by Mémoires, Mac journal software. Analyze your writing!

I write like
Cory Doctorow

I Write Like by Mémoires, Mac journal software. Analyze your writing!

Lawdog just posted about the new "toy" floating around the blogosphere - I've seen it but hadn't tried it until today. It's a program that analyzes snippets of your writing to see who your writing style resembles. I Write Like can take whole blog posts cut and pasted - and it's interesting. So far, I've gotten Chuck Palahniuk twice, Corey Doctorow twice, and David Foster Wallace five times. Guess we've got a winnah!

Unfortunately, I've read none of these authors, so I guess they haven't rubbed off on me in a steal their writing style sort of way.

Check it out and tell me who you write like!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Karma. Sometimes It Bites You In The Buttocks

I'd spent the night at Colby - I was within thirty minutes of running out of hours, so it was time to stop for this tubby trucker. The next morning the Mighty Binder was kinda needing some extract de dinosaur (super light oil category), aka Motion Lotion - so I tooled on over to Bosselmans. While fueling, a guy came up to me and asked if I could do him a favor. This usually turns into money or a ride somewhere - generally I'll do neither. Panhandlers - nope, and gotta have permission from the boss for each and every rider. Plus, my passenger floorboard is filled with luggage, laptop bag, a couple of coats, a tool set - well, over the road in a day cab means said day cab is full of stuff. No room for passengers or much of anything else.

So, I told him it depended on what it was. He informed me his truck wouldn't start and it needed a jump - he had the cables all hooked up and just needed a volunteer.

This, I will do. Been in the same boat. Pay it forward and all. So, after I filled up and got my receipt (very very important, those receipts), I pulled around to where he had his rig parked and pulled beside him - battery box to battery box. The cover comes off far easier if I extend the outrigger just a bit, so I threw the PTO in gear, idled the motor up, stepped out and extended said outrigger and removed the lid.

We hooked his cables up and just stood there bee essing for a while - truck to truck jumping can take a while at times. After about fifteen minutes or so, he gave it a try and his wagon fired right up. We bundled everything up and I was off to the races.

So, I was headed for the house and had most of the morning and all of the afternoon available for the odd tinkering jobs I might need to get done. Actually, I just had the morning because it's too damn hot in the afternoons lately. At any rate, I had Done My Good Deed For The Day, I was pretty full of myself, and Things Were Looking Up.

One of the projects was a new windshield. Only a couple of months old, the current glass was cracked in such a manner to really excite a DOT inspector, but not in a good way for moi. So, I got on the horn to my supervisor to discuss this development. He, understandably, wasn't tickled about a new one so soon after just having one installed. I offered to MMS a pic to him so he could see it. Well, that was a great idea right there. That was my mission.

Capturing the cracks so they could be seen on the small screen of a phone proved to be somewhat problematic. I took several and none of them satisfied me. I was really concentrating on getting a good shot when I realized I was drifting out of my lane into the fast channel. With large SUV beside me. I came back to the real world and swerved back into my lane. They were extremely unhappy with me - I could hardly blame them. Clearly my head was located somewhere south of where the sun don't shine. I pantomimed smacking my head with my palm - I felt pretty small and sorry. Here I'm supposed to be the consummate professional driver, and I can't even keep it between the lines. Frankly, I'm surprised my boss didn't hear about it from them. There was no one else to blame - it was all me.

So, I dropped down to sixty five from seventy - they were speeding as they passed me, not that it matters. I let a clot of traffic get by, then attempted the picture thang again, which the above is the result. It got sent and I've got a new windshield. I'll be cleaning little flakes of glass from odd spots in the dashboard for a week, but the DOT types won't want to park me - for that offense. I'm sure a determined go getter could find something wrong. It just doesn't pay to ignore the obvious stuff, and a pair of cracks like that kinda stands right out.

Just goes to show ya, I guess. I went from a legend in my own mind to a skulking knuckle dragger of ill repute in just a few moments. Hero to zero in five point seven seconds. Life certainly has a way of doing that, fer sure.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Morons. Every Stinking Day. Morons.

Arriba, CO, shadowed by a nasty thunderstorm to the east.

Closer to Seibert - combines on the horizon rush to beat the rains. Perhaps the storm has missed them. They won't stop until it's absolutely necessary.

Now it's raining, and my windshield is clean again. Oh, and my windshield wipers are on the fast setting - that's not a pic of rain building up with them off. I just happened to catch them between wipes. Traffic was moving from about thirty to forty five mph. You can just barely see the line of traffic parked on the shoulder - too scared to go on.

NOTE: That is a very stupid and unsafe move - if you are caught in a storm and are too afraid to keep moving, get to the next exit ANYWAY and GET OFF THE INTERSTATE. Parked vs. vehicles moving at speed is a bad mix. If you are so unsure of your driving ability that this scenario presents itself in your life several times, perhaps GETTING OFF THE INTERSTATE AT AN EARLIER EXIT might be conducive to saving your life and limbs, to wait the storm out.

Of course, this requires critical thinking, which by definition is in short supply when the practitioner parks on the side of a very busy interstate rather than exiting. Your dog needs to walk, poop and pee? By all means, park on the paved shoulder. Don't be bothered by all the traffic that tries to move over to keep from hitting your dumb ass if you wander out in traffic. Need to switch drivers? Why, nothing beats that narrow strip of macadam over on the right - you can just barely park off the white line - people move over for you and give you room. Sometimes. So open that driver's side door into traffic - nothing bad will happen. Natural selection doesn't apply to you, after all. And, if it's storming - hey - those overpasses? They're handy temporary shelters to keep your ride from getting pounded by hail. Better to cause an accident where your car is totaled and you and your loved ones are killed outright by getting rear ended than suffer a few hail dents.

You'd think the supposed "knights of the road" would be better, but some of those mouth breathers have no clue either. I've seen idiots parked just past the exit on the shoulder - they obviously shut it down in time to make the exit, but chose to park next to the busiest lane on the big road. Since it takes them longer to reach merging speed - hey, just be a traffic hazard for a while even after ya get movin.' Rather than use the exit and the onramp to build speed to merge. Yer certainly "special" in a short bus kinda way.

After seeing all this stuff, when I came upon an accident scene - in the oncoming traffic - I was primed. A farmer or harvester had been towing a draper header when the very strong crosswinds blew it over - wheels akimbo in the sky. It was spread out in the median and angled out into the left lane, and traffic was backed up.

I just absolutely hate what happens on the CB radio when these incidents occur. Everyone is on the radio - "WTF happened? What lane to we need to be in? Is traffic moving? Is it shut down?" All of those are reasonable questions, but what gets under my skin is someone will take the time to explain what has happened and give directions, then some idiot breaks in wanting to know just WTH is going on. Had they had their radio on and their mouth shut, it was just explained about five freaking times previously - but they were too wrapped up in what they were doing instead of paying attention, and now want immediate gratification. Lately, the radios have really been "carrying" so a half assed unit can pick up conversations from miles away. So, no excuses except the head up the arse variety. Any of the nine million times I've been caught in a jam - just keeping quiet and listening got me more information than just butting in and proving myself a fool.

So, I was in listening mode - my side was moving, albeit slowly. The westbound traffic was questioning their role in life and the great scheme of things, but it seemed they were getting no answers. So, Good Samaritan that I am, I broke my personal radio silence with the needed information. I always - always - try to keep it short and sweet. If you spin a tale, people won't wait and will try to walk over you to ask you further details. Which I can't hear if I'm keyed up. Doesn't matter to the more dain bramaged among us - logic rarely prevails.

So, I mentally composed a short, concise and informative statement that had all the information necessary to inform the oncoming traffic of the situation and the actions they had open to them.
A draper header on a trailer turned over in the median and has the left lane partially blocked. Traffic is moving.
This answered What happened? Is the road closed? And What Should I Do? Obviously, the left lane is blocked and traffic is moving. The left lane and the median are blocked. It is raining buckets, so any off road excursions would not be advised. This leaves the right lane. This is all logical. My first mistake.
But, driver - what lane do we need to be in?
I paused for a second, pondering just what kind of idiot would ask that. I decided to pour fuel on the fire - I'm not very tolerant of fools much anymore.
WTF? Are you deaf? The left lane is blocked!!!

Well, you DIDN'T say what lane we all need to be in - smarta$$. Do I need to take the left lane?

Jesus, driver - are you that f#@%ing dumb? The left lane is blocked, what lane does that leave? Use your head!

Well, I dunno - you didn't say. Maybe we need to be in the left lane. Maybe we need to drive through the median. You didn't tell me what lane to be in.
OK. I've just run into Radio Rambo - who deliberately argues just for the sake of argument. He'll defend his reasoning no matter how unsupported his arguments may be or how stupid he sounds. Arguing just for the sake of arguing. Radio Rambos are always tough behind the mike, but if called out - they won't stop to defend their point of view with more than just their anonymous mouth. Kinda like internet trolls - I'm sure they're cousins if not the same breed.

At this point, the CB erupted with other drivers jumping in. Most were on "my side."
If you are really that stupid, drive in the median or left lane for all I care.
I heard a driver tell me I was wasting my time trying to argue with an idiot like that. It didn't matter how logical my information was - the guy was an idiot and not worth my time.

Best advice I had all day.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

The Fortune Cookie Message

You will take a pleasant journey to a place far away.

Orlly? Pleasant is good. This tubby trucker likes "pleasant."

Wednesday, July 14, 2010


Ladies: Just in case you're curious what would make a perfect day for a guy - well, here it is! Y'all can thank me later.

H/T Nuckle Kim

Monday, July 12, 2010

Long Day

Whew. Got up at two thirty. It's about eleven pm now. Gotta get up at five am.

I think I'll put off posting anything til later.

Have a good one, y'all!

Friday, July 09, 2010

I Heard It In The Alley On A Weird Radio*

I gotta have satellite radio. It's not just an option, it's a requirement. Yeah, I could carry a ton of CD's or put them all on an iPod or some such, and hook it up to the radio in the Mighty Binder, but that sounds like work. Besides, I like the NASCAR channel - that ain't gonna work with terrestrial radio supplemented with a large amount of memory. And, there is no FM to speak of in some of the areas I go. Cruise around northwestern North Dakota sometime, if you don't believe me. If you enjoy Indian chants - drive on up to New Town - there's a station there that has a program devoted to just that subject. It's the only thing on the dial, too. So, SiriusXM is it, baybee.

There is a drawback to the music channels - they do use a limited playlist, and if you listen long enough there will be a considerable amount of repeats. I tend to listen long enough to start back through the rotation and switch to something else when it comes to the extensive music channels available. Too bad I can only stand about four or five of them....

Anyways, if ya drop in on them once in a while, you'll get a new playlist with some different selections from before. Such was the case yesterday.


Eeeegads I hadn't heard this song or this group for an eon or so. Honestly, I really don't remember anything about Zebra, but a trip to Wikipedia does enlighten somewhat. Musical talent? I have none. Just know what I like, and this tune fits right in.

Zebra also charted with "Tell Me What You Want", and there are a few brain cells left that retain a memory of that tune as well. Good song, but this one is better.

*From the lyrics to this tuneage:


Just the music you need when you are in a car over the lake.

Quote of the Day

“The real communication networks have to be 24/7,” Ms. Goldway said. “The Postal Service in fact should be expanding its accessibility and delivery capability to meet those needs. The long-term future of the Postal Service may be limited by their interest in reducing service today.”

I've posted before about the ol' Post Office, since I used to work for that august agency a while back. The last post discussed the possible curtailing of Saturday deliveries, and why I thought it was a bad idea - mostly because postal management is blowing smoke up our kiesters.

The Postal Regulatory Commission is set to hold hearings on July 12 on the subject and to submit recommendations (which basically means the USPS will get marching orders) on rates and future plans. Major mailers have geared up to argue their cases for or against ending delivery on Saturday.

But I really, really like the quote above from Ruth Y. Goldway, chairwoman of the regulatory commission. She just boiled the future of the USPS down in a nutshell.

If Postal Management gets their way, they've basically assured the long term dissolution of the Service. This should be an opportunity to position themselves for the future, rather than clinging to past strategies. Doing it "the way we've always done it" is comforting and maybe even secure for some of them short term, but it will be the death of the USPS in the long run. There will be cries to cut service even more to relieve the budget, because of lower revenues caused by crummier service. There will be no investment in new tech or even maintaining what they have because there won't be enough money. New strategies would require new attitudes from management and the unions - past practices ain't cuttin' it, people. Both sides need to grow a pair or three.

My 'ol Daddy (God rest his soul) used to say (and I hear him with his nuggets of wisdom daily, believe me) "Either piss or get off the pot." It's that time for the USPS.

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Through The Buggy Winders

North of Killdeer, ND on ND22 - you can see for miles, I'm tellin' ya.

The road started winding around and hey - big ol' hole coming up.

Starting down and the vista is opening up.

To the left.

To the right. At this point the road dropped into the Little Missouri River valley with a seven percent grade and a few tight turns, so I had my hands full.

Climbing out of the valley.

Into farm country - a field of mustard. It had been a while since the last time through here - and I'm not sure I've been up here at the start of summer. Lots of prairie hay being swathed and baled - even the ditches get baled up. The whole country is green, the cattle look fat and healthy, and the winter wheat looks good - it's still nearly a month away (I think).

I like this country in the summer. Winter? Not so much. But it's sure purdy when it's green, and the terrain is rugged and wild in spots. I guess I've got some farmer/stockman left in my blood.

My job takes me to quite a few different areas of the country, and lots of it is impressive in it's own right. For instance, the Ozarks are something to see. The Rockies are certainly grand and imposing. Utah is wild, stony and lonesome. Texas - well, it's a whole 'nother country - Amarillo has little in common with Houston. Palm trees, roadrunners and armadillos.

You can keep your big cities. The DFW complex, Houston, Denver, St. Louis, Chicago, Atlanta - you can keep 'em all. KC, Indy, OKC, Omaha, Des Moines - at least they're bearable.

Give me the open country.

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

There Is NO Missing Link

As far as men go, at any rate. We've never changed. We might be Y mutants, but we're consistent across the board with the genetic behavior!

H/T Road Pig

OMG!!! What Does It Meeeeeeeeeaaaaaan!


Maybe, just maybe, perhaps - it just might mean he's peaking on some reeeaaaaaaaally primo Vitamin A with a bit o' Marin County's finest thrown in. Duuuude! Have a beer and slow down! Eat a Twinkie!

H/T Ace

Monday, July 05, 2010

More Power!!!

Bwaaa haaa haaa haaa haaa!

From TTAC (the pic, too):
78 liters of displacement, 18 cylinders, 12 turbocharges(sp) and a tame 3,500 hp and 10,300 lb-ft of torque make for one mean Mini. Well, it would if it actually worked. Instead, this will probably just be on static display at this year’s Goodwood Festival of Speed. Fun fact: the engine alone weighs about 15 times what an original Mini did.
Of course this thing is just for static display - it's obviously a shell of a stretched Mini built around the motor:

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There are none of the associated systems to allow this thing to even move present - such as a radiator or transmission. I suspect the tires would blow out if they had to bear that weight. It sure looks cool, though.

This motor is designed to power the big mining dump trucks

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Well, maybe not quite like that one. But ya get the idea. Just for reference, the C15 Cat in my truck is 15.1L, six cylinders, two turbos and 550hp. This thing would no more fit under the hood of my truck as it fits the "bed" of the Mini. Damn.

V18? With straight pipes? It wouldn't just rattle windows with the Jake on - it would break 'em. With some sort of hydrostat or CVT I'd win all the stoplight drags. Pass everything but the diesel pumps!

Sunday, July 04, 2010

Another Take on the Fourth

I really didn't have much to say about the Fourth of July in the post below, and it shows. After looking around the ol' blogosphere, I gotta say what LeeAnn had to say in her post: Happy 4th of July, Pilgrim pretty well blew everyone else out of the water.

USA! Hell Yeah!

The Fourth of July

Danae celebrates the Fourth in her usual understated way.

This made me laugh in a sardonic way.

Zits is probably my favorite comic, just because of strips like this one. No dialogue here, and emotions captured and caricatured perfectly.

Have a great Fourth of July, everyone.
When, in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the laws of nature and of nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. That whenever any form of government becomes destructive to these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shown that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such government, and to provide new guards for their future security. --Such has been the patient sufferance of these colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former systems of government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute tyranny over these states. To prove this, let facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his assent to laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.

He has forbidden his governors to pass laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.

He has refused to pass other laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of representation in the legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.

He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.

He has dissolved representative houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.

He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the legislative powers, incapable of annihilation, have returned to the people at large for their exercise; the state remaining in the meantime exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.

He has endeavored to prevent the population of these states; for that purpose obstructing the laws for naturalization of foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migration hither, and raising the conditions of new appropriations of lands.

He has obstructed the administration of justice, by refusing his assent to laws for establishing judiciary powers.

He has made judges dependent on his will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.

He has erected a multitude of new offices, and sent hither swarms of officers to harass our people, and eat out their substance.

He has kept among us, in times of peace, standing armies without the consent of our legislature.

He has affected to render the military independent of and superior to civil power.

He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his assent to their acts of pretended legislation:

For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:

For protecting them, by mock trial, from punishment for any murders which they should commit on the inhabitants of these states:

For cutting off our trade with all parts of the world:

For imposing taxes on us without our consent:

For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of trial by jury:

For transporting us beyond seas to be tried for pretended offenses:

For abolishing the free system of English laws in a neighboring province, establishing therein an arbitrary government, and enlarging its boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule in these colonies:

For taking away our charters, abolishing our most valuable laws, and altering fundamentally the forms of our governments:

For suspending our own legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.

He has abdicated government here, by declaring us out of his protection and waging war against us.

He has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burned our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.

He is at this time transporting large armies of foreign mercenaries to complete the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of cruelty and perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the head of a civilized nation.

He has constrained our fellow citizens taken captive on the high seas to bear arms against their country, to become the executioners of their friends and brethren, or to fall themselves by their hands.

He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavored to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian savages, whose known rule of warfare, is undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these oppressions we have petitioned for redress in the most humble terms: our repeated petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have we been wanting in attention to our British brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, enemies in war, in peace friends.

We, therefore, the representatives of the United States of America, in General Congress, assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the name, and by the authority of the good people of these colonies, solemnly publish and declare, that these united colonies are, and of right ought to be free and independent states; that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the state of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as free and independent states, they have full power to levy war, conclude peace, contract alliances, establish commerce, and to do all other acts and things which independent states may of right do. And for the support of this declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes and our sacred honor.

New Hampshire: Josiah Bartlett, William Whipple, Matthew Thornton

Massachusetts: John Hancock, Samual Adams, John Adams, Robert Treat Paine, Elbridge Gerry

Rhode Island: Stephen Hopkins, William Ellery

Connecticut: Roger Sherman, Samuel Huntington, William Williams, Oliver Wolcott

New York: William Floyd, Philip Livingston, Francis Lewis, Lewis Morris

New Jersey: Richard Stockton, John Witherspoon, Francis Hopkinson, John Hart, Abraham Clark

Pennsylvania: Robert Morris, Benjamin Rush, Benjamin Franklin, John Morton, George Clymer, James Smith, George Taylor, James Wilson, George Ross

Delaware: Caesar Rodney, George Read, Thomas McKean

Maryland: Samuel Chase, William Paca, Thomas Stone, Charles Carroll of Carrollton

Virginia: George Wythe, Richard Henry Lee, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Harrison, Thomas Nelson, Jr., Francis Lightfoot Lee, Carter Braxton

North Carolina: William Hooper, Joseph Hewes, John Penn

South Carolina: Edward Rutledge, Thomas Heyward, Jr., Thomas Lynch, Jr., Arthur Middleton

Georgia: Button Gwinnett, Lyman Hall, George Walton

Source: The Pennsylvania Packet, July 8, 1776

Saturday, July 03, 2010

Finally, He Wins One

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Dale Earnhardt Jr. Wins at Daytona! In a Nationwide race, at any rate. It's his first win in that series in four years. This one is special, even if it did break a drought.

Junior was driving a "tribute" car - it was to remember his father at Daytona, where Sr. was considered a master - he only won the big one once, but he won a ton of support races over the years there. Sr. excelled at plate races, period. Wrangler and Earnhardt Sr. had a relationship that started before Sr. landed in the #3 for Richard Childress. So, even before the iconic black Goodwrench cars - Sr. had Wrangler for a sponsor. And, back to Daytona - of course that is where Dale Sr. lost his life.

In order for the tribute car to happen, JR Motorsports (Junior's Nationwide team), Richard Childress Racing, and Theresa Earnhardt had to get together to sign off on the whole idea. Which was an accomplishment in and of itself - if you remember the frosty relationships between certain parties involved. Another big deal is the fact that this is the debut of the new "Car of Tomorrow" for the Nationwide series - so everyone was in brand new cars that are considerably different than the "old" cars. This means past data on setups and such are bupkis - the Nationwide cars are dissimilar enough from the Cup cars that data from that series isn't completely applicable, either.

Aaand, just for old times sake - Junior's crew chief for this race was Tony Eury, Jr. - his crew chief for years until he was replaced by Rick Hendrick during Junior's race winning drought.
"I was so worried that I wasn't going to win, 'cause nothing but a win would get it-for everybody," Earnhardt said after getting hugs from Childress, crew chief Tony Eury Jr. and a multitude of others in victory lane. "If we didn't win, what a waste of time. ...

Can you say "Junior had a LOT of pressure on him for this race?" I knew you could. He has enough pressure just being the son of the Intimidator, much less actually driving the number three.
Earnhardt reiterated that he will never run the No. 3 again. He insists it's not his number.

"I don't ever want to do it again and I won't ever change my mind," he said.


The race definitely had some storybook moments. Junior started third, but found his way to the lead by lap number three, when the crowd all stood and held up three fingers. Detractors of NASCAR often claim the action is scripted. I would go so far as to say perhaps the fellow competitors "allowed" the lead change to happen, much like they would allow a teammate to take the lead to gain the five bonus points for leading a race, and then taking the lead back.

Junior faded for a while, but he stayed in the top ten for most of the race and out of trouble. He did work his way to the front in the waning laps and managed to keep the lead after some late cautions bunched the field. The race went into "overtime" and finished under the "green/yellow checkered flag." Joey Logano pushed him to the victory:
"I want to win races … but it was pretty cool to see the 3 back in victory lane," Logano said. "I probably gained a lot of fans by pushing the No. 3 to victory but I'd much rather be in victory lane."

Logono tried to get a run on the 3 car, but his car just didn't have it. Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (in a COT Ford Mustang, which looks pretty damn cool, if you ask me) finished in third - perhaps if he and Logano had worked together more effectively, they could have gotten by the 3, but Junior drove a pretty wide car, too.

So, conspiracy theories aside, Dale Earnhardt Jr. can still drive a race car and win. Lots of people seem to have forgotten that.