Sunday, June 30, 2019

Eight Legged Tentacled Freaks

Didja hear about the octopus that was miffed by the bright light over its tank and so would short it out with well-aimed water jets? For fun, it would juggle hermit crabs, which probably stressed the hermit crabs out.

In other octopode news, it appears that their central nervous system is distributed such that their tentacles are capable of rather a lot of autonomous action without needing to pester the brain for instructions.

From an Away Game...

Someone asked me why I made a certain comment about Ken Rockwell's gear reviews, specifically a comparison he'd done on the Nikon D700 vs. the Canon 5D Mark II.

I replied...
Aside from his normal reviews which are superlative-laden, as you noted, this "comparison" has its own special Ken-ness... 
An example would be "The D700 is sturdier but heavier, while the 5D Mark II is lighter, but flimsier." Flimsier? Everything's written in clickbait-y language.

In order to understand Ken's language, you have to understand that most people do not read reviews or comparisons to make buying decisions. People read reviews and comparisons to justify the impulse buying decision *they already made*.

If someone googles "
Is the CaNikon D9000 Mark X a [sucky/good] camera?", it's because they're sitting there at home with a freshly-unboxed CaNikon D9000 Mark X in their lap, needing something to do while the battery charges, and they're trying to assuage that tickle of buyer's remorse creeping into the edge of their psyche.

This holds for cameras, lenses, guns, cars, et cetera.
If you bought one or another of those cameras, the review will convince you that you probably made the right choice and the other camera is ate up with fatal flaws.

Saturday, June 29, 2019

Automotif CXLIV...

I mean, it's true...

Rannie update...

The vet's office called with her blood work results today. Her kidney function was no worse and apparently her pancreas is showing its age a bit, but nothing alarming.

Abdominal ultrasound will be scheduled for this week.

It's the only play in the book...

Imagine if the TSA was in charge of administering health care at the VA using the DMV's customer service model.

Now imagine the whole world like that.

The Thousand Dollar Book...

So, I've been finishing up a second read-through of Straight Talk on Armed Defense: What the Experts Want You to Know, and I'm still impressed at what a useful compendium Mas Ayoob has put together here.

Mas wrote a book back in the Eighties, The Truth About Self Protection, that was a wide-ranging overview on the topic. Rather than a gun-fondling manual comparing foot-pounds and magazine capacities, it was full of practical lifestyle advice, from mindset tips to comparisons of deadbolt brands. (I mean, there was some gun stuff, too, but it wasn't the majority of the book.)

I asked him a couple years ago why he hadn't written an updated version, and he allowed as how putting together the research on such disparate topics and cramming into even a chubby 400+ page paperback to meet a promised deadline was an experience he wouldn't wish on anyone again. However, he suggested that I look into this newer book, as it was something of a spiritual successor to the old work. Best of all, he had, talked some subject matter experts into submitting chapters on their fields of expertise.

Having shelled out my own hard-earned coin to learn from some of these folks, I can attest to the worth of the material.

John Hearne has turned the study of performance under pressure into an avocation. His presentation on the topic at Tac-Con or Paul-E-Palooza now stretches to an eight-hour lecture, and none of it dull. Basically John was curious as to why some people seem to just go to pieces under stress while others execute basic skills with mechanical precision, and the research he's uncovered on the topic of "overlearning", the importance of recency, and other factors is fascinating stuff.

The chapter he contributed, "Inside the Defender's Head", is a great intro to his findings.

Craig Douglas of Shivworks should need no introduction. His chapter, "The Criminal Assault Paradigm" is more or less extracted from a part of the lecture portion of his 2.5-day ECQC curriculum. It dives into the "how criminal assaults happen", and the key elements that are almost universal among them. (Hint: They rarely involve a stationary criminal squared up to you 21 feet away, yelling "Hey, throw your wallet over here!" followed by an electronic "BEEEEP!".)

Another contributor whose material I can't laud enough is William Aprill of Aprill Risk Consulting. At this point I've sat through...let me check my chart...some twenty hours or so of his various lectures. At the most recent class I attended, I was so sure I'd heard the material before that I cockily didn't bring pen and paper...and found myself frantically taking five pages of notes via the touchscreen keyboard on my iPad.

You'll find some of that material in the chapter he contributed: "Violent Actors/Violent Acts: A Conceptual and Practical Overview".

Mas himself contributed a chapter entitled "The Armed Lifestyle", which touches on a lot of territory, both legal and practical, that people don't consider when they apply for that toter's permit and decide to go strapped in their day-to-day life.

The chapter on "Finding Relevant Training" was written by Tom Givens, a dude who has provided more than his fair share of such. In it, he offers some thoughts on what to look for in the background of your prospective firearms trainer as well as their course curriculum and judging its suitability for your day-to-day needs.

One of the most interesting chapters is by "Spencer Blue", a dude I've met but who's contributing pseudonymously out of necessity. Having spent time as a major crimes detective for a large urban agency, he's built up a tremendous case file of incidents where armed citizens resisted violent criminals. Best of all, he's filtered out the obvious criminal-on-criminal, domestic violence, gang-related incidents and other obviously targeted incidents to give a look at the actual outcomes of random street crimes and what worked and what didn't when citizens resisted.

The book is definitely worth the asking price, especially when you consider how much it would cost to get the material delivered to you as separate power point presentations.

Friday, June 28, 2019

Poor Old Cat

Rannie has had kidney issues for a while now.

I'd hoped that last Friday's horrible nighttime vomiting incident was just the occasional normal bout of cat horking triggered by a combination of a hairball and overindulging at the water dish or food bowl, but she seemed worse over the last few days.

She was barely picking at her food, not drinking regularly, and seemed to be having a hard time pooping. This was pretty similar to the situation that had her taken to the vet in January.

During January's vet visit, the doc explained this was a likely consequence of a flare-up of her kidney issues. They gave her subcutaneous fluids and sent her home with a prescription for Miralax and Gabapentin.

So, this morning it was off to the vet again for Miss Wu.

She was poked and prodded and palpated. The vet said that her colon didn't feel full, but there was something she was feeling up in her intestines that the vet didn't like the feel of. At all.

An ultrasound was scheduled for early next week and subcutaneous fluids were administered, but I know the sound of a vet who's hinting that I'm not going to like the results of the ultrasound, yet trying to not sound too negative until she's sure.

When she got home, Rannie perked up a bit from the fluids, and was cuddly and affectionate for a bit, before heading to the futon to curl up on a quilt.

We'll see how she does with dinner here in a bit.

Thursday, June 27, 2019

Faux Fujifilm...

Given the nature of eBay and other more-or-less global marketplaces, this is worth passing along if you're a retro film-shooting hipster like me...

Apparently there's fake "Fujifilm" circulating out there. Worse, it's a 35mm movie film stock that can't be processed in C41 and could contaminate the chemistry if someone tried.

The Shallows

As far back as 2013 I noted how my reading was being impacted by the fact that I was doing most of it via the Kindle app on an iPad.
"[T]he difference between reading on the iPad and reading a regular book is that on the Apple product, the distraction machine is built right in. Reading a history book and encounter something that tickles your hindbrain? Wikipedia is a button press and screen touch away! And while you're in there, better check your Facebook and Twitter, and see if anybody's posted in that forum thread you replied to, and your email account just chimed, and... where were we? Oh, yeah... page three. Still."
In and of itself, ebook technology is a marvel; your whole library in your pocket!

But avoiding the distraction machine is hard. Worse, the distraction machine itself alters the way you think.

When your job requires extended focus, especially on a creative task, for hours at a stretch, tearing your mind away every fifteen minutes to chime in on a Twitter conversation or answer an email can really put a stick in the spokes. Marko threw his hands up and punched out of social media pretty much altogether. I don't blame him at all.

Unlike Marko, FB is still my primary means of communication with rather a few far-flung friends. (Twitter was never a problem for me, because I use it as a repository of throwaway one-liners and don't keep a feed open all day.)

I tend not to have really strong reactions to people being dumb on the internet; if they're annoying enough I just block them. But I definitely noticed the corrosive effect on my focus and concentration. How do I keep up with those friends and not see myself reduced to a rat obsessively checking Facebook for that latest food pellet reward?

A couple days ago I decided that there'd be no social media from 9-5, and when I hit the bed every night, it's just books and no Bookface. I've done pretty good so far. I was weak at lunch on Tuesday and spent five minutes looking at FB before shaming myself into closing it.

It's kinda like quitting smoking in some ways, in that there are a lot of linked behaviors. Sit on the toilet and out comes the smartphone; "My thumb was headed for the icon all by itself" is the digital "I had the lighter out and the cigarette halfway to my lips".

In that time I've written more, including more of the multi-paragraph blog posts of the sort I used to write. I've read an entire novel for fun in the last two days, something I hadn't done in eons. (Master and God by Lindsey Davis. Highly recommend.)

If this holds up, it should do wonders for productivity, which in turn should help with the endless funk in which I've found myself mired. I can still jump in for a quick FB discussion in the evenings or in the morning over coffee, and the people who need to get in touch with me during the day know how to do that.

I'll let y'all know how this experiment goes...

Island of Misfit Toys...

Boy, if you thought the opening rounds of the 2016 GOP primaries were a veritable Lollapalooza of longshots, weirdos, and narcissists, you ain't seen nothin' yet.

I hadn't intended to watch Wednesday night's session, since Thursday (featuring Harris, Sanders, Biden, and Buttigieg) looked more interesting. I'm glad I did, though, because there was at least one moment that was like Tumblr Come To Life.

For the most part, there weren't many surprises. Klobuchar was composed but bland and staked out the Sensible Centrist position (Delaney kept trying to, but his inability to shut up didn't help him) while most of the rest of the stage galloped hard to the left. Gabbard came across as very genuine, which unfortunately tends to translate as "bad on television". Beto took a beating at the hands of Castro.

But the mayor of NYFC managed to come across as a stereotype of a New York F#&@ing City mayor. In addition to running over time on nearly every question, he interrupted every chance he got, and then had the unmitigated gall to drop this howler:
Something that sets me apart from all my colleagues running in this race and that is for the last 21 years I’ve been raising a black son in America,” said de Blasio, who is white, referencing his son, Dante. “I have had to have very, very serious talks with my son…including how to deal with the fact that he has to take special caution.
Cory Booker was visible in the shot and just going off his facial expression, I was kinda worried dude wouldn't be able to finish the debate due to having bitten his tongue off. I think the moderators lost a shot at great television by missing the expression that flashed across Booker's features and not immediately allowing him to rebut.

Twitter, predictably & justifiably, lost its collective mind...

Wednesday, June 26, 2019


To get an idea of the field of view represented by the Hubble Ultra Deep Field Photograph, go out under the night sky, find a blank piece of blackness between the stars...
"...take two pins or sewing needles and, at arm's length, cross them. The small square where the two pins overlap is approximately the visual area represented by the Hubble Ultra Deep Field photograph."
Wonderful and awesome in the most literal senses of the words.

It still makes me chuckle...

The opposite of a polar vortex?

I guess this is a "Equatorial Burp"...

I do not think that word means what you think it means.

According to Aquiles Hopkins, president of the Confederation of Associations of Agricultural Producers of Venezuela, national production currently covers only 15%–20% of the country’s consumption needs. “Socialism is what you have in Norway, in Finland,” said Hopkins during an interview in his office in Caracas. “This is an autocracy.”
No, socialism is not what you have in Norway and Finland. What you have in Norway and Finland is largely capitalism with generous social safety nets and public services supported by very high taxes on extremely productive economies (and North Sea oil revenues in the case of the former.)

This can work okay in a culture with strong social taboos against both ostentation and freeloading. How well it can continue to work with large influxes of people who don't have those same taboos remains to be seen.

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

I warned you! But would you listen?

"We identify monkey stone tools between 2,400 and 3,000 years old and, on the basis of metric and damage patterns, demonstrate that capuchin food processing changed between [approximately] 2,400 and 300 years ago, and between [roughly] 100 years ago and the present day."
Right now they've progressed from using little bits of quartz to get at the good parts of seeds and fruit to using bigger rocks to crack cashews. What happens when they progress to even bigger stones to eat people's faces?!?

This moves them up the threat matrix past vampires and werewolves to rough parity with killer space robots. At this rate, they'll be passing pirates and ninjas before you know it.
"If the monkeys follow a similar evolutionary process to humans, they will develop nuclear weapons at some point after the year 3,500,000.

We’re glad to report that the nightmare scenario of (another) nuke-crazed ape species running wild on our planet is unlikely to come to pass."

Odd Vessel

The above is an air-lock diving bell plant, a self-propelled barge that would putter around Gibraltar harbor and lower a caisson to the seafloor.  Workers could climb down that central shaft and install or maintain anchor points for Royal Navy warships in the rocky seabed while working in shirtsleeves.

Pretty funky.

Ripple Effects...

So, the first gun shop I worked at did probably 90% of its business with two wholesalers.

Chattanooga Shooting Supplies provided most of our ammo and a regularly restocked consumables like cleaning supplies. They weren't the cheapest on a strictly per-unit basis, but their truck came by once a week and kicked the boxes off and the convenience and savings on shipping for heavy items made up for that.

The other was Ellett Brothers, whose tagline "As Big As All Outdoors" was descriptive of their inventory. They carried pretty much everything. That's a lot of creditors...

Still Running the Bluff...

Given the mountain of evidence that Chicago authorities have released, either Smollet is the cheekiest individual to walk the face of the earth, or he's pathological.

"Alright, Jussie, let's see them cards. I'm calling your bluff."

Jussie smiles confidently and fans three cards out on the table in front of him.

"Okay, let's see here... You've got 'Black', and 'Bisexual' and...wait, this isn't a card! You've just taken a 3x5 piece of cardboard and written 'VICTIM' on it in crayon!"

Not blinking, Jussie continues to smile and radiate confidence...

Today In History: "Cry havoc and let slip the dogs of police action!"

On this date, sixty-nine years ago, North Korean troops launched attacks across the 38th parallel, triggering U.S. involvement in the first of our many post-WW2 not-a-wars.

Our military, shrunken from its WW2 size, was oriented on Europe and mostly configured with an eye toward nuclear combat, toe-to-toe with the Russkies.

Our initial response was haphazard and piecemeal, and included the stinging defeat of Task Force Smith, followed up by the 24th Division's HQ getting overrun and its commander captured by the Norks. The 24th Division's resistance at Taejon likely did buy time to get enough troops into Pusan to fortify the perimeter, though.

It was not the most auspicious of starts.

Sunday, June 23, 2019

Automotif CXLIII...

In a video review of the original Viper RT/10, I remember Brock Yates quipping "You have to wonder how they got all that power out of only 488 cubic inches..."

In the years since, I've occasionally encountered writings from motor journalists who hail from the other side of the pond lamenting that the Viper could eke more power from less displacement by using this or that technique...all of which misses the point that the whole idea behind the Viper is that nothing exceeds like excess.

Saturday, June 22, 2019

Pew! Pew! Pew! Pew! Pew!

A proper Viking sendoff will have an open range.

It was a long and bittersweet, happy/sad day today.

There's a common saying that states if you want to know how irreplaceable you are, look what happens if you put your finger in a bucket of water and pull it out.

"See how long it took for the water to fill the hole left by your finger?" goes the theory, "Well, that's how irreplaceable you are."

Today was a reminder that it takes longer for the water to fill in some people's absences than others.

Friday, June 21, 2019

To Sleep, Perchance to Dream...

I was awakened at 3AM by the sound of my elderly cat, Rannie, being violently ill somewhere in the house.

I found multiple sites where she had horked on the floor and cleaned those up and, deciding I was a little parched, had a can of diet ginger ale & lemonade before flopping back into the bed.

I tried to get back to sleep to no avail. Not even reading through the last few chapters of Russian Roulette could help me doze off, and I had barely drifted back to sleep when the alarm went off.

Despite having vowed to not laze about in bed this morning, there was no way I was going to try to function on that short rest, so I set alarms on the iPad for 7AM and 8AM and figured to get another hour or two of sleep.

This let me drift into a vivid and lengthy-seeming dream, one part of which involved staying in a hotel where the rooms were just depressions in the tops of this really tall mesa, connected by winding arroyos that served as hallways.

At one point I was trying to take a shortcut from one room to another by going from the "balcony" to the "balcony", which essentially meant hand-over-handing across a 90-degree inside corner over a yawning drop to the ground below. This is obviously something I would only do in a dream.

Anyhow, I got my foot stuck in a crevice and, as I was pondering how to get it unstuck without plummeting to my death, I woke up. So that was convenient.

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Tomorrow Afternoon...

The 2020 race kicks off...

"Our Radical Democrat opponents are driven by hatred, prejudice, and rage. They want to destroy you and they want to destroy our country, as we know it."

POTUS was on the stump last night at a rally, talking about the platoon of Democratic Party candidates fixing to duke it out...

How To Social Media (and How Not To)

This is the best timeline...

Hi Point set up a “Name Our New Gun” contest on social media. “YC-9”, for “Yeet Cannon”, got the most votes.

So they put up a short list of finalists, and “YC-9” wasn’t on there. The backlash on Hi-Point’s FB page was swift, and included this post from HK USA’s official account:

Bonus: Check where the web address "" resolves...

HK USA's social media game is fire.

PS: Hi-Point, I absolutely would buy a "Yeet Cannon 9".

Monday, June 17, 2019

Taste Sensation...

In all these years, I had never tried the Italian beef at Fat Dan's Chicago Deli before.

This past weekend, they had a French dip sandwich, and it was delicious. Today I went there for lunch and ordered an Italian beef, hold the giardiniera peppers and add Swiss cheese. The result was an excellent French dip!

Sunday, June 16, 2019

Investments for Hard Times...

Automotif CLXII...

1964 Chevrolet El Camino, photographed with Nikon D700.
I've always had a fondness for the various weird open-bed car/trucks. Rancheros and El Caminos, Rampages and Rabbits...

When I saw this super-straight 2nd Gen El Camino as we were leaving the parking lot at Target today, I asked Bobbi if she would stop and let me hop out to take its picture, and she kindly obliged.

Considering that she'd also sat patiently at Half Price Books while we waited on them to tally up an offer for the several boxes of books I'd brought in, this was above and beyond the call.

Saturday, June 15, 2019

...and then the realization hit me...

Thursday, June 13, 2019

Neighbor & Puppers

Spotted waiting these happy puppers keeping their hooman company outside the local Fresh Market the other day. Photographed with Ilford Pan F Plus 50 film in a Nikon N80 with a 24-120mm f/3.5-5.6 AF-D.

Zero-Sum Politics: Team Sport Edition

Had a range day yesterday morning...

...mostly for photographing stuff.

The SBR'd Sig Sauer MPX with the Romeo 8T sight is a hoot.

I tried some different things, moving a bit out of my comfort zone taking photos. For this one, instead of standing off with the 24-105mm f/4L IS USM* or even farther out with the 70-200mm, I got all up in his space with the wide-angle zoom (an old 17-35mm f/2.8L) and got shooter, gun, and target all in the frame.

I think for long guns shooting reactive targets, especially, this technique could turn out some neat shots and I'm anxious to play with it more. I'm wanting to get the shooter, shotgun, ejected shell, and busted clay all in a shot...

*The 24-105 is rapidly becoming one of my favorite lenses. It's great on a full-frame body, but even on a crop-sensor Canon it's got a pretty useful focal range, becoming the equivalent of a 38-168. That's goes from the wide end of "normal" to a reasonably useful telephoto on the long end. For the sorts of photography I usually do around the neighborhood, it's actually better on a crop sensor.

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Now & Then

When George Eastman, founder of the Eastman Kodak Company, introduced the Kodak #1 camera in 1888, photography became vastly more convenient. With a sale price of $25 (roughly $700 today), the camera was preloaded with a 100-frame roll of film. Once finished, the film and camera would be sent back to Kodak for developing. As one Kodak ad from 1889 put it, “Anybody can take photographs with the Kodak.”
The link goes to an interesting New York Times piece that compares a photo essay they ran back in 1951, featuring candids of people out shooting photographs on the streets of the Big Apple, with a photo of people doing the same today. While the folding cameras and 35mm rangefinders have been replaced by DSLRs and smartphones, the similarities are as striking as the differences.

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Gyros Tumbled.

Bobbi is working the weird shift this week.

The easiest solution, which would probably cause the least disruption, would be if I just shifted my schedule out as well. It's theoretically easy enough to do; I can write at night as easily as in the daytime, after all.

However those of you with cats that are fed on a schedule know how well telling the cats "Well, you're getting fed at noon and midnight this week instead of 6AM and 6PM" would work.

So, I'm up to feed the cats right now and then I'll probably try and lay down to get four or five hours sleep until Bobbi wakes up. Then I'll try and get in a couple hours of writing before laying back down for two or three more hours of sleep before the little monsters wake me up for their breakfast.

Which is basically what I did the last couple days, and let me tell you, it does not a thing for my mood or the coherency of my thought processes.

Monday, June 10, 2019

Something you don't see every day...

Some people might not be aware that aluminum beverage cans are lined like this. (Which is what makes it fun when you run into the occasional fedora who still tries to impress with his refined beer palate, declaring that he doesn't like the 'metallic' taste of domestic beers in cans. Whatever, bro. Craft brewing's been trending to pint cans for years now.)

Sunday, June 09, 2019

"STOP TOUCHING IT!" Part the Whateverth...

I swear, if AIDS and ass cancer had a baby, it would look like unnecessarily finger-banging your gun in public restrooms.


Saturday, June 08, 2019


One of my favorite Carroll Shelby quotes was from the early Nineties, after Porsche had shuttered the 959 technology demonstrator program. In an interview, someone asked Shelby about the 959 and Porsche's technological supremacy, and Shelby's reply was dismissive. Paraphrasing, here, but his response was something to the effect of "How much money did Porsche lose on every 959 they sold? You don't think that Toyota or GM has the engineering talent to build a car like that? They do, but they're in the business of making a profit."


When I first became aware of cars as a thing in the early '80s, the auto world in the US was at something of a nadir.

From the giddy horsepower wars of the late Sixties/early Seventies, we'd gone through a couple of shocks. The glory days of the muscle car era had been ended by skyrocketing insurance premiums and safety standards. Hot on the heels of those came a fuel crisis in '73, followed by a second one in the early '80s.

Direct comparison of power numbers between early '80s and late '60s cars is hard, because part of the sweeping federal regulations that transformed the scene in the early '70s changed how car makers advertised engine power.

Prior to 1972, car makers used SAE gross horsepower, which measured a motor on a test stand with all power-sapping accessories like a/c compressors or power steering pumps (and sometimes water pumps) removed. Occasionally automakers would do other tricks to enhance gross horsepower numbers, like running tube headers instead of exhaust manifolds, using low-restriction air intakes instead of silenced street ones, or just making the numbers up out of whole cloth.

Net horsepower ratings required the motor to be in a configuration like one would find actually in the vehicle. Between this requirement and the sudden tightening of emissions rules and raised mandatory fleet fuel economy standards, horsepower numbers plummeted.

Imagine, if you will, a very fortuitous high school graduate of the Class of '71 whose parents told them they could have their choice of a new Mustang, Camaro, or Firebird. The top motors in those cars produced 375, 300, or 335 SAE gross horsepower, respectively. Ten years later, an equally fortunate graduate of the Class of '81 would have seen the the most potent powerplants in those same three cars reduced to 122, 185, and 200 SAE net horsepower.

I remember that in high school, as I got into that car-shopping age demographic and began to bend the focus of my nerdery in that direction, that I considered 130bhp to be the threshold for "a lot", in much the same way that I considered an eight second zero-to-sixty time to be "quick".

These days, the Zed Drei (189bhp) and the Five-Oh (215bhp) are coming up lacking even when compared to generic base model secretary-mobiles from the Mustang and Camaro lines. The current rental lot Mustang has an EcoBoost turbo 4-banger pumping out 310bhp and its rival Camaro sports a 2.0L 275bhp turbo mill.

Friday, June 07, 2019

Well, that's a new perspective...

I guess things could definitely be worse.

New Band Name

Bobbi just learned about "whisper mode" on Alexa, where if you whisper a question to her, she'll whisper the answer back. (And it can't be a stage whisper; if there's any tonality at all, she responds normally.)

Also, my next band's name is "Sessile Whispering Robots".

Thursday, June 06, 2019


Seventy-five years in the past, now. Even the youngest who took part are nonagenarians, and their numbers are growing few.

Tuesday, June 04, 2019

Compare and Contrast...

I hadn't been by L. Neil Smith's page in...well, years. I swung by this morning.

Anyway, I found it interesting to compare this current essay of his with this one from 1995.

Automotif CLXI...

Parked out in front of The Jazz Kitchen on Sunday afternoon was this super-straight '77-'81 Pontiac Bonneville coupe. It's a boat of a car by modern standards, but it's actually downsized from the Peak Boat era of GM B-bodies, 1971-'76, when the Bonneville would have stretched most of nineteen feet from stem to stern and sported a wheelbase long enough to park a pair of Smart ForTwos side-by-side between the axles with inches to spare.

I think this one's a '78 or '79, which would mean the base engine was Pontiac's 301 c.i.d. V-8 smog motor, putting out 135 net hp, with optional 350-, 400-, and 403-cubic inch motors. The latter was a 4-bbl Oldsmobile engine rated at 185 horsepower. Not a ton of grunt by the standards of the '60s-'70s muscle car years, to say nothing of the modern era, but it'd still get out of its own way.

In 1980, the increasingly strict CAFE regs caused GM to downgrade the base motor to Buick's 231 cubic inch V-6. The optional V-8s shrunk to 265- and 301-c.i.d. motors, and the dire Olds 350 diesel V-8, which helped put an entire generation of Americans off the very idea of diesel power.

Monday, June 03, 2019

Overheard In Front Of The Television...

Newscaster: "After another mass shooting, the nation is asking questions..." 
Me (yelling): "The only question I'm asking is why did it take so damned long for someone to start shooting back?"
Only when these yahoos are getting reliably smoke-checked by their intended victims is this attention-seeking behavior going to stop.

This got stopped by good guys with guns, but people got killed waiting for them to show up.

Anybody who mandates you be disarmed in a country full of guns does not have your best interests at heart.


I have to write. I have to go to the bank. I have to go to the DMV. I have to box up books and take them to Half Price Books.

And I'm having one of those days where getting changed out of my pajamas seem like an insurmountable challenge.