Sunday, December 23, 2007

Merry Christmas

Beware of the Camryn Manheim Steamroller.

Should We Trash Da Earf (the Earth)?

I thought since I've written two anti-environmentalist rants that I ought to clear up where I stand. This is a touchy subject and one that's filled several books. I'll try to cut to the chase.

I mostly take the classical view that mankind is the custodian of the Earth. God created it for us to live on and take care of. It's our home, we belong here, and we ought to keep the place tidy. At the same time, the Earth should not be an object of worship. It is not the reason we came to be, it's the other way around. I would say the environmentalist movement as we know it has that equation reversed. In addition to believing that the Earth and it's ecosystems are static and never change they tend to believe half a dozen doomsday theories; the oceans are rising, average temperatures are rising, the ozone layer is disappearing, there are too many people, we leave too many lights on at night, etc. I tend to believe this is panic resulting from the belief that we're in control and we don't belong in nature and deserve punishment for what we've done.



Global Warming

In reality the Earth is a complex and dynamic place, one that God created and still has a hand on. Using geology as reference point there were warming periods in the 1300's when there were a fraction of the number of people there are now and there weren't any SUV's. That's just one reference point. There are many others and the only conclusion one can come to is the Earth is constantly changing. Environmentalists seem to believe that whatever the climate was like around the world in the 1950's is the way it's always been and should always be. Any changes whatsoever are harmful and we caused it. Both of those premises are false. Neither has been proven and more and more people are calling this into question. Just see this story for example.

Recycling
I'm for recycling where it makes sense from an efficiency standpoint. Why throw away things that are hard to recreate, especially when they can be reused? The less metal ore we have to pull out of the ground, the better for several reasons but mainly because we could spend that time and energy doing something else. I always take steel, iron, copper, aluminum, etc to the metal recycler or junkyard. I've dropped off thousands of pounds, actually. There are increasingly monetary motivations for this and it just makes sense to me. Ditto on batteries of all kinds. It'll take a billion years for that stuff to break down in a landfill and we'll have to mine more in the meantime. It can be reused so don't throw it out.

On the automotive front, I drive whatever car I want to but I always dispose of oil, antifreeze, and old gas properly by taking it to the county household hazmat site. They or whoever they hire recycle the chemicals where possible or dispose of them in a methodical way. Dumping that stuff into the sewer makes 0% of it recoverable and makes processing wastewater and sewage more expensive. Dumping it on the ground directly pollutes the water table and damages the soil. It's so easy to avoid so why do it? Auto parts stores also have to collect used oil by law (not entirely bad legislation but that's a different post) so that's convenient as well.

Littering
I actually littered when I was in a hurry the other day (missed my trashcan shot at Sonic) and it bothered me enough that I stopped back by to see if the bag was still there. It wasn't. Anyway, littering is so preventable and really dirties up the landscape. It's pure carelessness. People who litter are slobs at best.

Smog
Smog is nasty stuff to look at and causes health problems. I'm all for emissions standards but do think this has gotten out of hand due to global warming fears. Our EPA has become so aggressive with emissions standards that they have regulated diesel engines off the map for future production. They will only be used when they really need to be which means big trucks only. Near as I can tell VW doesn't sell a TDI version of any of it's cars any more.

Industrial Pollution

Anybody still reading this? Yes, businesses should take every precaution not to dirty up the environment. Yes, I think there aren't necessarily market drivers for this and therefore we need the EPA. But I don't think we should strangle business with over regulation and this is the tendency at the moment. This topic begs specifics but could probably also be it's own post.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

World's Smallest Car

TWFT

And now for your viewing pleasure...

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

A Modest Proposal (Warning: Crudeness Ahead)



I think we're quickly reaching the point where I cease to be surprised by what odd ideas people come up with in the name of saving da Earf. I'm talking about the boat that's powered by your ass.

Check out this article from the Daily Mail, the gift that keeps on giving.

Some New Zealanders have decided to navigate the globe in a boat powered by biodiesel, some of which was made from human fat harvested from liposuction surgeries. I've got no beef with biodiesel (ha!) but the source of the biodiesel just sounds odd to me. There are easier places to get better sources of bio-sourced oil. Why did they bother doing this? I think it reveals something about how Earf-first people think.

In their minds mankind has sinned by raping and pillaging the Earf and therefore mankind must be punished.

What better metaphor for that than devising an eco-friendly machine that actually runs on human flesh? I honestly think that may have been a sub-conscious motivation because seriously, there can't be that much human fat available worldwide to actually make this a useful experiment. But there are simple, low cost ways to get more human fat if we act as one world society... as a planet UNITED for a just cause. If the women like the one in the last Daily Mail article were to have late term abortions repeatedly throughout their reproductive lives--what, it's not a baby, you conservative simpleton! It's just a clump of cells that the woman has a RIGHT to choose to keep or discard before 9 months' time! Anyway, if those cells were harvested a week or two before birth there would be plenty of fat available from both the would-be mom and the b- er... ah... 'choice'. If every eco-conscious woman of birthing age did the right thing and sacrificed for the global community we could cease importing oil from the middle east in 12 years. Just think of it! We could immediately end this unjust war in Iraq!

Does anyone else remember 'A Modest Proposal' by Jonathan Swift?

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Nooooo.... Yay..........

While we're watching tv commercials, this has to be the best tv spot currently in circulation.

Mikey and His Tricked-Out Vip

Okay, I know this isn't fresh but it's just about the best commercial I've ever seen. Therefore I think you should watch it.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Will it Blend?

Okay, enough Beyonce-hating. Now we'll move on to iPhone hating. I don't really hate iPhone's. Their usefulness is readily apparent. I do know a person or two that has had software issues with their iPhone though. I also don't like that you can only use them on AT&T's low-quality network. I'm glad other people are paying the big bucks to own these things though. A few years from now the product should be pretty well refined and much cheaper at which point I'll swoop down and grab one. Remember when Motorola Razr's were $250? I do. Now they're drink coasters. Same thing should happen in maybe 3-4 years with the iPhone.

Anyway, I thought this series of videos was interesting. It's basically an ad for some high-end blenders. Very entertaining though.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

No More Beyonce, Please

Am I the only one that longs to see the red laser dot of a sniper rifle right between Beyonce's eyes?



I admit I've probably been watching too much TV lately, but I don't seem to be able to get away from her annoying presence. She pimps American Express (et tu?), Revlon, Verizon, Cox Communications, and that's just what I can remember off the top of my head. Enough, Beyonce. Go away. Give someone else a turn, you endorsement hog.

Oh no you dih-ant!

Sunday, December 2, 2007

My Favorite New Sport

WARNING: This video contains English people cursing. It's quite funny but wholly inappropriate for viewing in an office cube farm or around kids.

Simmer Down Now

Don't worry, I'm safe again. The anger has subsided and I've transformed back into Dr David Banner. I go through more purple pants this way...

[For those of you >40 or of the female gender, this is an Incredible Hulk reference.]

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Paypal Sucks


PayPal is a big steaming pile of dog crap. If this weren't a mostly PG-rated blog, I'd say much worse. I'd suggest to them several inappropriate things they could do to my person, their collective genitals, and their mothers. I'd also cancel my account. But since PayPoop is pretty much the only game in Ebay town I would only be screwing myself because I have a lot of stuff to buy and sell (anyone need a spare right rear drive hub assembly for an '84-'87 Corvette?).

I'll try to keep this rant short. Some jackass in Pakistan stole my PayAlot login and bought $200 worth of stuff a couple of months ago. I don't have a clue how he got the info; could have been a key logger virus, could have infiltrated the PayCrap site; I don't know. He bought a professional wrestling Xbox game, a cellphone, and some miscellaneous little crap. Luckily he attempted to change my password at that point and was unable to answer the security questions which automatically locked up the account. So I get an email from PayDork. Not a phone call, not a letter, just an email. This leads me to believe that PayAlot does not take identity theft very seriously.

Being somewhat panicked I decide I need to talk to a person rather than emailing what may be a brick wall. After navigating their automated phone line (not toll free) I prove I am who I say I am and officially dispute the charges.

PayAlot begins their slow 'resolution' process which includes verifying another payment I made locally to someone for car parts. That transaction is being held hostage until all the other transactions are rectified. After several phone calls, emails, and etc I think we're straightened out. I then call up American Express to have my card #'s changed since I have no idea how much the thieves have on me AND PayUp EVEN RECOMMENDED I DO SO. Much to my surprise the next day I log on to PayCrap and they ask me if they can post a small charge to my old credit card # so they can reactivate the account. If I had known they needed to do that I would not have canceled my credit card and requested new #'s. Most of a week gets burned. I decide to pay my car buddy in cash for the parts I bought from him. It's embarrassing.

A few days later I get the new credit card and jump through PayDump's hoops. At this point they decide to let the charges ride and credit my account. This sucks because I will now have to wait 2-4 weeks for a check to arrive from PayAlot (because I took my checking account off there a long time ago) so I can pay my American Express bill. I also get to pay a $1.95 fee for this privilege. I call Amex to let them know that the charges should stand but that they should somehow put an asterisk by them saying the charges are fradulent and that I do not accept any liability or future charges from the vendors in question. All is fine for a month.

Then, inexplicably, American Express revokes payment on the transactions I flagged. This is mildly irksome but I guess understandable and what I wish would have happened from the start. Now I have to go back in to PayUp to cancel the 'charge backs', print out an affidavit, get it notarized, and fax it back to PayUp.

All of this could have been avoided if PayPunk would simply have voided the transactions. Instead they have maximized the inconvenience for me, the victim in all of this, and the guy who pays them (aka 'the customer').

LEAVE THE ROOM KIDS. DADDY NEEDS TO SAY ADULT THINGS TO THE COMPUTER.

PayPal, you are the biggest bunch of clueless incompetent ass-clowns.


You've taught me a valuable lesson on how to deal with you. The answer is, I won't. From now on you'll be dealing with American Express when something goes wrong. They're loyal to me, the customer, and will chew on your sorry asses like a rabid pit bull if you screw me around. I will avoid using my PayCrap account wherever possible. I can also promise you it will be a cold day in hell before you get my checking account info, so stop asking.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Just Because



You can't say I never put family pics on this blog. Nice shutter action by Annie.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Evolution?



I found this news article on the Drudge Report today. It's from the Daily Mail, an online newspaper in the UK.

It's an interview of a woman who had herself sterilized because she thought having a child would be too harmful to the environment. I've been waiting for more of these stories to show up. I think this is a logical conclusion to reach when the Earth is your god.

At the risk of sounding cold, this person is really doing the rest of us a favor by removing her stupidity from the gene pool. Collectively, our offspring have just gotten a tick smarter statistically. She almost goofed this up a few years ago but 'terminated the pregnancy'. Golly, it's a good thing she terminated a 'pregnancy' and not a fully formed and growing baby. That would have been nasty and distasteful.

The next conclusion a person like this could reach is that people themselves are inevitable pollution generators. The fewer, the better! And since they should affect change globally by acting locally they will off themselves. Why not consider making this a large-scale event at a coordinated time and location? It will make the clean-up more eco-friendly, not to mention convenient, for the rest of us. Maybe your remains could be dumped in the ocean to feed all manner of sea life. On second thought, that may generate methane gases, a dangerous greenhouse gas, besides disturbing the environmental circle-of-life that Man has no business interfering with. A better option may be to burn the remains in a carefully controlled process to minimize emissions while harnessing the heat energy to generate electricity to charge electric cars for the remaining eco-friendly persons. I think you'll agree that this is the best option.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Another Citation for Bravery


Yeah, I really did get 2 tickets in 2 weeks, this time in Newton, in an area I almost never speed in because the limit is unusually low and there's generally a lot of traffic.

On this particular occasion traffic was very sparse because it was a weekday evening. I sped up to get around a pickup truck in front of me that was completing the left turn out of Wal-Mart at 5 mph. I get a block down the road and see flashing lights a quarter mile back. Hoping there's an actual crime going on somewhere I slow below the speed limit and hug the right side of the right lane. Unfortunately the police officer pulls up behind me so I signal that I'm going to turn into a residential side street and pull in a few car lengths to give him some room. Yeah, I know, what a nice guy.

I'm informed I was going 50 in a 35 and take my ticket. Officer Friendly hops back in his car and goes WOT (Wide Open Throttle, for you non-gearheads) down the street to catch another Evildoer who had just driven past us and whose traffic crime I didn't see. I'd say the officer was going at least 50 by the time he got to the end of the block. This was right past several driveways and maybe a dozen houses. My vehicular crime occurred next to an open Dillons parking lot so, yeah, I should have made a citizens arrest but decided to call it a night.

A coworker and friend asked if I was angry and cursed or punched the steering wheel. That's a fair question considering that same coworker once saw me nearly decide to break my telephone in half (that's a different story). I'm sure a few of you have seen worse out of me. The simple answer is I knew I was speeding and I can't expect our City's Finest not to issue a citation when they catch me doing it. They're just doing their job and I've never thought it was personal in any way. I was more worried about having to break the news to Annie.

So, now I have to dial it back a notch. I don't think my insurance will be affected much. After all, I'm old (>30), a homeowner, and married AND I drive cheap small cars. Progressive almost pays me. But I've already donated half a set of race tires to the gubbermint and I'd prefer not to make it a full set. Also, once a citizen of this state collects 3 tickets in 12 months they receive a letter informing them that their license will be suspended if a 4th is earned. I believe my count is still at 2 (there was a ticket that I think was struck down 10 months ago--an even longer story) and I'd like to preserve whatever buffer I have left.

But I'm gonna own those entrance and exit ramps in the mean time. And also familiar divided highways.

Paul H: I wanted to respond to your comment on Saturday with "Yeah, but it's even more expensive in Harvey County..." or something along those lines but I hadn't gotten around to telling Annie about ticket #2 just yet. I had to build up courage for a few days.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Notice to Appear Funky




Well, it looks like my annual invoice for membership in the Speeding Club has come due. I haven't paid in much the past 4 years so I guess it was time. My insurance company is convinced I'm an old man that lives in rural Harvey county and drives a fleet older non-performance vehicles. They practically pay me to insure my fleet so I doubt there will be a rate increase. If there is I can handle the extra $5/month, which would be 10% (take that you <30 kids!).

I could go into how ludicrous a fine in this particular zone is; 2-lanes each way, one commercial side road (the one I had just left), no residential or other buildings on either side of the road, line of sight for about 2 miles. Why does that add up to 45 mph? The lowest denominator car on the road driven by the least qualified driver would be safe to at least 55 or 60 there. Then I could argue how unsafe the cop was by pulling a u-turn in the middle of the this road with 2 cars in front of him and 2 behind. Don't tell me how this guy has special training (B.S.!). I'm willing to bet I've had more and was in a better vehicle. But I guess I won't go into either or those arguments. I'll just make my donation to Sedgwick County and be quiet about it. Maybe, just maybe Valentine (a company who makes nice radar detectors) will get my club dues for next year.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Grrrrr!


More on this topic later.

Benny Lava

Monday, October 22, 2007

Ken Doll the Overseer

Ken Doll sees all. Ken Doll cannot be fooled and sees through all lies with his Laser Truth Vision.



Do not anger the Ken with your misdeeds or you shall be stuck about the stomach, cheek, or buttocks area with a Flying Tiger Claw Strike...



...or the Spinning Back Kick of Justice.



No quarter will be given to evil doers. Ken Doll will bring the pain in his homemade clothes. Mock the Ken Doll and prepare yourself for the consequences.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Monday, October 8, 2007

Another Thing I Should Explain

I'm always wearing band-aids on my fingers because my skin was thoroughly dried out by some alcohol-based solvent that I use while working on cars. The dry skin cracked which healed, which became callous, which cracked, which healed, which became more callous, and so on. It's been months and I've almost healed several times only to crack again. I'm going to see a Dermatologist next week to see if they have any ideas. I'm really hoping I'm not going to pay this person a few hundred dollars for them to say, "well don't use your hands", as that's not any kind of option right now. Yes, I do wear gloves; latex for chemicals, leather for turning wrenches. It helps but the damage is done.

Take Care of Your Back

...because you can't do anything without it. Seriously.
I thought I'd explain a few things about myself since there may be some new people here. I tweaked my back a week ago. I wasn't even doing anything strenuous, it was just bad ergonomics and fatigue. It all stems from an injury 2 years ago where I hyper extended my lower back while picking something up improperly. It wasn't particularly heavy but I had been in the car all day at the time and was kind of stiff. Shoulda bent at the knees. I couldn't walk for over a week and was in severe pain. I had to crawl to bathroom on my hands and knees (slowly!) that whole time. I remember getting stuck in a recliner for about 3 hours before figuring out how I could get out. It was the most horrible incapacitating pain I've ever felt, way worse than the kidney stone the year before. Anyway, you'd think after an ordeal like that that a person would do physical therapy and start dieting & exercising. Well, I didn't, and now I'm paying for it by partially reliving the pain of the original injury. If you see me walking a little sideways, sort of like the pose that the Marlboro man does, you'll know why.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Batty for Bats

The entire time we've lived up here in Newton, which is nearing 4-1/2 years, a little brown bat has camped out in a crevice above a window on our porch. I've never seen him come or go but he's gone by dusk and home by dawn.






He was there when we moved in and I refused to shoo him away since the Big Brown Bat (actual species name) eats 1/3rd of it's body weight each night in insects. Insects happen to be on my poop list and I see little chance of that changing, so viva la bat.

Anyway, more internet research revealed that the big brown bat can live for up to 19 years in the wild. Bats migrate south each year so it's amazing that he comes back to our house to the same window every year. This year he didn't show up until earlier this month. I thought we had lost the lil' fella. He usually departs about this time of year so it's a short stay this time around.

Say 'hello' to my little friend.


Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Lookit Them Pipes


Awwww. Baby's first set of header pipes.

50 Horsepower


...that's what the ricers say. Anthony is skeptical.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

My Next Car Project for 2008

Got PowerPoint? Then you can check out my latest car project idea...

http://jmr302.com/blog/Ford%20Festiva%20Project.ppt

Similar builds have been pulled off successfully by a few professionals but nothing remotely local that I'm aware of.

Anyway, I have access to a TIG welder now and a project like this is mostly raw material. Hayabusa engines go for $2500-$4000 so it's not an expensive project either. I'd need to buy a tubing bender (figure $500-$1000 by the time I get all the dies I'd need).

Yes, I am a mad scientist.

Sunday, July 1, 2007

Anita Newmakeupperson


Did I mention I saw Anita Cochran (aka 'Anita Newmakeupperson') last week at Old Chicago in Old Town? Well, I should have said something sooner. She looks exactly like she does on TV, meaning there's a 1/2" thick crust of makeup on her pate. Rene Stevens and her must use the same make-up person. Don't get me started on that one.

Friday, June 29, 2007

Der Heckschleuder


There she is. This picture was obviously taken at work.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Heckschleuder

One of the engine suppliers I work with from Germany said that this is what I should call my car: Heckschleuder (pronounced like: HECK-schl-oi-der)

Various internet translators said it means:

Rear Catapult
Tail Centrifuge
Stern Sling

But apparently the best translation is Tail Sling. It's in reference to the sporty but light rear wheel drive BMW I picked up last fall. It's my work buddies' favorite lunchtime hauler and one of the best cars I've ever owned. Unfortunately I don't have a pic of it handy right now. Maybe tomorrow.

Anyway, I've never found a better combination of pure driving pleasure. It's not the fastest but it's zippy and nothing turns-in more willingly or wails quite the same when zooming up an entrance ramp. Long live the inline-6! The interior is all business and simplicity yet has a certain retro European look to it. I also dig the boxy yet svelte exterior styling. It's a German car but Bertone, a famous Italian car body design firm, penned the design for BMW. For me it doesn't get any better in form, fit, or function.

Now if just had more roll stiffness, a suspension rebuild, adjustable shocks, an exhaust header, a limited slip diff, a... (trailing off)

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Deep Thoughts on Speeding

It occurred to me the other day that we very rarely get speeding tickets in this town. What you're actually ticketed for is not looking ahead far enough when you drive. If you did you would have seen that cop a mile away and would have slowed down. It's only when you're spaced out and speed right by the bastard that you ever get tagged. Let that be a lesson to ya. Ponder.

Ugh.

You Could Be Driving a Honda

So I traded my Miata for a Honda the other day. Technical stuff aside (for once), man is owning a modified Honda a pain. Miata owners have to endure 'Girl Car' comments, but that joke fizzles out quickly. Some people even appreciate them for being the perfect traditional British sports car but with Japanese quality and an on-purpose design. Honda owners carry a different baggage, one of constant interest from backwards-hatting 4XL pants-wearing 24" wheel-buying 18" subwoofer in a cardboard box owning 'urban' idiot types. The first thing I do before/after I buy a car is find a good, active internet forum with good technical information exchanges. I've never had much difficulty until now. Just try to find a Honda forum with in-depth technical discussions. Most of them look like this:

sup yall i am rollin in my H-rod an my girl was all like wazzat rattle-rattle bang sound an i was all like wha? and thin their wuz like no go from da engine should i buy a teg ls B18 motor widda B16A1 head wid OBD-O an install it in da parking lot of my works at da taco bell

There are thousands and thousands of these morons and I get grouped in with all them just by rollin in a H-bomb. Aw snap.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Party Pooper


What's wrong with this picture?
Yup, we've got a deuce. My son, the tub-pooper.

Monday, May 7, 2007

Thank You, Paul Watson.

...for standing up and identifying yourself as an idiotarian that should not be taken seriously by any rational person.

http://www.seashepherd.org/editorials/editorial_070504_1.html

To sum up, Watson thinks humans caused global warming and 5 billion of us need to die. Paul, please discontinue lowering the average IQ of your fellow Canadians and jump in Victoria Bay with a steak taped to your backside. You'll make a good meal for an endangered killer whale. Hopefully that killer whale will not produce any methane or carbon dioxide emissions while digesting your worthless carcass, but I hope he does.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Bienvenidos

I know what you're thinking; another stinkin' blog in Verdana font. Well you, my friend, are correct.

On this blog I will be telling you, the reader, what I think about various subjects. This will be riveting to you. You now have a job, which you have agreed to by reading this far. You, the reader, must comment on my posts. Set me straight or tell me how much I'm boring you. Be sure to use your real name so I can hunt you down later.