Tuesday, October 31, 2023

Gourmet Tater Tots?

Some dude was whingeing about Half Liter BBQ on Yelp.

Who orders tater tots expecting freshly grated Yukon gold spuds artisanally hand rolled between silk cloths by Bavarian tater nuns?

It says “tater tots” right there on the menu, hoss. They’re tater tots.

(Secret Menu Dining ProTip: Half Liter has loaded spuds on the menu, so if you order a side of tots you can also ask for some sour cream on the side and…presto!…you have unlocked the hidden bowl of mini latkes.)


Pontiac G8, two viewpoints...

7mm (43mm equivalent), 1/125th @ f/4.0, ISO 100

The above photo was snapped with a Panasonic DMC-TZ3, a 2007-vintage "travel zoom" camera with a 7MP 1/2.5" CCD sensor.

The photo below was snapped with an Olympus E-3 wearing a Zuiko Digital 14-35mm f/2 zoom lens. The E-3 is a 2007-vintage pro DSLR with a 10MP Four Thirds MOS sensor.

31mm (62mm equivalent), 1/160th @ f/3.2, ISO 100

Both pictures should embiggenate nicely.

It's hard to believe Pontiac's been gone for over a decade now.


Very Eighties

I remember seeing this commercial on the TV when I was a teen!

Part of me occasionally wants to find a nice old original Eighties 600 Hurricane or Ninja, but the other part of me realizes that most of these things have been thrashed within an inch of their lives, and also that I'm long past the days where you bounce instead of break when you hit pavement.


Tomcat or Tomfoolery?

My review of the Beretta 3032 Tomcat Inox is up in its entirety over at RECOIL's website

(Or you could head to your nearest newsstand and purchase a copy of my prose & photography on genuine ground-up, smooshed tree trunks!)

"Without the tip-up barrel feature, the Tomcat’s manipulations would be best suited to someone with a grip like the Incredible Hulk but a glove size like a hobbit."


Monday, October 30, 2023

Tab Clearing...


Different Angles of View

Having recently discovered Jim Grey's "Down the Road" blog and nosed around in his archives, it's been interesting to see another local blogger's take on events here in my world.

I've groused several times about the giant mixed use apartment/office/retail buildings sprouting up in Broad Ripple Village Proper and changing its proper village-y character. He'd posted on the topic, with photos!

I remember posting about the demise of our local grocery chain, and he had thoughts on it, too.

In the more literal sense of "seeing your world through someone else's eyes", he's photographed a lot of the same things and places that have caught the attention of my lenses over the years. It's pretty neat!


Automotif CDXXIX...

In the early Fifties, Chevrolet sold one basic car, the full-size Chevy. In 1953 it came in three basic forms. At the bottom of the totem pole was the 150. This was a stripped down model, largely devoid of chrome trim, mostly intended for fleet and government sales (although not limited to them). It had a largely painted metal interior with rubber floor mats and plain upholstery.

At the other end of the scale was the Bel Air, with lots of chrome inside and out, a carpeted interior, and shiny hubcaps.

In the middle was the 210, like the '53 model seen here parked on College Avenue on Saturday afternoon.

This one, a 2-door sedan (distinguished from the sports coupe by the heavily-framed door glass and B-pillar) features some classic hot rod style touches, like baby moons and the partially blacked-out grille. Most of the luxury frills that were standard on the Bel Air could be ordered as options on the 210.

This one has the 235 cubic inch Blue Flame Six engine, with a 7.5:1 compression ratio and a single 1-bbl carburetor, putting out 115 SAE gross horsepower through a 2-speed Powerglide automatic transmission. Popular Mechanics at the time clocked a 4-door '53 Bel Air with this powertrain at 19.6 seconds zero-to-sixty and 21.9 through the quarter mile.

This one's been spotted around the neighborhood a couple times before, but I'll always make time for it.

This time I snapped it with the Olympus E-5 & PanaLeica 14-150mm f/3.5-5.6.


Sunday, October 29, 2023

Over at the other other blog...

The second half of my look at the Olympus E-300 EVOLT, the second DSLR from Olympus, is up at the other other blog.


Power Glide

In 1953, an automatic transmission was still enough of a novelty that you'd want to make sure passers-by knew your car sported one.

1953 Chevy 210
Olympus E-5
Panasonic Leica D Vario-Elmar 14-150mm f/3.5-5.6 Asph Mega OIS

Challenging conditions...

The heavy overcast yesterday morning combined with the long lenses I was using meant that I was shooting with the ISO on the cameras bumped up to 800-1600 in order to keep shutter speeds reasonably fast.

This was especially important with the Nikon D3, because the old push-pull 80-200mm f/2.8 zoom lens lacked any stabilization. A rough rule of thumb is that to properly hand-hold a shot without noticeable blur, you want the denominator of the shutter speed to exceed the focal length in millimeters. In other words, faster than 1/50th at 50mm, 1/100th at a hundred, et cetera. 

Past about 135-150mm, it's best to err on the side of caution, and I tried to keep my shutter speeds at 1/250th or better with the Nikon, especially because I was hand-holding a 2.73 pound camera with another 2.6 pounds of glass hanging off the front end.

This meant I was shooting at f/2.8 to f/3.5 most of the time, which doesn't give you a lot of depth of field to work with and frankly the old screw-drive autofocus lens struggled to keep up. I missed a lot of shots and when you had a pack of runners, only the center few would be in crisp focus with everyone in front of and behind them all fuzzy.

I only got a couple really decent shots with it.

The other camera I brought was the 2.63 pound Canon EOS 1D Mark IV.

The 1.68 pound* 70-200mm f/4L IS lens on the Canon was stabilized and could run at slightly slower shutter speeds. Further, like all Canon EOS autofocus lenses, it uses a focusing motor built into the lens rather than relying on a motor in the camera body like the old AF Nikkor. In the case of the 70-200/4L, this is Canon's fast and nearly silent "USM" ultrasonic motor.

I got a lot more keepers with the Canon.

I had a pretty enjoyable time and posted a bunch of pics to my Facebook page if you want to see more.

*For those following along at home, that's ten pounds of gear hanging from straps around my neck, which got pretty fatiguing after an hour and a half, let me tell you.


Saturday, October 28, 2023


I ducked out of the house early this morning to see if I could get some shots of the Monumental Marathon.

While the course didn't come as close to the house as that of the Drumstick Dash, it was fairly nearby. The runners came north up Washington Boulevard, turned east on 58th Street, and then back north again on College Avenue. 

So the corner of 58th and College, only a short hop away on the Broad Ripple SUV, was roughly the twelve-and-a-quarter mile mark of the race.

I got over there while they were still setting up...

It was a cool morning, about 55°F, heavily overcast with a good breeze out of the north. Good running weather.

Pretty soon, along came the lead motorcycle...

Followed by the frontrunner, well in front of the pack.

There was a pretty good clump of dudes behind him. But they were a ways back...

I have a bunch of pictures to sort through and process this afternoon...


Automotif CDXXVIII...

At first I thought I'd seen this particular '94-'96 Buick Century running around the 'hood before, but no. That one was Dark Cherry Metallic with faux wire wheel hubcaps and this one's Ruby Red Metallic with what look to be steel sport wheels. Looking at both cars, the front passenger door rub strip appears to be a known failure point for this model*.

The Century was supposed to have been discontinued in 1990, replaced by the new Regal, which rode on the same new aerodynamic front wheel drive GM W-platform as the Lumina, Cutlass, and Grand Prix.

The Century still sold like gangbusters though, especially to rental fleets, and the tooling on the old A-body cars was long amortized, so they soldiered on with only a minor facelift.

In my headcanon, some young designer got tapped to design the snout of a "potential future Buick sedan with retro cues" and so he penned a shape with a bit of an aggressive undercut reminiscent of 5- and 6-series BMWs combined with flush aero headlamps and a graceful grille that showed a trace of that classic Buick waterfall look...

And then, to his horror, management took that attractive snout and slapped it on the front end of the '91 Centuries, to "freshen them up".

From the leading edge of the hood on back, the rest of the car is the same dull, boxy, angular Century it had been since 1982.

Photographed with a Nikon D7100 & 16-80mm f/2.8-4E VR.

*That other Century had what looked like a two-letter badge on the rear fender back by the taillight. I couldn't exactly make it out, but it looked like a round letter and a squiggly letter. Did that dude put "GS" badges on his boxmobile? I opened it in Photoshop and blew it up before I realized that he'd just lost the "NTURY" off the right rear fender nameplate.

Friday, October 27, 2023

A jog around the blogs...

Just a quickie post of the type that SayUncle used to call "All Linky, No Thinky":


Automotif CDXXVII...

To my mind, few cars are more emblematic of the "Malaise Era" than the 1975-1980 MG MGB, like this example in Dark British Racing Green.

The poor little roadster was hit by a one-two punch of EPA emissions regs and NHTSA safety requirements.

Emissions regulations inserted a catalytic converter in the exhaust and caused compression to be reduced to 8.0:1. Breathing through a single Zenith-Stromburg 1-bbl carburetor, the undersquare (3.16" bore to 3.5" stroke) little 1.8L four cylinder could only wheeze out 62.5 SAE net horsepower, what with the platinum potato stuffed in the tailpipe. By comparison, a catalytic convertor-less '76 model on the other side of the Atlantic still had an 8.8:1 compression ratio and a brace of SU carbs and put out 83 horses. Still not a lot, but every pony makes a big difference on a car this tiny.

The safety regs had caused the cars graceful chrome bumpers to be replaced with rubber-coated monstrosities that could pass the 5 mph impact tests. They also bumped the curb weight up to 2300 pounds. Further, the headlights were too low to pass US safety standards so, rather than redo all the sheet metal on the front of the car, BMC just jacked the ride height up by an inch, giving the car a weird "on stilts" look and wrecking the handling.

Still, by 1976 it was one of the only convertibles you could buy in the U.S. and went for under five grand, about the same price as a '76 Mustang II Mach 1, which only let you pine for the sky while staring through a glass moon roof.

The photos were snapped with an Olympus E-5 & Panasonic Leica 14-150mm f/3.5-5.6 zoom lens.


Saved by the BUG...

Things got sporty out on Indy's east side last night, with the city's fourteenth officer-involved shooting of 2023 happening in a Burger King near 21st and Shadeland.

A dude ran from the cops and ducked into the fast food joint. The po-po followed him inside...
"Two officers found the man near the bathroom in the Burger King. Each officer reportedly grabbed one of the man's arms it an attempt to place him into handcuffs. A struggle ensued and the officers and suspect ended up on the ground.

At some point, Bailey said, the suspect grabbed the officer's service weapon and a shot was fired from that gun, allegedly by the suspect. That shot struck a male officer in the leg. The officer grabbed his secondary weapon and shot the suspect at least once. "When he grabbed the officer's weapon and disarmed it, he said, 'You're going to die,' or something like that," Bailey said.

It's a good thing the officer carried a backup gun and that he was able to access it. You'll notice the fight started with everybody standing up, but quickly went to the ground before the gunplay even started.


Thursday, October 26, 2023

Automotif CDXXVI...

Here's a 1987-1990 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am GTA in Flame Red Metallic. 

1988 had seen a mild styling refresh for the 3rd Gen Firebirds, the most notable part of which was that the aero effects became better blended with the car rather than an add-on. Pontiac hadn't yet fully succumbed to the scoops-and-ribbed-cladding virus, so the cars were busier-looking than the sleek original '83-'84 T/A's, but nothing like the swollen grotesqueries that would follow in the Nineties.

The new-for-'87 Trans Am GTA came standard with the WS6 suspension package and the 215-horse L98 Tuned-Port Injection 350cid V-8, which was only available with an automatic transmission. (You could get a 205 horsepower TPI 305 and a five-speed as a three hundred dollar credit delete.)

Unfortunately the GTA was also larded up with every luxo option in the GM catalog and it needed every one of those ponies...and still got sand kicked in its face by 5.0L Mustang LX's and kids in strippo Firebird Formulas with 5.0 TPI mills and manual transmissions.

Sorry for the potato-quality photo, but I drive by this car frequently and I've been meaning to get a pic of it for yoinks and yesterday was the day. The only problem is that I had the Nikon 1 V2 & 1 Nikkor 18.5mm f/1.8, which has the equivalent to a 50mm field of view and I was snapping the pic out the rolled-down window of my Mustang, so the photo has the bejeezus cropped out of it.


Grammar Fascist

The term "nazi" is so overused these days, so I'm using the next-most-overused alternative.

Anyway, as a blogger and freelance writer who tends to write in a highly vernacular style and who often employs...er, eccentric uses of punctuation to assist in transmitting that conversational tone, I found this blogger's take on the editing process to be interesting:
"So I developed a hierarchy of editing that let me do the most good with the time I had. My first pass through someone’s text fixed problems of organization and structure, making the text more expository. My second pass fixed problems of logic and fact that would confuse or mislead readers. My third pass fixed errors of syntax and style. My final pass fixed grammar, spelling, and punctuation errors. I stopped editing when I ran out of time – and I seldom made it to the final pass."
Editing is arcane magic from where I'm sitting. 

As a writer, I tend to tear stuff off in one long sitting and send it winging off to the editor still steaming hot with only minor tweaking. They'll beat on it with hammers once it gets on their desk, so as long as I've expressed my thoughts clearly and spelled everything write... rite... correctly, I figure I'm ahead of the game.

(FWIW, his blog is so full of old cars and cameras that I've added it to the sidebar.)



We're in that time of year where I treat every ray of sunshine, every degree of warmth above 60°F, as something to savor, as though I'm saving it up agains the long nights and cold gray days to come.

Yesterday afternoon I pedaled the Broad Ripple SUV over to Half Liter's beer garden and sat in the sun for a spell.

I wasn't alone either. For instance, this very good girl was there and she was only too happy to pose for my Nikon 1 V2 & 1 Nikkor 32mm f/1.2 combo.

I got my personal solar batteries good and charged up. If the weatherman isn't lying, I may be able to do it again today.


1984 Redux

Apparently Sandra Newman has written a novel titled Julia, a retelling of 1984 from the point of view of Winston's seditious and subversive main squeeze.

The reviews look good. I'll throw a copy on the "To Read" pile and let y'all know what I think.

(Orwell's original is only a buck ninety nine on Kindle, BTW, so it's a no-brainer to have in your E-library.)


Wednesday, October 25, 2023

Automotif CDXXV...

The third generation of the Ford Thunderbird, which debuted as a 1961 model, sported super-clean lines that were a tremendous improvement over the baroque rolling Wurlitzer look of the '58-'60 models.

The one in the photos is a 1962 Ford Thunderbird Sports Roadster in Diamond Blue.

The Sports Roadsters shipped with a hard fiberglass tonneau cover that faired into the front seat headrests, turning the car into a two-seater. It didn't interfere with the operation of the convertible top while installed and could be removed if you wanted to use the rear seat, like the car in the photos.

Other telltales for the Sports Roadster model are the unique badges under the "Thunderbird" script on the front fenders, and the 48-spoke Kelsey-Hayes wire wheels with genuine knock-off hubs.

You know who had a '62 Ford Thunderbird Sports Roadster? Elvis Presley, that's who.

The 3rd Generation T-birds featured prominently in JFK's Inauguration Day parade (no doubt helped by Ford man McNamara getting tapped for Kennedy's cabinet.) Sporting only vestigial tail fins and large round taillights reminiscent of turbine exhausts, their jet-age lines were perfect for the era.

Ford made over 78,000 T-birds for the 1962 model year, of which only 1,427 were Sports Roadsters. All but a handful were powered by a 390 cubic inch version of Ford's FE big-block V-8, with a 4-barrel carb and a 9.6:1 compression ratio, rated at 300 SAE gross horsepower. That handful were the ultra-rare "M-code" cars, with three 2-bbl carburetors, 10.6:1 compression, and 340 horses. Only 120 Sports Roadsters were built with the tri-power M-code motor.

 These photos were taken with a Nikon D2X and 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6 VR II zoom lens.


I LOL'ed...

Dave Merrill comes up with the best article titles. His piece on the SKS-M, which eats out of AK mags, is titled "The Hottest Cashier at Dollar Tree", which is almost as funny as the one for his MAC-10 review: "The Trailer Trash Uzi".


Urban Myth...sorta.

Alligators lurking in the sewers of Manhattan is one of the hoariest urban legends there is. It even spawned a godawful B-grade monster movie in 1980, which is everything you'd expect from that schlockiest era of cinema.

It seems that, as with most legends, there's a tiny kernel of truth from which it sprouted...
He discovered an ad from the 1930s in Popular Mechanics offering live baby alligators for $1.50 to sate a “rage for Baby Alligator pets” sweeping the country.

“Just hatched in the deep marshlands of the South, at an amazingly low price. These corking little pets will be shipped to you by mail, carefully packed — safe arrival guaranteed,” the ad read.

On Feb. 9, 1935, a group of teenagers in East Harlem spotted a gator down a storm drain, lassoed it and pulled it up with a clothesline — all eight feet and 125 pounds, according to the New York Times. When it snapped at them, they beat it to death with shovels.

“I’ve described this as New York City’s greatest true-ish urban legend,” Michael Miscione, who served as the Manhattan borough historian from 2006 to 2019, told Time Out in February. “It is an urban legend because there aren’t any alligators in the sewers, but there was at least one alligator in the sewer.”


Antisocial Media

People have been talking over one another online in every conceivable form since the beginnings of the internet. Digital bulletin-board systems—proto–group chats, you could say—date back to the 1970s, and SMS-style group chats popped up in WhatsApp and iMessage in 2011. Most social networks now allow users to create multi-person direct messages. But at some point in the late 2010s, as many of us grew exhausted with the process of broadcasting every stray thought to huge, algorithmically sorted audiences, group chats began to take on a new relevance.

As New York magazine put it in 2019, group chats became “an outright replacement for the defining mode of social organization of the past decade: the platform-centric, feed-based social network.” If virality and ad-based platforms felt extractive, the group chat was its opposite: restorative, even sacred. It’s a form of communication that often feels like a lifeline to people, and unlike the Facebook feed or Twitter, where posts can be linked to wherever, group chats are a closed system—a safe and (ideally) private space. What happens in the group chat ought to stay there.
This rings true. I have quite a few friends who have, for one reason or another, burned out on conventional social media. How do we stay in touch? Via various forms of group chats, of course.


Tuesday, October 24, 2023

M's dead, baby.

We've known it was coming for a while, but now it's official. Canon's discontinued the EF-M line, their first stab at a mirrorless system camera.

This has been the most protracted death scene since our elementary school theater production of Romeo & Juliet.

RIP Canon M: 2012-2023

Once the full-frame RF mount cameras debuted in 2019 the writing was on the wall. Canon hasn't introduced a really new EF-M camera in years...the M50 Mark II of 2020 was just a feature update of the earlier camera, so the M has been de facto discontinued for years, you just don't want to make that announcement until you've moved all the product you have in inventory lest you scare off buyers. (The M200 and M50 II boxed sets on the shelves at Mart-mart are likely already a couple years old.)

I sold my M bodies and lenses off a year or so ago, but if you wanted to get into the stuff and don't mind using an unsupported system, now might be a good time to go shopping...
So if you are still using the EOS-M system, I suggest looking around and buying that lens or two that you had your eye on. Because we all know, it's not as if your existing camera is going to stop working once Canon discontinues it. Good deals can be had for both new and used cameras. Just be aware that you are buying into a system with no future. Used lens prices on popular reselling sites should also be fairly cheap as people will be selling off their kits and moving to, well, somewhere.
BezosMart has refurb M50 II's for not crazy money, and lenses are inexpensive. Get an adaptor and you can use the whole library of Canon EF and EF-S DSLR lenses with native functionality.


Pint-Size Predator

Well, actually Holden isn't all that pint-sized, but "gallon-sized predator" suffers sorely from an absence of alliteration.

The photos were taken by available light using a Nikon 1 V2 & 1 Nikkor 32mm f/1.2 lens.

Classic Blaster

The latest Classic Carry piece at RECOIL: Concealment is about Colt's 1903 Pocket Hammerless (which isn't really hammerless and requires a heckin' big pocket):
"The sights on the M1903 were as was common for their time, which is to say they were rudimentary. There was a skinny little half moon of a front sight, about the size of a toenail clipping set end-on on the slide, and a rear notch that was every bit as skinny. If you want to know why Sykes and Fairbairn were advocating weirdo point-shooting techniques, it’s because they had about 20 rounds of ammo per dude to train recruit officers to hit a bad guy from two wingspans away in a dark alley using these very sights. It’d be almost as effective to forcefully lob the gun at the perp at those distances."
It should be on a newsstand near you any day now.

Monday, October 23, 2023

Local Color

1953 Chevrolet 210 2-door sedan

A splendid late October Sunday afternoon in SoBro. You could sit on the patio at Fat Dan's, listening to the Bears game on the speakers, reading Men at Arms by Terry Pratchett, and watch the world roll by...

Snapped with a Canon EOS 7D & EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS lens.


Automotif CDXXIV...

A Facebook friend made the comment "fun looking little sports car", to which I replied that a 427 Cobra is a fun little sports car in the same way Genghis Khan was an extroverted little Asian dude. 

It was sunny and in the mid sixties on Saturday and this dude was making the most of it. Not too many more weekend days like this left here in Indy before the roadsters hibernate for a couple months. 

Those side pipes sound like rolling armageddon. It's glorious.

These were shot with a Nikon D2X & 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6 VR II and will embiggenate quite nicely. 


The Dog Ate Hamas's Homework...

A few days ago Hamas ran to the world's press waving the bloody shirt of a claimed Israeli airstrike that had flattened a hospital and killed hundreds of innocent Gazans sheltering or being treated there.

Many of the world's leading press organizations, to their discredit, rushed to report the story. There were perverse incentives to do so, of course. You didn't want to get scooped by the other guy, and humanitarian tragedy always pulls in the eyeballs. Besides, it was being reported by official Hamas spokespeople, from the government...both de facto and de jure...of Gaza.

There was almost immediate pushback from the Israeli military, who claimed that they did not drop any munitions anywhere near the hospital, as well as US and Israeli intel sources, who began producing evidence that the explosion, such as it was, was a short round from a rocket barrage fired by another Palestinian terror organization that landed in the hospital parking lot. Also, the claims of horrific casualties were, well, pretty dubious.

Many of the world's leading press organizations, to their credit, ran off to do some of that journalism stuff and, well, Hamas is backing and filling at an impressive rate, changing their story on the fly...
But in the days since, as new evidence contradicting the Hamas claim has emerged, the Gazan authorities have changed their story about the blast. Spokespeople have released death tolls varying from 500 to 833, before settling on 471.

The Hamas-run health ministry has also declined to release further details about those 471 victims, and all traces of the munition have seemingly vanished from the site of the blast, making it impossible to assess its provenance. Raising further questions about Hamas’s claims, the impact site turned out to be the hospital parking lot, and not the hospital itself.

On Sunday, Hamas turned down requests by The Times to view any available evidence of the munition it said had struck the hospital, claiming that it had disintegrated beyond recognition.

“The missile has dissolved like salt in the water,” said Ghazi Hamad, a senior Hamas official, in a phone interview. “It’s vaporized. Nothing is left.”

Salama Maroof, the head of the Hamas-run government media office, said in a text message: “Who says we’re obligated to present the remnants of every rocket that kills our people? In general, you can come and research and confirm for yourself from the evidence we possess.”
Uh huh. Sure, bud.


Real Men of Genius

So the guy who owns the 5th busiest website by traffic, one that relies on advertising and is constantly trying to panhandle you for eight bucks a month because it's hemorrhaging money, wonders why the 7th busiest website by traffic, which doesn't sell ads and is entirely supported by donations...is asking for donations.

"Hey, Elmo! Why do you need all that money to operate Twitter? You can literally fit its source code on your phone!"

Smartest guy in the room, you betcha.

Turns out that he knows roughly as much about website infrastructure as he does about launch pads.


Sunday, October 22, 2023

Automotif CDXXIII...

The 1979-1991 Ford Country Squires were the end of the road for the full-size Ford station wagon with the classic woodgrain trim look.

By then, the "full size" Ford wagon had been moved to the new Panther platform, which meant it was on a wheelbase about the same size as that of a mid-Sixties Fairlane wagon and shorter than an early-Seventies Gran Torino's, both of which had been midsize cars for their eras.

The front end on this one marks it as a '79-'87 model, before the '88 styling refresh gave it a slightly more aero nose. Nosing around the internet and looking at year-to-year grille changes has me tentatively identifying it as a 1987 model, which would mean it has the 5.0L multi-port EFI V-8 rated at 150bhp (160 with the towing package).



Friday morning's range session finished up the 2k with the Echelon. Putting the finishing touches on the words today and sending them in, as well as doing photographs to accompany the article.

Monday morning I have to get back to work with the Taurus 856 TORO and Holosun 507k combo.


Saturday, October 21, 2023

Automotif CDXXII...

Way back in 1986, Porsche released the all-wheel-drive 959, a limited-production hypercar that was a rolling showcase of what was then the most cutting-edge automotive technology Zuffenhausen could produce.

Powered by an intercooled twin-turbo 2.8L flat six with water-cooled heads that put out 444 SAE net horsepower (at a time when the 911 Turbo had an air-cooled 282bhp 3.3L motor), the 959 stickered for $225,000 in 1986 dollars and Porsche lost money on every one of the 330-something that they built.

Meanwhile, in the above photo, is a fairly recent 911 Turbo S. It's also all-wheel-drive, and has an intercooled twin-turbo 3.8L water-cooled flat six that's putting out 552 SAE net HP.

And unlike the 959, it's street legal in the US without going through a bunch of gray market nonsense.


You're not entitled to your own facts.

So, there was this guy claiming that "librarians gleefully threw Cat In The Hat [sic] on the bonfire".

When called on his falsehood, he got snippy.

I have no interest in visiting his blog to "argue further" because there's nothing to argue, as the thing he is claiming happened only happened in his imagination.

Let's help out Matt's short memory: 

What actually happened is that Dr. Seuss Enterprises, the company that manages Theodor Geisel's estate, asked Random House, the company that prints his books, to take six titles (And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street, If I Ran the Zoo, McElligot's Pool, On Beyond Zebra!, Scrambled Eggs Super!, and The Cat's Quizzer) out of print, due to illustrations and/or words that they felt portrayed dated and negative ethnic stereotypes.

You will note the complete absence from the actual facts of the following three things: librarians, bonfires, and The Cat in the Hat.

Now, you can agree with this decision or not (I personally find it pretty questionable and feel that it smacks of overreaction) and you are certainly entitled to your own opinion.

But you aren't entitled to your own facts.


Tacos Con Carne Y Cabello

I know people who, on roadtrips through the hinterland, insist on sticking to national chains on the theory that they are less likely to get some exotic sort of food poisoning that way, but that's not always a guarantee of anything either.

I've pulled off the interstate into a drive thru in Meth America, looked around at the condition of the grounds & parking lot, and decided to dine on a Slim Jim and a bag of pizzeria-flavored Combos from the local Gas & Sip for lunch rather than taking my chances on a Big Mac and a side of ptomaine.


Friday, October 20, 2023

Very Online

There's no better example of the politics of the Very Online rendering government dysfunctional than the ongoing farce that is the House GOP's attempt to elect a Speaker.

Take this howler of a quote from Keith Self, R-TX:

Bro, I hate to break it to you but most people don't know who Jim Jordan is*. If I polled twenty people at random at the corner bar, ten would probably answer "Uh... Michael Jordan's dad?"

Of the ten who did know who he was, five would think he was a seditious loon, three would think he was "okay, I guess, because at least he's a Republican?" and two would sound like this: 

When you've got thoroughly gerrymandered districts that vote R +30 or D +20 in general elections, then the primary challenge becomes the biggest threat, and the people who turn out to vote in primaries skew heavily toward the Lady In The Video demographic.

Which is why we get inane purity spirals. If you wanna keep doing cool Congressperson stuff in DC, where there are cigar bars and sushi joints, you gotta constantly defend your Right flank or risk having to go back to your day job in rural Nebraska chasing ambulances or selling insurance or whatever.

*And why should they? He's a Representative from Ohio, FFS. I'll give someone an A in Civics if they know the names of their own Representative and the Speaker of the House. They'll get an A+ if they know their whole state's House delegation, especially if it's more than five or six reps. I'll bet you can't name your whole state's House delegation. I think I can only name three or four of Indiana's nine.


Thursday, October 19, 2023

Automotif CDXXI...

Here's a very late Sixties Volkswagen Karmann Ghia... I think it's a '68 or '69, based on the headrests on the seats and the rear side marker lamps, both required by the then-new FMVSS.

These two ladies are enjoying a sunny seventy degree mid-October afternoon, probably one of the last really good top-down cruising days of 2023 in Indy.

I was enjoying probably one of the last really nice car-spotting days of 2023 on the patio at Fat Dan's with my Canon EOS 1D Mark IV & EF 24-105mm f/4L IS.


Game Changer?

Holy cow, Garmin has released a highly-portable radar chronograph with a $599 MSRP.

That would be such a game changer for me. I've had articles run right against the ragged edge of a deadline due to needing to wait for a break in the weather so I could set up my old Shooting Chrony Beta in one of the pistol bays at Marion County Fish & Game. 

When the pistol bays were down for maintenance earlier this summer, I had to set up my chrono on a tripod on the main firing line...and hope nobody else got there that early in the morning to turn the process of shooting and recording three ten-round strings into an all-morning festival of tedium of calling the range cold, scuttling down with my notebook, scuttling back, calling the range hot again, et bloody cetera.

With a radar-based chrono, I could use the indoor range at Indy Arms Co. right down the street, weather be damned.


Wednesday, October 18, 2023

Click Click Boom

Having finally scored a working copy of the nearly unobtainium 1 Nikkor 32mm f/1.2 portrait lens for the Nikon 1 system, I did something a little silly.

Roberts, my local camera store, had a black Nikon 1 V1 and a matching Speedlight SB-N5 in their used department and the pair was only a little over a hundred bucks. I already had the more modern Nikon 1 V2, but it was white, so it didn't match the black lens barrel of the 32mm. Gotta match, right?

Fitted with a Peak Design Leash it's a compact little package and people seem to find it non-threatening.

Alas, Huck got impatient before dinner one day a week or two ago when I was lounging on the futon and the little Nikon rig was sitting on the TV tray next to me. A loud *clunk* announced that the camera had crashed to the hardwood floor in the living room as Huck engaged in some attention-seeking behavior hoping to hurry mealtime along.

The flash and lens still work, as does the camera, but some internal connection got jarred and the rear screen on the camera no longer does. The internal electronic viewfinder still works fine, although it's a little awkward to try and scroll through various menus while squinting into the eyepiece.

Ah, well... Life goes on.



I don't go to public ranges on the weekend because they're way too crowded with normies and their questionable gun-handling habits, and I missed my Monday morning range session because I was home sick, so I'm really rushing to get this 2k test finished.

That meant showing up at Indy Arms Co. yesterday morning with two hundred rounds of Winchester 124gr FMJ...

Even in 9mm, two hundred rounds just stuffed into magazines and dumped downrange as fast as possible...probably over the course of twenty minutes or so...is a lot of shooting. I sometimes feel it in my wrist and the base of my thumb these days, and it's a reminder that I probably need to get more religious about taking Osteo Bi-Flex and maybe an extra calcium supplement over and above my regular multivitamin.

Total round count is at 1,450 now.

Tuesday, October 17, 2023

Big Iron...

Hipster Tactical has a pretty cool review of the Ruger P-89 up:

There's also a nice text version if, like me, you ain't got time to sit through no YouTube vid.

The classic P-series Rugers will always have a special place in the squishy, soft-focus nostalgic corner of my mind. A stainless .40 cal, KP-91DAO in Ruger-speak, was my first real name-brand handgun. (We're not counting Grendel or FIE as name brands, here.) A Ruger P-series was the first pistol I wore on my belt behind the counter of a gun store, in a Bianchi AccuMold pancake holster, if I recall correctly.

I did a 2,000 round test* on a used P-series blaster before writing it up for RECOIL's "Crap Shoot" column.

Best of all, the photo of that... let's call it "well-loved" ...pistol that I took for the column wound up immortalized on the cover of Mas Ayoob's latest book!

*Spoiler Alert: zero malfunctions.