Monday, June 17, 2024

Automotif DXIV...

Saab's 99 evolved into the 900 for the 1978 model year. Like its predecessor, it had a longitudinally-mounted four cylinder motor up front, driving the front wheels.

The 1987 Saab 900's got a facelift, with integrated bumpers and a more aerodynamic nose.

The 1991 900 Turbo, like this Beryl Green Metallic convertible, got a displacement bump for its 16V turbo inline four, to 2.1L. Now rated at 140 SAE net, the 900 Turbo was actually a fairly sprightly car for its era, although the convertibles were burdened by an almost 300 pound weight penalty over the coupes.


Fixin' to be hot today here in Indy. The weather dude says we're likely to tie the previous record high for the date, 95°F, set back in 1913.

Going to be keeping a close eye on the air conditioning, because this would be a terrible day for it to freeze up.


Sunday, June 16, 2024

Automotif DXIII...

If the badges are to be believed, this Classic White 1970 Chevy Nova is an SS396. If the exhaust note is to be believed, there's some serious business going on under that bulging aftermarket hood.

The '70 model year was the end of the road for the factory big block Nova Super Sports, with the 396 (actually 402 cubes by then) available in either 350hp L34 or 375hp L78 forms. The big motor Novas were kinda in a class of their own by 1970, since Ford didn't even offer a real performance version of its compact Falcon, and the biggest motor in A-body Mopars was the 340, which was a spicy small block, but still a small block.


Saturday, June 15, 2024

Friday, June 14, 2024

"You're not here for the hunting, are you?"

So a teenager here in Indy got busted for ordering seven machine gun conversion devices (six Glock switches and a DIAS) from Hong Kong.

For bonus points, at the time of his arrest he was currently on probation... for illegally possessing a machine gun.

I'm gonna go out on a limb and guess homie wasn't a MENSA member.

Trump's Bump Stock Ban Struck Down

The press is in a real tizzy about the most pointless piece of firearm regulation in the last couple decades getting struck down by SCOTUS.

(And it was pointless no matter what angle you looked at it from. They're dumb and I wouldn't take one if it fell off the back of a truck and landed at my feet, but at the same time they do nothing to make guns more dangerous or "assault-y". They're range toys for turning money into noise. I can already do that with my thumb and a belt loop, neither of which I have a tax stamp for.)

Same guts as Sony!

Boeing & Airbus got stuck with some off-brand titanium, it looks like.
“This is about documents that have been falsified, forged and counterfeited,” said Joe Buccino, a Spirit spokesman. “Once we realized the counterfeit titanium made its way into the supply chain, we immediately contained all suspected parts to determine the scope of the issues.”

The titanium in question has been used in a variety of aircraft parts, according to Spirit officials. For the 787 Dreamliner, that includes the passenger entry door, cargo doors and a component that connects the engines to the plane’s airframe. For the 737 Max and the A220, the affected parts include a heat shield that protects a component, which connects a jet’s engine to the frame, from extreme heat.
When you're reading the list of parts that might be suspect, encountering "the bits that hold the engines to the rest of the plane" will really make you sit up and take notice.

The train of events is very modern and international: Titanium International Group in Italy looked at the certification docs of a batch of Chinese titanium it had purchased from Turkish Aerospace Industries and thought they looked hinky, as did the metal itself. The Italians contacted their customers to warn them and now here we are with an FAA investigation.


Thursday, June 13, 2024

Automotif DXII...

We've had a '78 Indy Pace Car on these pages before. This one's either never had the door decals installed, or lost them in a repaint. I'm going to go with the latter, since it has neither the rear quarter IMS logo decal nor the Limited Edition decals on the fenders, both of which were installed at the factory, unlike the door decals that were dealer-installed. Also, the fender badges seem oddly placed and the rear spoiler's not there.

This makes the third '78 Pace Car that I've seen in the 'hood now. Below is the second one from last summer, with all decals intact.

Increasingly Unhinged

I know this looks like a store-brand knockoff of OANN, but this guy's actually on Russian state-owned TV spouting this stuff.

Generally, though, I prefer the Russian political talk show format where they stand in a circle and yell at each other about blowing up the world. It’s like Meet the Press and professional wrestling had a baby and dropped it on its head.

Anyway, he's ranting like this because Armenia is basically fed up with Russia's shit and is leaving the Russian-dominated CSTO.


Wednesday, June 12, 2024

Automotif DXI...

Photographed with an Olympus E-M1X & Panasonic 12-60mm f/2.8-4

The Plaza was the de-contented base model of the 1950's Plymouth, below the midrange Savoy and the high-zoot Belvedere. Mostly intended for fleet purchases, although also purchased by frugal individuals, it had a very limited option list.

The 1955 model, like this Miami Blue 2-door club sedan... well, it may be a business coupe, since the only differences are the lack of a back seat and rear roll-down windows in the latter ...shows off the first year of Virgil Exner's "Forward Look" styling.

The factory motors would have been either the 230 cubic inch PowerFlow inline six rated at 117 SAE gross horsepower, or the optional 157 horsepower 241cid Hy-Fire V-8.

However, if the MoonEyes tank, leaf springs up front, enormous headers ahead of exhaust cutouts, and six-bolt rear wheels that indicate a truck rear end is under there aren't enough of a giveaway that there's something more serious going on under the hood, then the "Hemi" decal on the fender sure should.

Classic period drag car.


Tab Clearing...


Tuesday, June 11, 2024

So Meta

Metaphor for hubris sinks during visit to sunken wreck of metaphor for hubris.



There's a lot of "How often does lying on a 4473 get prosecuted as a standalone crime?" floating around out there, and the answer is "Almost never because it's almost never discovered as a standalone crime."

Generally it's only after running the trace on a gun that's already been involved in a crime that it gets discovered. Sometimes it's thrown on as a pile-on charge in those cases and I guess sometimes they just don't bother using stretched-thin prosecutorial resources on someone who's already going down for whatever felonies got a trace run on the gun in the first place.

Hunter Biden's situation was unusual in that he was essentially dimed out by a concerned significant other, absent the gun being involved in any actual crimes.


Sunday, June 09, 2024

Time marches on...

At the camera store yesterday I asked if they had any 16GB SD cards.

The counter guy looked at me with pity.

I literally said to the sales clerk "What year is it?" and he replied "2024" and I realized he probably wasn't even born when Jumanji was in theaters.

Pardon me while I walk into the ocean. I might be some time.


Automotif DX...

The Buick Riviera as a distinct model (as opposed to a trim package name) debuted in the 1963 model year as personal luxury coupe intended to compete with Ford's Thunderbird.

It carried that banner alone for GM until it was joined a few years later by the Oldsmobile Toronado. By the late Sixties, the Riviera, Toronado, and Cadillac Eldorado shared a platform (although the Riv was distinguished from the other two by hanging on to rear wheel drive until the '79 model year.)

1995 saw the eighth and final generation of the Riviera, like this Medium Autumn Green example. The base engine was originally the 205hp GM 3800 corporate V6, with an optional 225-horse supercharged version of the same motor.

For the '98 model year, the supercharged 3800, now producing 240 SAE net horsepower, became the standard motor. The final Rivs were rowdier than anything seen since the old 455cid days of the late Sixties, and the ovoid styling and clean interior looked nice, but 1999 was the end of the road for the Riviera nameplate at Buick.


Friday, June 07, 2024

Le sigh...

Blog Poster: "I went to the Walmart in a census-designated-place in upstate NY with a population of less than 2k and wow, the camera section in modern big box stores has really shriveled up."

Commenter: "Well here in Austin, Texas, a state capital city of a million people and a regional... if not national ...hub for creatives, we have three camera stores!"
Ah, internet. Don't you ever go changing on me...

For reference, Indianapolis had two local/regional camera chains when I moved here in 2008, but one is now gone and the other has shrunk down to just its mothership storefront downtown.

Indy has about the same population as Austin, but isn't quite the regional mecca for artsy types as the Texas capital, especially with us having Chicago right up the road. Plus we have Dayton, Cincinnati, Columbus (OH and IN), St. Louis, and Louisville all an easy half day's jaunt or less away. We punch way out of our weight class in the cool cars department, but we're pretty typical of a middlin' big American city when it comes to the arts and creative stuff.


Tab Clearing...


Space Cowboy

One of the silliest lines I've heard regarding the Taurus TORO revolvers is "A red dot on a revolver? Isn't that like putting a spoiler on a horse-drawn wagon?"

No, it is not.

It is like putting a GPS in a horse-drawn wagon. A wagon may be slower than a car, sure, but it still needs to know how to get to its destination.

On that note, here are some thoughts of mine on life with the Taurus 856 TORO...

Thursday, June 06, 2024

Star War

So, I watched original gangsta Star Wars and Empire on Tuesday night. Then I watched Return of the Jedi yesterday afternoon. I tried watching The Phantom Menace last night and fell asleep. That's the third time that's happened when trying to watch it.

This morning I cued up Phantom Menace again over breakfast and finally managed to watch it to the end.

If you had asked me to bet everything I owned on the length of Episode I versus the original, I’d have lost it all. The original feels like a brisk 90-minuter while Ep.1 feels like a three hour slog, but Wikipedia says they’re a bit over 120 and 130 minutes, respectively.

When the Boomers have all died off and the GenX-versus-Millennial war kicks off in earnest, the Star Wars prequels are going to be the Fort Sumter of the conflict.


Automotif DIX...

Apologies for the potato-quality photo, but I had to snatch the Fuji X-T2 off the passenger seat and get the lens cap off in a matter of seconds to nab this '98-'04 Ferrari 456M through the Mustang's windshield at the intersection of Meridian & 96th.

The 2+2 Ferrari 412 had been gone for a couple years when the 456 launched, so the return of a front-engined Ferrari caused something of a stir at the time. As a historical footnote, the 456M was the last Ferrari to feature pop-up headlamps.


Wednesday, June 05, 2024

TSA Follies

The airport here in Indianapolis has the newer baggage scanners that don’t require you to remove your laptops or tablets from your carryon, which is handy. Things tend to move pretty ricky-tick at IND.

Last week was, like, maybe only the third or fourth time I’d ever flown without checking a bag, so I was looking forward to the experience of hopping out of my Uber at the curb and just breezing my way to the gate like most normies do.

I tossed my shoes, camera, and my gun burkha into a tray, my camera bag into another, and then slid both of those and my Maxpedition Fliegerduffel into the tunnel. Then I stepped through the porn-o-scan to await my gear so I could trot off to the gate.

They pulled the Fliegerduffel to the side for further inspection.

That was weird. I half expect them to pull the tray with my gun burkha, because it’s got my wallet and my wallet has a Sparrows Hall Pass and a lockpick card, both of which have drawn scrutiny in the past, but are devoid of sharp edges. My suitcase, though? Maybe they wanted to look at the trauma shears in the blowout kit attached to the MOLLE loops?

Nope, the dude opened the bag and pulled out my little toiletries kit. Nothing in there but some nail clippers and some tweezers, so…?

Friends, the dude pulled out my Secret solid antiperspirant and swabbed it with the bomb detector swab. Hand to God, I have never seen that before.

Holden is attached to the bag via MEOWLLE loops.

As far as the return flight goes? Well, the less said about the seething mob of aberrant humanity I was trapped in for better than thirty minutes at the MSY security checkpoint, the better.


Tuesday, June 04, 2024

Automotif DVIII...

A 1968 Ford Mustang hardtop coupe in Acapulco Blue. The fender badges say it's a six-cylinder car, which for the '68 model year would have been the 200 cubic inch Thriftpower inline-6 with a 1-bbl Autolite carb, rated at 115 SAE gross horsepower.

Of the first generation Mustangs, I go back and forth between the '67-'68 cars and the '69-'70 models as my favorite. I'm currently in a '68 mood...

Tab Clearing...


The Normie Take

If you don't own a red MAGA baseball cap or a "Let's Go Brandon" bumper sticker, but also aren't some raving Bernie Sanders voter who brings your tofu sandwich lunch to work in an NPR tote bag, Ben Dreyfuss's take here is pretty much how things look:
I live in a small town. I drive by the same five police cars every day. If I constantly played “Fuck The Police” as loud as possible and flipped them off as I drove by, if I were ever pulled over for speeding, I would not expect them to let me off with a warning.

Trump, more than any politician in my lifetime, chose a political strategy that involved him antagonizing half this country. From day one, he “owned the libs.” He made himself the main character in our culture. And he won a personality cult on the right that loves him. But, he earned the intense disdain of the other half of the country.

There are lots of reasons why I think that was bad for this country and the world, but one reason you shouldn’t do it out of self-interest is that a lot of people are going to be rooting for your downfall. And they are going to go over everything with a fine-tooth comb. And if you are a criminal who has broken/does break the law, your chances of getting away with it are going to drop precipitously.

If you have a person bound and gagged in your trunk, you probably shouldn’t speed.

So many people in Trump’s orbit were convicted of various low-rent crimes over the last decade, and none of that would have happened if Trump hadn’t won in 2016. They would have gotten away with all of their fraud and bribery schemes. They had gotten away with them. Then they decided to loudly associate themselves with a hugely divisive person who antagonized so many people that the world gave them a closer look.

That’s what happens in life! It’s just a fact of human nature. It’s how attention works. Of course, that now applies to Trump. And it applies to his enemies, too.


Too Much Scooby Doo.

Don't want none of that...

The upcoming Microsoft Recall feature is a security disaster, some experts are warning...
Microsoft maintains Recall is an optional experience and that it has built privacy controls into the feature. You can disable certain URLs and apps, and Recall won’t store any material that’s protected with digital rights management tools. “Recall also does not take snapshots of certain kinds of content, including InPrivate web browsing sessions in Microsoft Edge, Firefox, Opera, Google Chrome, or other Chromium-based browsers,” says Microsoft on its explainer FAQ page.

However, Recall doesn’t perform content moderation, so it won’t hide information like passwords or financial account numbers in its screenshots. “That data may be in snapshots that are stored on your device, especially when sites do not follow standard internet protocols like cloaking password entry,” warns Microsoft.
I have no clue who thought this was a good idea.

Of course, given how easily many people fall for Nigerian foreign minister scams, a lot of people's computers are open books anyway.

Oh, and speaking of privacy issues:
Google has accidentally collected childrens’ voice data, leaked the trips and home addresses of car pool users, and made YouTube recommendations based on users’ deleted watch history, among thousands of other employee-reported privacy incidents, according to a copy of an internal Google database which tracks six years worth of potential privacy and security issues obtained by 404 Media.

Individually the incidents, most of which have not been previously publicly reported, may only each impact a relatively small number of people, or were fixed quickly. Taken as a whole, though, the internal database shows how one of the most powerful and important companies in the world manages, and often mismanages, a staggering amount of personal, sensitive data on people's lives.

The data obtained by 404 Media includes privacy and security issues that Google’s own employees reported internally.


Monday, June 03, 2024

Hey, look!

So, the Spyderco is a better knife than the Victorinox—if all you need to do is cut stuff with a knife. The Climber, on the other hand, does knife stuff pretty OK, as well as being able to do a reasonable job with a lot of other chores, too.

Of course, the Victorinox is only doing a “reasonable” job with all those screwdriver or bottle-opening chores. People who need a tool that can do really good work with the knife blade as well as handling all kinds of normie tool chores will usually pick a multi-tool like a Leatherman MUT or Gerber Center-Drive. Sure, they’re big and bulky, but they can do both knife and tool stuff really well.

By now, probably half the readers are glancing at the top of this column and wondering if “HANDGUNS” is some new spelling of “POCKET KNIVES” with which they had previously been unfamiliar. Gentle reader, I have a point! (And not simply the one on the knife.)

Carry guns come in all kinds of flavors.Probably the statistically most common ones these days are one of three kinds: teeny little micro-.380 ACP semi-automatics of the Ruger LCP variety, small-frame snub-nose revolvers or itty-bitty micro 9 mm pistols like the Kahr PM9 or Glock G43. These handguns are like the Spyderco Delica. They only do one thing—serve as a defensive CCW piece against would-be human assailants at fairly close distances—very well.

Some pistols are multitools, others are single-purpose...

Executive Poker

I've written about "gent's folders" before; smaller pocket knives that aren't all aggro and tacticool-looking.

Most of the ones I've played with so far were the short-bladed kind, which are not only non-threatening looking but also legal in the widest variety of places.

If you're not constrained by regulations regarding blade length or a locking blade on your folder, there's also the "stylus" type of gents folder, which I hadn't really played with before, so I decided to give the CEO model from Columbia Knife & Tool a whirl. (I sold some old ammo at this weekend's otherwise dismal Indy 1500 gun show and decided to share some of my small windfall with Brad, the knife guy.)

As the name would suggest, this style of knife is very slender, and will generally slip into any pen pocket large enough to accommodate a fine writing instrument, like that Monteverde Regatta.

You could carry it in your pants pocket, I guess, but I think its natural home would be a shirt or jacket pocket where pens are normally carried.

The blade is a bit over 3" long (3.11", to be technical) which can run afoul of local regs in places like Boston or Chicago. It's made of 8Cr13MoV steel, which is a lower-tier Chinese stainless that's roughly similar in properties to Japanese AUS-8... you're not getting exotic alloys at this price point. It's less rust resistant than good ol' 440C but easier to sharpen and less likely to chip in my experience.

There are complaints from reviewers at Amazon about the lack of a flipper on this variation (they make one with a flipper for a couple bucks more) but I prefer the slimmer profile of the flipperless one. This isn't a tactical knife.

The pivot is smooth and fitted with a ball bearing; a good shove on the thumb stud will often pivot it right into the locked position, although this is not an assisted opener. The pocket clip makes it sit nice and low and only someone who's paying a great deal of attention to your chestal region will notice it's not a pen. The lock is positive and the blade on my example was nice and sharp right out of the box. It's well up to normal everyday knifely chores.

Given its intended use, I give it a solid B grade. It's nothing exotic, but it's good-looking in a very clean and simple way, and the price is right.


Mystery Flesh Pit National Park

I was today years old the first time I heard about this website. Someone went and dropped a reference to this wonderfully off-kilter web page and I've been stuck in the mystery flesh pit all morning.

Careful! It's deep!


Your car is not a gun safe.

No, seriously.
Eleven days later, on the morning of Oct. 23, Hallie Biden took her two children to school, dropping them off at 8 a.m. When she returned home, as Hunter slept inside, she searched his black pickup truck and found the handgun in the center console, according to police records. Around 11:20 a.m., she put it in a black shopping bag and drove her BMW to Janssen’s Market, a local institution frequented by the Bidens that offered baked goods, fresh flowers and high-end groceries.

She threw the handgun into a trash can and entered the store. A review of video footage showed that she bought beef, bread rolls and a bottled drink.

When she returned home, she later said, Hunter’s car was gone, so she called and told him she had found his gun and thrown it into a trash can. He immediately became alarmed, angrily telling her to go retrieve it, text messages show.
For bonus points, Hallie says the truck was unlocked and the windows rolled down.


Friday, May 31, 2024

Happy Place

At Range Ready... (a first class facility) ...this morning.

Place Holder

Busy this morning. More to come this evening.

In the meantime, say hello to this very good boi.

Thursday, May 30, 2024

Meme Dump...

Sports Fan Alignment Chart

Keeping Ivan Honest

USAF B-52 bombers have been sortieing over the Baltic, letting the Russians know we're keeping an eye on an area where they've been getting increasingly frisky and provocative.


Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Travel Rig

If I’m not traveling with checked bags, that really dings my camera choices.

The Think Tank Airport Advantage has to stay home, and I’m limited to my Peak Design Everyday Messenger that’s big enough for my 13” MacBook Air, one camera body, and three lenses, plus ancillary gear. Plus the cheater body & travel zoom lens I hang around my neck for the trip, that’s two bodies and four lenses.

I can free up a little room by leaving the portable hard drive and the cabled Compact Flash card reader at home. I have a temporary “Travel Photos” folder on my desktop that gets kept synced thanks to Apple, so that’s not a problem, but leaving the CF reader at home means I’m limited to cameras that use SD cards, which can be read via the slot on the notebook.

Only a couple of my Canon DSLRs use SD cards, and they’re still full from TacCon. Plus, two of them are 1D pro bodies and those use enormous batteries with a double charger the size of a literal brick, which kinda defeats the purpose.

Good thing all my Fujifilm gear is in a handy grab-‘n’-go Peak Design Everyday Sling… that, oops!, is too small for the MB Air.

If it’s a one or two night trip, I might rough it without the laptop and just make do with the iPad and its Logitech keyboard cover, but three or more nights in a hotel room, I’m gonna need to get some work done, so it looks like there’s gonna be unpacking and repacking and cross-loading of gear before I leave.


Automotif DVII...

The mid-Fifties was before Chevrolet offered a range of subcompact, compact, mid-size, and full-size cars. If you walked into a Chevy dealership in 1957, there were two basic cars: The 2-seat Corvette sports car, and the full-size Chevrolet.

The latter, however, was available in a bewildering variety of configurations. There were three basic trim levels: the 150, the 210, and the top-of-the-line Bel Air. Further, each of the three trim levels could be had in a number of coupe, sedan, and wagon configurations. (See this '55 Sedan Delivery as an example.) 

In the photo above is a 1957 Bel Air sedan in Tropical Turquoise and India Ivory, classically hot-rodded on mag wheels and fat raised white letter tires.


It's a plague upon the land...

I’m half expecting Maher, Seinfeld, and Dennis Miller to merge, forming some nightmarish Cranky Late Boomer Formerly Funny Voltron and go on a rampage across the late night talk show stages of America.
“He’s 27 feet tall, has laser eyes, hasn’t told a funny joke since 2002, and he can’t take a hint: He’s Overstayed His Welcome Man!”
It's like this formulaic attempt at a career reboot with a "Didja ever notice they won't let you tell jokes about fat people, chicks, and Asians anymore?" routine is being circulated in some private Telegram channel for past their best-by-date comedians.


Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Automotif DVI...

Pontiac launched the Ventura nameplate in 1960, during the "Bunkie" Knudsen years, when Pete Estes and his young assistant John Z. DeLorean were boosting sales by zhuzhing up the division's lineup. This was when Pontiac's rebranding as GM's "Excitement Division" really got underway.

The Ventura was based on the full-size Catalina. It was only available as a hardtop coupe or sedan and featured distinctive exterior trim, unique upholstery, and a sport steering wheel.

The one in the photos is a 1967 Ventura hardtop sedan in Marina Turquoise.

For 1967, Pontiac had upped the displacement of the V-8 offerings in their full-size cars, with the 389 getting bored out to 400 cubes and the 421 getting punched to 428 cubic inches... sorta. There's a story.

You know how the old 302 Windsor in the Ford Mustang is actually 4,942 cc's, but Ford calls it the "5.0", nominally because they already sold a 4.9L inline-six truck motor, but more likely because 5.0 looks cooler on fender badges?

Well, in 1967, Pontiac's large-journal V-8...

(Technically Pontiac didn't have "small block" and "big block" V-8s. All the Pontiac blocks were the same size, but they had smaller displacement motors with narrower main bearing journals and larger displacement ones with wider main bearing journals.)

...anyway, in '67 Pontiac took their 421 and gave it a roughly .030" overbore, yielding a 426.61 cubic inch displacement. But Ford and Chevy were already selling 427 V-8's, so thanks to the magic of the marketing department, the Poncho motor magically became a 428.

In '67 the Ventura could be had with the whole range of Catalina motors. There were two choices of 2-bbl 400: a lower-compression one for running on regular gas and rated at 265 SAE gross horsepower, and a higher compression 2bbl 400 rated at 290. Then you had a 4-bbl 400 that had 325hp with a HydraMatic 3-speed auto or 333hp when equipped with a 3- or 4-speed manual.

Finally you had the 4-barrel 428 in standard 360 horse or 375bhp "Quadra-Power" H.O. trim.

Meme Dump...

Sunday, May 26, 2024

Automotif DV...

The W123 midsize sedans from Mercedes-Benz were the immediate forebears for what's now known as the "E-class" Benz. They were sober-sided, solid cars that broke sales records for the brand.

Launched in 1976, they were sold as coupes, sedans, and wagons, and came with an array of gas and diesel powerplants and both manual and automatic transmissions. These were found in roles as everything from taxicabs to junior executive cars all around the globe, but M-B North America only brought the higher-trim varieties into the U.S. market.

Stateside we could get either the 2.8L fuel-injected DOHC 12V inline-six rated at 142bhp or one of two diesels: the 62hp 2.4L four banger or the 77bhp 3.0L inline five-cylinder. After 1980, only the diesels remained, with the gasoline M110 I6 dropped to keep CAFE (Corporate Average Fuel Economy) numbers up.

The late-'70s Mercedes-Benz 300D in English Red in these photos would be bog-slow, with a zero-to-sixty time that struggled to crack the twenty second barrier and a top speed of something like 90mph, but they got good mileage for their time and a well-maintained diesel Benz from this era is harder to kill than a cockroach. If you couldn't get 300k miles out of one, you weren't trying, and in an era when a car was considered completely knackered when its five-digit odometer rolled over, that was nothing short of miraculous.

Moves Like Jagger

Here are a couple of fact bombs you can drop into a conversation if you need to blow some minds...
  • With their July 13th tour date in Inglewood, California this year, The Rolling Stones' first concert will be closer to the 19th Century than it is to their latest concert.

  • Mick Jagger's youngest son is younger than his great-grandson.
Gives a whole new vibe to "moves like Jagger".

Saturday, May 25, 2024

Lyrical Naming

When Toyota and General Motors, two auto manufacturers who have... deserved or not ...reputations for grey-flannel corporate stodginess, launched a joint manufacturing venture here in the U.S.A., they called it NUMMI, which is an appropriately dull and stodgy acronym.

When Mopar and Mitsubishi did likewise, a few years later, the outfit was called Diamond-Star Motors, officially a reference to Mitsubishi's triple diamond logo and Chrysler's Pentastar.

But you know that the latter name was really because some audacious dude in marketing was a Marc Bolan fan and managed to get away with it.


Overheard in the Office...

RX: "These are the people Elon Musk wants to colonize Mars with."

Me: "Funnily enough, these are the people I want Elon Musk to colonize Mars with, too."


Too late, they've bred...

The Collinses didn’t tell me Simone was eight months pregnant when we were making plans for me to spend a Saturday with them at home in Valley Forge, Pennsylvania, but I guess it shouldn’t have come as a surprise. They are the poster children of the pronatalist movement, on a mission to save humanity by having as many babies as possible.

Malcolm, 37, answers the door of their 18th-century farmhouse with four-year-old Octavian George, who is thrilled to have a visitor, bringing toy after toy to show me like an overexcited golden retriever. His little brother, two-year-old Torsten Savage, is on his iPad somewhere upstairs. Simone, 36, in an apron that strains across her belly, has her daughter, 16-month-old Titan Invictus, strapped to her back. The imminent arrival of their fourth child, a girl they plan to name Industry Americus Collins, turns out to be only the first in a string of surprises – and one really shocking thing – that I will encounter during my day with the pronatalists.
I don't get these people who act like a bit of population shrinkage would be the worst thing in the world. Remember what a barren, empty hellscape this country was when it only had two thirds as many people as it does now, way back in 1976? Yeah, me too.

Also, are these people trying to make their kids hate them?
Me: "Hahahaha those countries with baby-naming laws are so quaint and authoritarian."

These Dweebs: *name their human daughter in 21st Century America "Titan Invictus"*

Me: "Okay, so about those baby-naming laws..."
I'm like "You people get that these aren't, like, Funko Pops or collectible action figures or lifestyle achievement badges to show off to your friends in your private Discord server, but are actual independent humans who are going to have a life of their own in a surprisingly short number of years and are probably going to loathe their weird-ass given names, right?"

(And before you say "Well, Black people have been naming their kids funny-sounding names for years..." what I want you to understand is that there's a difference between wanting to have names that are cultural signifiers... yet still recognizably names ...that aren't the ones that had been assigned to your family by the people who bought and sold your ancestors as chattel, and just being weird for the sake of being weird. D'shaun or Latisha are names, made-up names, sure, but names nonetheless*. "Industry Americanus" is a dorky-ass affectation.)

*"Why don't they use names from the part of Africa their families came from?" you ask, and the answer is that nobody knows where they came from because it's not like their abductors or purchasers took careful notes on that stuff.

Friday, May 24, 2024

Meme Dump...

Dots Don't Go Everywhere...Yet

I'm on record as mentioning I'm not a huge fan of the 3" J-frame, and that steel J-frames in general don't have a ton of applicability in my world.

Small revolvers fall into one of two categories in my world. Either they're a pocket/ankle gun, or they're a belt gun. For me, a 3" J-frame is too long for a pocket, and a steel-framed one is too heavy for a pocket. I've pocket-carried a S&W 432 (and a 442 before it) for almost 25 years now, but a steel gun would make my winter coat hang funny.

"But you could carry a 3" J-frame in a belt holster!" you say. Well, sure. But I could also carry a Detective Special, a Taurus 856/327, or a 3" Smith & Wesson K-frame in a belt holster with no more real difficulty and get a 20% ammunition capacity boost. In fact I have been carrying an 856 TORO for a year now.

This is what makes the new R.O.C. J-frame red dot mount from Shield Arms a real head-scratcher for me. It mounts to a Smith J-frame using the sideplate screws, but all the photos show it on a Model 442. That effectively makes the gun too big for a pocket and anyone who's actually carried an ankle gun should get a good belly laugh out of the idea of sticking an MRDS in the most dirt-and-lint collecting spot where it's possible to tote a blaster. (Even IWB, the 507k on my TORO needs blowing clean every few days.)

I guess you could use it to mount a dot on a belt-carried 3" 640 or something, but all the J-frame revolvers in Smith & Wesson's current catalog lineup that could really benefit from a small red dot... think the 3" Model 60, Model 63, or Model 317 ...all have adjustable rear sights, which means that they're already compatible with an Allchin-type scope mount.

I mean, I get that red dots are awesome, but we're a ways off from a functional MRDS solution for pocket guns.

(H/T to Gorillafritz.)


Tab Clearing...


Thursday, May 23, 2024

Automotif DIV...

Nikon D3 & AF Nikkor 24-85mm f/2.8-4D

For most of the '80s, the Third Generation of the Ford Mustang ran roughshod over its F-body foes from GM at the traffic lights of America. 

The 305 Chevy, even in Tuned Port Injection form, gave up too much power to the 5.0L H.O. in the Mustang, and the 350 Vette motor was only available with a slushbox (plus the Camaro's more restrictive intake and exhaust choked the 5.7 TPI to the point where it only achieved horsepower parity with the 302 Ford.)

The tables were turned in the early Nineties, when the 275hp LT1 350 in the Camaro easily overpowered the 215hp 5.0L H.O. in the SN95 Mustang GT.

In an attempt to even things up, Ford released a Mustang Cobra under their SVT banner. While the bottom end of the motor was the same as the tried and true 5.0, it got GT40 heads, a new cam and intake manifold, underdriven accessory pulleys, and other tricks to bump the output to 240 SAE net horsepower.

Nikon 1 V2 & 1 Nikkor 18.5mm f/1.8

This was the swan song of the pushrod V8 in Mustang Cobras, because the '96-'98 Cobras featured a DOHC 32V version of Ford's 4.6L Modular V-8. The hand-built versions in the SVT Cobra, like this 1996 or 1997 ragtop, were rated at 305bhp.


Landlords From Hell

What happens when a pack of internet investors buy your apartment complex?
Things started to fall apart, though, sometime after the first months of the pandemic. Tenants moved out in the dead of night as if they didn’t want anyone to see them; eviction notices would show up on their doors long after they’d left. The gym and pool shut down for “safety” reasons; when the building was sold the summer after COVID hit, the latter turned green. According to McMullen-Clarke, phantom surcharges began showing up on every rent bill, but when she called the front office to discuss them the phone would ring and ring; she later learned they’d stopped paying the phone bill. The new management charged $40 a month for “valet” trash service, but canceled its contract with the company retained to pick up trash every evening, so the same overworked maintenance guy who did everything else on the property had to pick up trash as well, and only when he got around to it. “There was garbage everywhere, it was really tragic,” McMullen-Clarke says.


Weeds grew, in which new tenants would let their dogs shit without picking it up. Management would shut the water off throughout the entire complex for hours constantly; once a week at first, then just about every other day. But when the water was on, it would leak from 100 different spots and attract ever more pestilence. The rat population exploded, eventually taking up residence in the ceiling above McMullen-Clarke’s bedroom, where they scratched and fought and made it hard to fall asleep. One day as she was ascending the stairway, she noticed a rat sitting contentedly on the handrail for which she’d been reaching. “I took a deep breath and said to myself, OK, one of us is leaving.”

Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Meme Dump...

"This was your father's weapon. I took it after I chopped his legs off and left him in a volcano."