Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Ask the Filthy Speeder



I'm sure you've always had the urge to ask me for automotive, political, romantic, or random advice but didn't know how to do so anonymously. Well here's your chance. Simply comment on this blog entry anonymously. To help keep things straight, pick a silly Dear Abby-esque name to sign your comment with like "Pissed Pontiac Owner" or "Addicted to Harpsichords".

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Jason's CD of the Month and Possibly Quarter

If you haven't gotten sucked into Fleet Foxes yet, you ought to give this a listen. In fact this particular song was chosen with Cody in mind. He and Kim recently commented that they didn't get the hype surrounding this band.



Honestly, if you had told me 6 months ago that I would be hooked on some melodic mostly-acoustic guitar folky music I would have said you didn't know me very well. But these guys do have some unusual going on. I've got the full length album and the EP. Both are worth owning if you like this song, which is on the EP.

New Title



I've changed the title and color of the blog. Yeah, what a life, huh?

I often say in jest when another unfortunate soul is being handed their ticket that the police officer should "lock 'em up and throw away the key! That filthy speeder!" in a mock grumpy old man voice. I've been extra speedy this weekend so it resonates. I haven't had a ticket in quite a while now. It's been at least 6 months. And it's been more than a year since the ticket/s before that so I'm well clear of the danger zone of license suspension.

Speaking of which, did anyone else see the NHTSA report that came out semi-recently about speeding (source article: thenewspaper.com)?

The report concludes that speeding causes only 5% of accidents.


Here's the break down of the primarily driver error accident causes:

Inattentiveness 41%
Poor Driving Skills 10%
Falling Asleep / Heart Attack / Medical 8%
Too Fast for Conditions (i.e. weather) 8%
Cornering too Fast 5%

If law enforcement really cared about public safety they'd move from radar guns to some sort of 'attentiveness' or 'basic skills' patrol. Distracted cell phone talkers and the inept would fund the city/county/state budget instead of speedy persons such as myself. Well, I can dream anyway.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

The Baddest Man on the Planet

...is a slightly pudgy Russian dude. No really, I've seen several of his fights. If you have a few minutes, Fox Sports Net has produced a slick video spot on him. I haven't seen the second half of this, but I would say he's the best heavyweight MMA fighter strictly because he's the smartest and calmest fighter around. Watch how he walks to the ring. Very anti-climatic.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

A Guilty Pleasure



I gotta admit, I like parts of the new Metallica single. It starts off nicely but turns into raw mulleted cheesiness at about 2:00 minutes. And yeah, James Whatshisname, the lead singer, accents the end of every line sung with a "RAH!","NAH!", or "YAH!". Sample: "I didn't want to cut my haaaaiiiiirrr-RAH!". Listen for it. Then listen to every other Metallica song you've ever heard. Then have a chuckle to yourself. Liking Metallica, even a little bit, is like saying you prefer your women in tube tops and Lee Press-On nails.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

$375 Million Dollars for Town of 194



If you haven't heard, the town of Edwardsville, Alabama made a request for 374 million dollars in federal aid for their town of 194 residents in order to fund green technology and who knows what else.

http://www.usnews.com/articles/news/stimulus/2009/01/08/why-a-tiny-alabama-town-wants-a-375-million-chunk-of-the-stimulus.html

Of course this ballsy move received national attention, especially from the Citizens Against Government Waste organization. If you read the news story a little further you'll see that this bad press caused the town to rescind the original request. A town representative had this to say (taken from US News):

"The public perception of us being full of greed and the tremendously ugly comments have disheartened and disappointed us to the point that we are withdrawing our projects from the U.S. Conference of Mayors survey."

Am I the only one who thinks this person was stretching their vocabulary just to get this statement out? I think we would all have been much more impressed with this improved version:

"The public perceptification of us being full of greediocity and the stupendously ugly commentifications have unfortunately exposed our dubious cash grab to the point that we can no longer get away with it. Screw all of you."

Sheesh, Edwardsville. How naive must your US Conference of Mayors representative be to try something like this? Did he/she really think that they should burden the rest of the nation with hugely expensive and disproportionatly expensive public works projects at a time when unemployment is at a 7% nationally and our GDP has shrank?

Those small town rubes should have known that only the federal government can do things like this!



Obama's stimuluous package, which Edwardsville was trying to get a piece of, is 800 BILLION dollars in government spending. That's a bit more ambitious than Edwardsville, being another order of magnitude higher in cash, but it's just as stupid and we should be just as appalled at this idea as we are at Edwardsville's. See, the problem with government spending is that the money must come from one of these sources.

1) The Treasury prints more money.
2) The Treasury sells more bonds to China.
3) A minority of tax payers get taxed into oblivion.

The first option devalues the currency because the money supply goes way up. Every asset you own becomes less valuable. This doesn't mean it won't happen.

The second option is on-going and comprises a large portion of the national debt. The Chinese and several other foreign investment entities already own us to a large degree. At some point we won't be able to even pay the interest on these bonds and our currency will collapse globally. It's worse than that even sounds.

The third option is the most attractive (not to me!) and is on going. We are now at the point in time where the vast majority of tax dollars are paid by way, way less than 50% of the tax payers. Since these tax payers are a minority of the population they are out-voted. The majority of the country has decided to confiscate the earnings of a minority. That sounds righteous ("Stick it to the rich!") but there are problems. Those high earners are the ones whose small and large businesses hire people. They are the ones who buy a lot of goods and services which keep us employed, like say 20,000-30,000 of us in Wichita who work for Cessna, Learjet, and Beechcraft who manufacture corporate jets and other aircraft. When we vote to tax them at crazy high rates they can do less of these things and the economy tanks. If you recall, dear reader, this is supply side economics, which was proven by Reagan.

When he set this policy in motion in the early 80's it created a 30 year economic boom whose momentum just petered out, largely due to someone's stupid idea to give mortgages to people who can't pay them. The simplest analogy I can come up with is low tax rates create a bigger pie of which the government takes a smaller portion. High tax rates mean the government is taking a large portion of what is a smaller pie. In each scenario the government gets their pie but our share of pie (the rest of the economy) is much smaller when tax rates are high. Get it?

So I don't have any confidence that a load of governement spending is going to work here. That very action is going to stifle the economy it's trying to save. I predict we're going to have a rocky year or two here while we're ignoring history and trying to spend our way out of debt. About 10% of Cessna is going to be sent home at the end of this month and it will probably get worse later this year. Remember this the next time you vote.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

The Biggest Cajones - Part II


Notice how the guy trips right out of the gate. Watch what he does later. I have no idea where this trail is, but that reinforced concrete isn't anymore.

The Biggest Cajones - Part I



Hey, they're wearing bicycling helmets. That's plenty.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Jason's Guide to Not Being an Automotive Idiot

Okay, I may not be THE coolest guy around, but I have some strong opinions backed up by engineering geekiness. Here's what to avoid when making automotive decisions.

1) Ditch the wing, Batman.




The number of these things that actually function is very, very small. Most are nothing but aerodynamic drag and extra weight (non-nerd translation: this means worse fuel economy... and you paid for the privilege.) You're not getting any downforce back there and if even if you were it's not needed on your nose-heavy front wheel drive car anyway. Ditto on that $50 Ebay monstrosity made in China that the ricer kids fasten down with deck screws. Face it, your car looks stupid and you're not fooling anyone.

Wanna see how big that wing would have to be to be effective at legal highway speeds?



There you go. Any takers?

EXCEPTION:



The wing pictured above, which have been used on the back edge of SUV's and stationwagons for decades is actually functional. It keeps water and ice from accumulating on the back glass when the vehicle is moving. Notice most of them are small. The older ones were painted flat black so they wouldn't get noticed. Sorry, no downforce. No douche-baggery either though.

2) Bras are for the ladies. And flabby dudes.



Honestly, do you really car about avoiding rock chips on the front end of your car? If so, then why do you leave this goobery padded pleather cover on the front end for years at time, holding moisture, dust, and sand against your paint finish? Ever seen what it looks like under there after a car bra has been in place for a few months or years?



Don't pay to destroy your car. At best you look like an old man hoping his 2001 Oldsmobile Alero with rubber steering wheel cover wins first place at the big car show this weekend. At worst you look like a total follower. The only remedy is a big black cover on the back bumper (aka 'car panties'.)

3) Air freshners, rubber steering wheel covers, ricer-boy shift knobs, bobble head dolls, and stuffed animals are not custom car touches. You look like an idiot.



If this is how you want to express yourself you ought to hold it in. No, we do not think you are 'spunky' or creative. Or inteligent.

4) Your Pontiac is not sporty.



Hey people over 35, this one is especially for you. Back in the good ole days, Pontiac successfully marketed their cars as youthful sporty machines. Some of them actually were. But this hasn't been true since the 1975 Firebird 455 Super Duty edition. Unfortunately I still hear people older than 35 professing to the sportiness of their lame front wheel drive Pontiac with a V6 and an automatic transmission. Unless you own a new G8 (400hp V8 rear wheel drive) or a Solstice GXP (260hp turbo-4 rear wheel drive roadster), you're driving a re-badged Chevrolet/Buick/Oldsmobile(R.I.P). All of those cars have the exact same engine, transmission, chassis, and suspension. The only difference are the plastic front and rear fascias and the body cladding. Your Pontiac isn't any sportier and it's not fast. Come on back to reality. You paid extra for a gussied up Chevy Berretta if you own the car pictured. You obeyed the programming.

MINOR EXCEPTION: If you own one of the supercharged Bonnevilles they are faster than the regular Chevrolet/Olds. But they're the same as the supercharged Buick that grandpa's driving. Yeah, you're still a sucker. Don't take the marketing bait next time.


Well that's enough vitriol for tonight. Stay tuned for future installments on this topic. There are a lot more automotive wrongs out there that need to be called-out.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

I'm Sorry

...but I just couldn't help but post this picture. It's such a funny moment in time. The facial expressions, the hand gestures, the sheer volume of fluid. Yes, this kind of quality post keeps the readers coming back for more.