Monday, October 14, 2019

NeoVictorians...

An interesting writeup on a couple who have decided to party like it's 1889, for the most part, at least.
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Sunday, October 13, 2019

Pre-Assault Indicators...



Recognizing this stuff can be a lifesaver.

Being able to articulate it can be a freedomsaver.

I can't recommend training with John Murphy highly enough.
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Saturday, October 12, 2019

Sketchy on its face...



Unless there are some pretty serious extenuating circumstances, leaving the building to spray the area with your AK doesn't pass my "It was self-defense" smell test.
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Spoiler Alert

Car and Driver had a little throwaway listicle* entitled "The Best-Selling Car in America the Year You Graduated High School: Find the top-selling car from each year, from 1978 to today."

Spoiler Alert: If you're a late Boomer or early Gen X'er, it's probably an Oldsmobile Cutlass. For most Gen X'ers, it's the Taurus or Accord, and then it's Camrys from there on out. (There's a jumbled period in the mid-'80s where Cutlass dominance had crumbled and a few forgettable GM and Ford products scrambled for first place; horrid little commuter boxes like the Escort and Cavalier. My graduating year featured the Chevy Celebrity, the most vanilla variant of GM's spectacularly mediocre '80s A-body. Imagine a car so dull that the Lumina was an edgy improvement.)

*Safari's spellchecker knows "listicle". Huh.

Seasons Change

Spending the tail end of September up in Vermont and New Hamster gave me a bit of a foretaste of fall, but it's finally caught up to me here in the Circle City.

After ninety degree temperatures just last week, we had a few days of perfect convertible weather for a breather, and then yesterday's cold front brought the first frost of the season and the lowest overnight temperatures since April.

Woobie weather has arrived, and it's almost time to swap out the cotton socks for the wool ones and the short-sleeved tees for long-sleeve pullovers. Next thing you know it'll be long johns and warm boots weather for walking to Twenty Tap.
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Friday, October 11, 2019

Gratuitous gun pr0n #178...

Smith & Wesson's Model 59, seen here in a nickel-plated variant, was an eye-opening vista onto a whole world of copycat blasters...
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Thursday, October 10, 2019

Net Gains

Found an interesting article explaining the differences between SAE Gross and SAE Net horsepower ratings, and also highlighting some of the shenanigans that went down with manufacturer's advertised horsepower ratings during the performance wars of the '60s, when "BHP" might as well have stood for "HorsePower as measured at the Brochure".

What brought this to mind recently was driving the '94 Mustang GT. The 302cid motor in that car is the tail end development of the pushrod small-block Ford V8; in another two model years it would be replaced with the overhead-cam 4.6L. It's rated in the ad copy as developing 215bhp and, while not completely overwhelming the driving experience like the 327 in my Chevy Monza did, it's always there with power on tap if you want to break the rear end loose and get up to shenanigans.

Thing is, it's a completely docile and tractable engine. It starts easily, idles calmly with hardly any "lope" from the cam, delivers reasonable MPG for what it is, and features good throttle response all across its rev range.

What makes that interesting is that it would have had, in Sixties advertising "Gross BHP" terms, close to one horsepower per cubic inch. I've driven and/or owned several of the really high-output small-blocks from the Glory Years of the Muscle Car, and those things are an experience. Hard starting in cold weather, tepid throttle response at low revs, lumpy cams that have them idling like a paint mixer (seriously, the radio antenna on my 327 Monza, which was purely camouflage and not connected to a radio, would whip violently side-to-side at traffic lights), and 10.5- or 11.5- or 12-to-1 compression ratios that demanded premium gas...if not a drive to whatever local station offered Sunoco 104.

It's interesting that the '94 Mustang GT has performance numbers that more or less perfectly overlap a '70 Boss 302, when you allow for differences in tire technology, and the 94 will do it with a/c, cruise control, and power windows. The EPA took a lot away in the early 'Seventies, but by the mid-Eighties, computer-controlled ignition and fuel delivery, as well as computer-aided design of intake & exhaust components as well as combustion chambers had given it all back and then some.


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True Firearms Confession...

I am in constant danger of ordering a pistol-length 6.5 Grendel AR upper just to watch the fireballs.

I am not proud of this.
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Tuesday, October 08, 2019

QotD: Political Discussions on Social Media Edition

"It’s important to revere the founders. Wise men like FDR, Heinlein, Guevara, and Mencken left quotes to guide us in interpreting their intent in the Bill of Rights, which is the first ten amendments to the Declaration of Independence."

A surprising find...

I carted a couple large boxes of books to Half Price Books yesterday. If you've never done this, they have a pretty organized system for processing incoming books. Books are stacked and their barcodes scanned (or ISBN numbers entered) and sorted into stuff for which they're paying you and stuff which they'll be glad to take off your hands if you don't want to cart it home.

You can tell if they stumble on a real find because they'll hesitate, maybe wipe it down, and double-take at the monitor in front of them. When I saw the clerk do that over a yellow-jacketed book in the stack I brought in yesterday, I figured I'd better google it up and see what I found. I'm glad I did, because it appears that Dougal Dixon's Man After Man is bringing rather more than the $2.99 I gave for it all those years ago.

Anyway, I decided not to sell that one to Half Price Books and threw it on eBay instead.
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