Friday, April 19, 2024

Tortured Poet

These roses are red
Yet those violets aren't blue
Haiku is hard, man


Automotif CDXC...

Here's a 1991 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am convertible in Bright White.

1991 and 1992 were the last years for the Third Generation F-bodies. The Fourth Gen cars were already in development and, although they were derived from the Third Gen cars (in much the same way as the SN95 Mustang platform was a heavily-revised Fox), they featured significant improvements.

One problem the 3rd Gen F-bodies had is that there wasn't room for a 5-speed manual gearbox that could handle the torque of the 5.7L TPI motors, and so '91-'92 were the last years for the LB9 Tuned-Port Injection 5.0L.

Rated at 205 SAE net horsepower, this fuelie 305 was the only motor available in the Trans Am convertible. Presumably this is because the convertibles were actually converted from coupes with a roofectomy performed by American Sunroof Corporation in Michigan and the torque from the 245hp L98 350 would have twisted the frame like a pretzel without the stiffening provided by the roof structure.

Re-Wilding the Internet

It didn't used to be like this...
"If you were born around the 1970s, you probably remember many more dead insects on the windscreen of your parents’ car than on your own. Global land-dwelling insect populations are dropping about 9% a decade. If you’re a geek, you probably programmed your own computer to make basic games. You certainly remember a web with more to read than the same five websites. You may have even written your own blog.

But many people born after 2000 probably think a world with few insects, little ambient noise from birdcalls, where you regularly use only a few social media and messaging apps (rather than a whole web) is normal. As Jepson and Blythe wrote, shifting baselines are “where each generation assumes the nature they experienced in their youth to be normal and unwittingly accepts the declines and damage of the generations before.” Damage is already baked in. It even seems natural.


Thursday, April 18, 2024

US v. EU

Good post from Chris Arnade...
"Every few weeks Twitter gets caught up in a fight when someone proclaims that Europe is better than the US, or vice-versa1. I usually stay away from these dust ups because it’s an ignorant debate. The question is badly defined, subjective, and impossible to answer, so the fights devolve into two groups talking past each other, until someone eventually drags out a picture of Breezewood, and then for all effective purposes it’s over2.

To the pro-Europe side, Europe is a cornucopia of crime-free, gothic-cathedral-having cities with great public transportation, quaint row homes, and sensible policies on guns, health care, and child care. America, in contrast, is a dystopian landscape of depressing suburbs with oversized cars, soul-sucking strip malls, and people shooting up drugs and each other.

To the pro-US side America is a land of hard-working, money-making, independent-minded people who hate being told what to do, especially by mid-wit bureaucrats with zero appreciation that human flourishing requires true and almost absolute freedom. Europe, by contrast, is an impoverished, crowded, backward, continent determined to stay impoverished, crowded, and backward because of a stubborn and stupid commitment to high taxes, high regulation, and low entrepreneurialism.
The title is self-admitted clickbait, but it's worth reading the whole thing.


Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Meme Dump...

Apropos of nothing in particular...

"Strip Mall Funeral Parlor" is the name of my next band.


Automotif CDLXXXIX...

Spotted pulling into the SoBro Fresh Market on a Grey Poupon run was this Series I (2010-'14) Rolls-Royce Ghost in the disappointingly prosaically named "Silver" color.

With a chassis derived from the then-current BMW 7 series and powered by a twin-turbo 6.6 litre BMW V12 rated at 563 SAE net horsepower, the Ghost's power is certainly "Adequate", even when dealing with a curb weight that's only about a case of Perrier short of two and three quarter tons.

Photographed with the Nikon D700 and Nikkor 28-200mm f/3.5-5.6G superzoom lens.


EV Speedrun Challenge

"Times are starting to get tough for Tesla. The electric vehicle automaker had been riding high, with quarter after quarter of successive growth and plenty of profits in the process. But lately, that success has mostly been due to a series of price cuts meant to tempt customers to buy into an aging lineup. This March, the company reported its first quarterly decline since 2020.

Now, it plans to lay off more than 10 percent of its workforce, according to an internal memo seen by Reuters.
Basically, Tesla's challenge was to learn how to make a car company faster than established car companies could learn how to make Teslas.

Tuesday, April 16, 2024

The First Rule of Dunning-Kruger Club...

ZCQOTD: "This man has built an impregnable stone house with lovely west-facing balconies on the summit of Mount Stupid."


Automotif CDLXXXVIII...

Speaking of unexpected sights, check out this absolutely pristine '84 or '85 Ford Tempo GL coupe in Medium Regatta Blue.

The Tempo was the downsized front wheel drive replacement for the Ford Fairmont. It was the second FoMoCo car to feature the new curvy aero styling after the '83 Thunderbird and presaged the coming of the bombshell '85 Taurus. (If you weren't around then, it's hard to understand what a splash the original Taurus made after a decade of square-edged boxmobile sedans from Detroit.)

The Tempo's platform was derived from the Escort and it was powered by Ford's 2.3L pushrod HSC, for "High Swirl Combustion", inline four cylinder engine, driving the front wheels through either a 3-speed auto or 4-speed (in 1984) or 5-speed (for 1985) manual. For '84, the HSC had a 1-bbl Holley carb and was rated at 90bhp. In 1985, the carb was replaced with electronically controlled throttle body fuel injection, which actually dropped power to 86 SAE net horses. Performance was tepid, and 0-60 times could best be described as "eventually".

For '86, the Tempo received a facelift, getting flush headlamps that better complemented the aero styling. (NHTSA approval hadn't come through before the styling of the '84 models had been finalized.)


Random 1911 Musing...

Y'know, I wonder if the proliferation of relatively cheap CNC machinery is responsible for the overall rise in the quality floor of 1911s over the past couple decades?

I mean, thirty years ago if you weren't spending a G on a 1911, it was basically understood that you were buying a pistol kit that might cycle ball reliably. Nowadays even the Turks will sell you a Government Model clone that will probably run adequately out of the box, at least with good magazines and bullet profiles that aren't too weird and are in the normal 185-230gr weight range.


Monday, April 15, 2024

Do it, bro!

Photobucket has been sending me messages for literal years that my inactive account would be deleted and that if I didn’t respond, it’d be a goner.

I’ve never responded, but those dudes still haven’t deleted my account (which I am hoping they will. I only had it because a couple forums on which I was active a decade or more ago didn’t have their own photo hosting.)

Are you gonna bark all day, little Photobucket? Our are you gonna bite?



I absolutely have to get some chrono testing done this morning so I can ship off a review this afternoon.

I won't go to the outdoor range on the weekends... it'd be impossible to get any chrono testing done then anyway ...and today's the only dry weekday in a solid block of rainy weather stretching from last Tuesday to this coming Friday. We're on pace for one of the wettest Aprils on record here in Indy.

Duty calls.

More this afternoon...


Sunday, April 14, 2024

Automotif CDLXXXVII...

This one almost slipped past me before I realized what I'd just seen and jogged down to the corner to grab a photo of it at the traffic light.

What we've got here is a right-hand drive JDM (Japanese Domestic Market) 1994-'96 Toyota Mark II in the Tourer-V trim level, meaning it's packing a 280bhp twin-turbo 1JZ-GTE 2.5 liter inline six. These midsize RWD sedans are popular tuner cars in Japan but were never imported here.


Saturday, April 13, 2024

Totin' trends...

It's been interesting noticing the trends at TacCon now that I've been there for seven years.

The first one I attended, at DARC in Arkansas back in 2017, was largely after the "Caliber Wars" were over. I'm sure there were a few .40s and .45s in attendance, but 9mm was the overwhelmingly most common chambering and it wasn't even close.

I obviously didn't get pictures of everybody shooting in every class, but I'd feel pretty comfortable stating that probably half everybody was shooting a Glock of one variant or another, with M&Ps being the second most common, and the remainder a mishmash of Sig Sauers, HKs, and Berettas, mostly. I only got pictures of one guy using a red dot; an RMR mounted on an 9mm M&P.

Next year TacCon was at DARC again. Glocks were still the most common gun, but probably only a plurality at this point. Sig P320s were already vying with M&Ps as the second most commonly seen pistol. There were a handful of people using red dot optics in 2018, and John Johnston made it into the man-on-man shootoff with one.

At 2019, down in Louisiana at NOLATAC, there were more red dots, and Rick Remington won the shootoff with an RMR atop a 9mm Wilson. Glock alternatives continued to grow in popularity.

After a one-year hiatus during the Plague Year of 2020, TacCon was held at Dallas Pistol Club in 2021.

That's when I first started seeing significant numbers of the smaller pistols, like Glock 48s and Sig P365s. Red dots were commonly spotted in every class and were no longer limited to hardcore dot proponents who'd had pistol slides custom milled for RMRs.

2022 was back at DPC again. Red dots and smaller pistols were everywhere, even in the shootoffs.

2023? More of the same.

For 2024, the biggest difference I noticed was that there was a greater number of people who were willing to talk openly about living "the snubby lifestyle" à la Darryl Bolke. I spent the weekend at the the range, catching rides back to the hotel in the evenings; I'd get dinner and socialize in the lobby a bit and then head to my room to process photos. There weren't many potential scenarios I could visualize there that I didn't feel reasonably comfortable solving with a 3" .38 Special revolver, especially since I was surrounded most of the time by switched-on, like-minded individuals. 

Gear-wise, dots had become downright prevalent. Walthers had become more common. I don't know how Walther's doing in terms of overall market share, but they've certainly penetrated the serious training hobbyist demographic. The majority of optics were now Holosuns. Enclosed emitter optics were trending. If you added 365s and 320s and the few die-hards still shooting the hammer-fired classics together, there may have been as many Sigs as Glocks, if not actually more.