Thursday, November 30, 2023

Meme Dump

Important Internet Tip!

All those anonymous Gmail burner accounts you've used for trolling people's faces off or logging into dubious web fora are going to get deleted tomorrow if you haven't logged into them in the past two years.

If you want to use those personas again, make sure to dig your old passwords out and log in to them today to reset the shot clock.


Gratuitous Gun Pr0n #248...

Currently underway are reviews of the Avidity Arms PD10 for RECOIL: Concealment and the Girsan MC-14 for Shooting Illustrated.

It's still pretty early in the process for both. I've got a hundred rounds of Hornady Critical Defense .380 through the Girsan and two hundred rounds of Remington 9mm 124gr FMJ through the PD10, all of it just blasting away at seven yards on the indoor range at Indy Arms Company.

Wednesday, November 29, 2023

A Jog Around the Blogs...

  • A solid rule of thumb for the private citizen in a self-defense situation is "Don't pursue the bad guy." When someone tries to force entry into your home or assault you in your driveway, you're going to be mad. If they run, you'll almost instinctively want to chase them. Don't. If you turn the tables and they leave, you've achieved your victory conditions for the scenario. Leave the rest to the po-po.

  • The Online Photographer blog has turned eighteen!

  • Marko has received a token of esteem.


Automotif CDXLVI...

All through the Fifties, Detroit's "Big Three" produced pretty much nothing but big cars. Longer, lower, and wider were the watchwords for every model year. 

While the various marques of Ford, General Motors, and Chrysler sold varying models in that decade, they were all just variations on the same full-size platforms.

Not every consumer wanted a car that big, though, and they came with other problems. If you live in a neighborhood like Broad Ripple, where many of the garages predate the '50s, you can see the alterations that were made to some garages that had been built during the age of the Model A to allow them to accommodate the much longer new cars. It's also daunting to imagine navigating these narrow streets in a tailfin-bedecked twenty-foot chromasaurus with numb on-center steering and a hood ornament 'way out there in another zip code from the front seat.

The smaller manufacturers like American Motors and Studebaker offered smaller cars, and sales of imports like Germany's Volkswagen began to take off and Detroit realized they were leaving money on the table, so all the Big Three launched compacts in the early Sixties. The Fords and Mopars were fairly conventional shrunken versions of their full-size cars, but Chevy went with something truly different.

The Corvair used an air-cooled horizontally-opposed six cylinder motor mounted aft of the rear axle. In an era of increasingly large V-8s, the 140cid 80hp Turbo-Air six in the 1960 Corvair was a little twee. Note, please, that "Turbo-Air" was just the name hung on by the marketing department; actual turbocharged Corvairs were still a couple years off.

Chevrolet launched the Corvair as a full line of vehicles: Sedans, coupes, convertibles, station wagons, even vans and pickup trucks.

While sales started off briskly, they started trailing off almost immediately. The non-turbo Corvairs were woefully underpowered, handling could be quirky, and the sedan and coupe versions lacked any pillarless hardtops which were very much in vogue at the time. The wagons and pickups had to have higher load floors to clear the engine.

The cars were redesigned for the 1965 model year. The wagons and trucks were dropped, hardtops were added, and the new cars had gorgeous lines, more power, independent rear suspensions...but nobody cared much.

Ralph Nader's book Unsafe at Any Speed is sometimes credited with the demise of the Corvair, but when it came out in '65, it was basically just throwing dirt on the coffin. Small sedan buyers were buying Falcons and Valiants, while sporty coupe buyers were snapping up Ford Mustangs as fast as Dearborn could churn them out.

Chevy halted further development of the rear-engined oddity and concentrated on their Chevy II compact and the forthcoming Camaro small sporty coupe. The Corvair was left to coast through the 1969 model year before finally getting the axe.

The pictured car is a 1966 Chevrolet Corvair Monza 110 convertible in Regal Red with the 164 cubic inch flat-six in 2x1bbl 110hp trim. 

It was photographed with a 36MP Nikon D800 & 24-120mm f/4 VR zoom lens, so those photos can be embiggenated rather a lot.


Tuesday, November 28, 2023


It is nineteen degrees fondly Fahrenheit* out there right now, with a dusting of snow blowing through the air. It hasn't been this cold since last March, so winter is definitely about here.

It is the time of year for long sleeves and thermal underwear, waterproof Merrells instead of the airy and ventilated kind, wool socks instead of cotton.

I also need to think about dragging the daylight spectrum lamp down from the attic and clearing a space for it on the corner of the desk.

*In case you didn't know the origin of the phrase, it's the title of a novella.

Monday, November 27, 2023

Insert modem handshake noise here.

This is your annual reminder that "Cyber Monday" is a shopping day that was only relevant back in the late Nineties. 

Back then you couldn't order from or any time from Thanksgiving day through the following Sunday without worrying about your kids picking up the phone and knocking your USRobotics 14.4k modem off your dialup AOL connection. 

So everybody would put off their online Christmas shopping until they got back to the fat pipe connection at the office on Monday morning, and do their e-commerce gift shopping while they were supposed to be working.

Now that everyone has hot and cold running broadband in their pockets 24/7, the whole idea is a little retro.

Anyway, Happy Cyber Monday to those who celebrate. There are some good deals at BezosMart on Lego sets, Kindle eReaders, security cameras, and Canon lenses.



I've been using the same Early 2015 MacBook Air as my road machine since I bought it from Marko...back in February of 2018, it looks like, at the same time I bought a similar vintage Mac mini which is still serving as my desktop rig.

Apple hardware tends to stay viable for a while, but they're finally old enough that the latest versions of Photoshop won't work on them 100%. Some features need a newer OS and Apple silicon for full functionality.

It'll be a while before I can afford to upgrade both, but a refurb MacBook Air with the M1 CPU should be doable between now and Christmas, and then maybe in January I can swing an M1 mini for the desktop.  

Automotif CDXLV...

Speaking of Mustangs, a couple weeks ago I stopped at Roberts to pick up some prints. Parking out in front of the store, my 1994 Mustang GT wound up nose-to-nose with a 2023 Mustang Mach-E GT.

I'm not a hundred percent comfortable with calling those Mustangs yet. It's not the electric power plant, because Lord knows they're plenty quick and powerful enough, but the four-door crossover SUV look that bothers me. I suppose I'll get used to it eventually; it's Ford's car after all, and they can call it what they want to. Just give me some time. 

I was picking up physical prints of a photo I'd taken with a DSLR. In a perfectly symmetrical world, the Mach-E pilot would have been getting high-res digital scans from film.

Sixty Years of 'Stang

In early 1964, the first Ford Mustangs rolled into dealerships. The 1965 model year at Ford wasn't officially underway yet, so these earliest Mustangs are known as "1964½" models, like the Skylight Blue convertible above.

That particular Mustang has a 260cid V-8, sourced from Ford's midsize Fairlane line. With a two-barrel carburetor and 8.8:1 compression, the little small block was rated at 164 SAE gross horsepower.

Thirty years and three generations later, the Mustang nameplate was on its third platform: The initial Falcon-derived chassis had bloated to almost midsize proportions. The base model '64½ weighed in under 2500 pounds, while the final 1973 'Stangs tipped the scales at over 3500 in even their most spartan trim.

The second generation shrunk to a Pinto-based car that only weighed 2600 pounds in hardtop coupe form. After four years of the Mustang II, the all-new 1979 Mustangs debuted on Ford's Fox platform, the same as the compact Fairmont sedan.

My Laser Red 1994 Mustang GT in the photo above was the first of the fourth generation, called the SN95, thirty years after the the originals. While the basic dimensions of the small block 302 V-8 are shared with the old 260 and 289, it has thirty years worth of improvements. 

Tuned-port injection, electronic ignition, computerized engine management... the 1994's 5.0L H.O. V-8 put out 215 SAE net horsepower with no drama on midgrade pump gas. Bear in mind that under the old SAE gross brochure horsepower numbers, this thing probably would have been advertised as having something closer to 300 and in the days of carbs and no computers it would have taken radical cams, solid lifters, and a high compression ratio necessitating premium gas to put out these numbers.

Another thirty years on we see the first seventh generation Mustangs, like the Vapor Blue 2024 GT coupe above.

It's been three generations since the Mustang shared a platform with anything, and the new S650 7th generation is its own car. The 5.0L under the hood of this '24 has nothing in common with the 5.0 in my '94 except the name and the number and arrangement of the cylinders. It's a 307 cubic inch DOHC 32V motor rated at a whopping 480 net horsepower.

Sixty years is a long run for one nameplate. The only one with a longer uninterrupted run I can think of is Chevrolet's Corvette.

You gotta wonder if there'll be 75th anniversary editions of either one?


Sunday, November 26, 2023

It's a Family Tradition

Every time I get to thinking that the British monarchy is a quaint and harmless tourist attraction of a tradition, I run across a story like this:
Like many so-called traditions, the feudal hangover that is bona vacantia should have been consigned to the dustbin of history centuries ago, but it has been all too tempting for successive royals to preserve this royal fruit machine that pays out again and again. Over the past 10 years, it has collected more than £60m.

Under this system, the Duchy of Cornwall, owned by Prince William, can claim the assets of people who die in Cornwall intestate – without a will – if no relatives can be found. Charles’s Duchy of Lancaster does the same when their last known residence is within what was historically known as Lancashire county palatine.

Edward VIII found cash from those who died intestate in the boundaries of the duchy was sitting in an account in case claims arose against it. He simply stole a million pounds from it, leaving almost nothing in that kitty.

George VI did very well out of the loyal servicemen who died serving their country in the second world war, who originated from within the confines of the duchy and had no will. “For king and country” took on a whole new meaning.
Just reading the linked article made my tea-in-the-harbor throwing muscles twitch reflexively.

The archaic excesses of monarchy were a lot easier to overlook when its public face was the kindly old Liz the Deuce. Her kid Chuck, though, is a thoroughly unlikeable chap who must incite republican twinges in all but the most heavily starched Tories.

It seems like his reign would be an ideal time for Great Britain to spring forward into the mid-Nineteenth Century.


Saturday, November 25, 2023

Automotif CDXLIV...

If one had to pick a year for the peak of the Malaise Era in the American auto market, one would not go far wrong by picking 1982.

That was the year that BMW launched one of the least Bimmer-like motors, designed specifically to boost its corporate average fuel economy (CAFE) numbers in the USA.

They took their high-winding 2.5L inline six and increased the stroke by a quarter inch, bumping the displacement to 2.7L. They also fitted a head with smaller ports, altered the cam profile, reduced the compression to 9.0:1, and added a 4,800 RPM rev limiter.

It was judged that the increase in low-end torque would offset the drop in peak power to 121hp, making for a car better suited to American urban and suburban driving, to say nothing of our Interstates, which were still saddled with the 55mph National Maximum Speed Limit.  

The resulting car was called the 528e, the e standing for "eta", signifying "efficiency". It may have looked like a savage Bimmer sports sedan, but struggled to top 110mph or crack the 10-second barrier in the 0-60 sprint. 

The gold BBS wheels on the Jet Black 1986 528e in the picture are Peak Eighties. I want to pop a vaporwave mix tape in the Blaupunkt and go cruising.


Friday, November 24, 2023

Thanksgiving Dinner

Bobbi did the by-now traditional Roseholme Cottage turducken over hardwood charcoal on the little grill out back.

It was droolworthy as usual.

The turnip, apple, and fennel bulb in which the turducken was cooked.

The feature attraction itself.

The best gravy I've ever had, bar none.


Bobbi has the deets of the preparation over at her blog, in case you were looking for Christmas feast ideas.


Drumstick Dash

Once again, fifteen thousand runners and walkers massed in Broad Ripple on Thanksgiving morning for the Drumstick Dash. This year they raised over a million dollars for Wheeler Mission, moving their feet so others may eat.

You get serious racers...

...and some who are running hard but only racing themselves.

Some folks are out for time with family...

...or friends.

A good time was had by all... including yours truly, who is just tickled pink to have such a great photo op come trotting practically right past the house!

All but one of these photos were shot with the Canon EOS 5DS & 70-200mm f/4L IS.

I tried something new this time by shooting in shutter priority. I figured that 1/500th would be enough to adequately stop motion and I gambled that it would still be reasonably sharp at 200mm, so I put the mode dial in "Tv" ("Time value" in Canon-speak, it's the position on the dial that's marked "S" for "Shutter" on pretty much every other manufacturer's cameras) set the ISO to 200, and rolled the dice.

I'm not unhappy with the results.


QotD: Filters Edition...

From Ben Dreyfuss's Substack, "Calm Down Ben" (which is paywalled but has a free seven-day trial):
"If you have a thought that you would share in person at a party to casual acquaintances, and you have the time and cell reception, you should share it online. Don’t worry about it. Just go. Chase it down a hole. Riff in public and evolve in public. Do not worry about the fact that some of these thoughts will be stupid because everyone has stupid thoughts.

(If you have evil thoughts—like, say Osama bin Laden is good—you probably shouldn’t share them for your own career, but I think the world is better if you share them. At least we know! People who have strong filters and only share what they think “the room wants” could be thinking anything! They could be cannibals. They could be witches. Hate me or love me, but I have no thoughts that I think are Too Hot For Twitter. My worst thoughts are out there.)
I tend to agree. I do prefer it when unsavory jackholes and complete lunatics skyline themselves right up front, rather than keeping their whackitude under a lid and only let it leak out at an uncomfortable moment.


Thursday, November 23, 2023

Tab Clearing...


Red Tail!

I happened to have the Pentax Q-S1 with the 15-45mm f/2.8 06 Telephoto Zoom on it in my jacket pocket yesterday when a red-tailed hawk alit on a street light right in front of me. 

On the little 1/1.7" sensor, that lens is the equivalent of a 70-200mm on a full-frame.

EDIT: My birdwatching friend tells me this is probably a red-shouldered hawk.

The image above is lightly cropped. Un-cropped shots look like the one below.


Happy Thanksgiving!

I'm thankful for all y'all who drop by to read this blog. I hope you have a great holiday filled with good times and good food, enjoyed with the people for whom you're most thankful.

Me? I'm getting ready to go take some photos of the Drumstick Dash and then come home and maybe do some yard work until it's time for turducken!

Wednesday, November 22, 2023

Automotif CDXLIII...

The Park Avenue name originated as a trim level on the Buick Electra 225 toward the end of that car's days. When the "Deuce and a Quarter" was discontinued after the 1990 model year, Buick slapped the moniker on their full-size front wheel drive sedan for 1991, which shared the GM C-body platform with the large offerings from Caddy, Olds, and Pontiac.

The Regal Blue Metallic example in the photo is from the longer, heavier second generation of Park Avenues, which ran from the 1997 to 2005 model years before being discontinued and replaced with the Lucerne. They were powered by the ubiquitous GM corporate 3800 Series II V-6, which could be had in 240hp supercharged form if you sprung for the Park Avenue Ultra. (The Ultra also got you some snazzy Ventiports on the front fenders.)

Interestingly, there was a third generation of Park Avenues, based on the Aussie Holden RWD platform that underpinned the Pontiac G8 and Chevy Caprice PPV, which were sold only in China.

It's interesting that they sold them as the "Park Avenue" in China, although that name probably sounds as exotic in Shanghai or Beijing as naming a car "The Road", but in Spanish, does in Dubuque or Scranton.


You Keep Using That Word...

The television ads for Mike Braun's gubernatorial campaign here in the Hoosier state end with the tagline: "Businessman. Outsider. Conservative."

Bro, you are a United States senator. If there's anything less "outsider" than that, I don't know what it is.

I realize that "outsider" is a magical shibboleth in today's GOP, but you ain't one. You've held one elected office or another for almost a decade at this point.


Tuesday, November 21, 2023

Let There Be Light

I'd dissed the Streamlight Microstream in the past. Lots of friends liked them for their small size and readily-available AAA batteries, but I didn't think that their 28-lumen output was worth putting another pocket wart in my mom jeans.

I'm fine with the EDCL1-T, but even a single-cell CR123 light is kind of a chonk for some folks. It's less noticeable in a pocket than the bigger two-cell lights, but you still know it's there.

500 lumen EDCL1-T vs. original gangsta 28 lumen Microstream

Apparently the latest iteration of the Microstream is just as small as the old one, still powered by the single AAA cell, and now outputs 45 lumens, which may not be a "tactical" output but is more than bright enough for almost any normie flashlight chore. Plus the new pocket clip has a double curve to it so you can also slip it on a hat brim for a task light. And like the good stuff from Surefire and Streamlight, it has the solid, waterproof construction that so many... other ...flashlight companies haven't quite mastered.

Best of all, BezosMart is running an early Black Friday sale, sixty percent off. For $12.54, these things would make hella good stocking stuffers.


Physical Deterioration, Digital Decay

Over at Down the Road, Jim Grey is scanning some negatives he took back in 1982, pictures of friends and memories from his high school days.

This hits a note for me, because I have a huge box of negatives in the attic from my peak photography days in 1990-1992. I was working in one hour photo labs and as a photographer's assistant, and so I got discounted film and prints and free processing. Well, technically processing was supposed to be discounted, too, but no manager I ever worked for cared if you ran your film through the processor during a lull in the workday or charged you to do so, since there was no actual cost to the company for it.

The funny thing is that most of my earliest digital photographs, from the early Mavica days in late '01 up through probably 2007 or so, are inaccessible to me right now. Anything I kept saved to a hard drive is quietly succumbing to bit rot on a dusty Celeron tower in a cobwebby corner of the attic. Anything I didn't save to HDD, well... who knows where those floppies are, assuming I even bothered to save them through two moves?

I've been a much better digital custodian since then, and have photos saved to multiple places, but I really should get a proper on-site RAID setup, rather than using just the single external HDD I am now.

I should also look into scanning some of those old negatives. I mean, I've got photos of Lance Armstrong winning the First Union Grand Prix in Atlanta, his first big race win, in there someplace.

I don't know whether I should get a proper scanner, or just a simple light table and use my phone for a scanner, though...


Monday, November 20, 2023

SoBro has a new book store!

Ever since Big Hat Books up by the Broad Ripple Brewpub went toes up, our neighborhood has been a book desert... (if you don't count the Tiny Little Libraries that are seemingly on every other block around here.)

But now there's Golden Hour Books down at 52nd Street & College Avenue, just south of The Aristocrat pub, in the storefront where National Moto + Cycle used to be.

Bobbi and I visited it last week when she was on vacation to show some support. Here's hoping they make a go of it!


Here is a conversation I could never imagine having as a teenager:
"Mom, if I give you some money will you go buy a gun for me so I can go criming?"

"Sure, honey!"
Apparently, though, that's just hunky-dory in some households.
"The gun was actually purchased for her 16-year-old son, who Clark admitted in court she had reason to believe would use it in a violent crime.

Text messages obtained by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) show Clark communicated with her son about the gun, discussing the model, cost and ammunition needed as the March 13th purchase was in progress.

Further text messages showed Clark had disposed of guns used by her son in previous illegal activity. The messages detailed how Clark purchased the gun to further her son's illegal activity and that she had reason to believe her son shot and robbed people while being involved in gang activity.
This is the sort of "enforcing existing laws" behind which I can get.

I LOL'ed...

I've more or less quit using Twitter since Elmo turned it into 4chan At Home, but there's still the occasional gem to be found...

Sunday, November 19, 2023

Automotif CDXLII...

For the 1961 model year, the full-size Buicks came in three different flavors. There was the top-of-the-line Electra, the middlin' Invicta, and the lower-spec LeSabre. The pecking order was signaled by the number of Ventiports on the fenders: The Electra got four, while Invicta and LeSabre owners could only flash three, which was the same number as on the new compact-size Special/Skylark models.

The LeSabre could be had as a hardtop coupe, hardtop sedan, two-door sedan, or as a four-door sedan like this Rio Red '61 parked on College Avenue the other morning. 

Behind the chrome grille with its floating Tri-Shield badge was Buick's trusty 364 cubic inch "Nailhead" V-8, so-called because of the appearance of its valves, which had long stems and small heads.

The standard '61 LeSabre motor had a 2-barrel carburetor and a 10.25:1 compression ratio, necessitating premium fuel, and was rated at 250 SAE gross horsepower. A no-cost optional engine had a 9:1 compression ratio, allowing the use of regular fuel but dropping output to 235hp.

Alternatively, a LeSabre buyer could spend an extra $22 bucks to kick it up a notch with the Power Pack  version of the 364, which had a 4-barrel Carter carb, dual exhausts, 11.25:1 compression, and 300 horses.

All three motors were backed by the 2-speed Turbine Drive (neé DynaFlow) automatic transmission. Well, we call it an automatic, but it didn't work the way we think of when we talk about modern slushboxes. If you drove it normally in "D", it stayed in the one gear all the time. The "L" ratio could only be selected manually, and if selected, it did not upshift by itself. The driving experience had more akin to a current CVT, at least aurally, than a typical modern automatic, as engine RPM & thus motor noise was governed as much by throttle position as road speed.

I wish I'd thought to get a picture of the dashboard, because this was one of the last years for the Mirromagic dash in full-size Buicks. The instrument panel lay flat in a cove atop the dash and was reflected into a mirror above it, the angle of which could be adjusted for best visibility to any driver's sightline.

Command and Control

Another good podcast from the guys at Tactical Tangents that has applicability outside the LE/.mil fields. Anybody in a supervisory or managerial role can benefit from this stuff.
No team in law enforcement is composed of robotic textbook-following automatons, nor would we want it to be, if we’ve ever found ourselves at 2MPH over the limit. But when a worst-case incident unfolds, we want every first responder to make the right decision at the speed of life, because in those incidents seconds often equal victims. How can we raise the lowest common denominator, so our people make the right decisions quickly without rushing to failure?

In this episode Mike and Jim talk about command and control, and teaching decision-making skills to team members. In this way, when everything hits the fan, the right decisions get made fast, and get made at the right level. There’s a reason for supervisors, commanders, and leaders, but it’s important to know when to let subordinates make decisions. Not every incident is The Big One, but nobody’s ready for The Big One if they haven’t been taught in the small ones.
This pic of Chuck at TacCon '17 doesn't necessarily have anything to do with the podcast, he just looks all command-'n'-controlly here.


Faking Black & White...

I keep the Samsung TL500 set up to record two files with every shot. The camera records one in RAW format, which for Samsung uses the ".SRW" file extension, and one fine quality JPEG. You can set custom color balances for the JPEG like Soft, Vivid, Forest, et cetera. It took me a little bit of scrolling and testing to figure out that "Classic" was Samsung-speak for "Monochrome".

So that's what I use: One RAW file is recorded and a monochrome JPEG. Being as this is a 2010-vintage pocket camera, it takes it a hot minute to write that 24MB .SRW file. If you just wanted to turn the camera on and pop off a quick shot or two then shut it back off, you'll be waiting a few seconds for the green "Busy" LED to stop blinking before it'll retract the lens and power down.

The Classic setting gives you a pretty stark and contrasty B&W effect.

Here's what the scene actually looked like, via the processed RAW file:

Saturday, November 18, 2023

Automotif CDXLI...

Porsche introduced the 911 in 1963, and for the fortieth anniversary of the car in 2003, Porsche made a special run of 1,963 "40 Jahre 911" models.

Here's one of them, most likely car number 0162 according to the registry, exiting the Fresh Market parking lot onto College Avenue.

That's a damned sharp-looking sled.

Photographed with a Canon EOS-1D Mark IV & EF 24-105mm f/4L IS zoom lens.