Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Stating the obvious

Just now, on Yahoo! News, I read this headline;

"Clinton gets NOW endorsement, touts feminist background"

Well, duh. Like we didn't know that was going to happen, now did we.

Jeebis, the world I'm forced to deal with.

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Monday, March 26, 2007

They're beyond the gate already.

Not to pick nits with the likes of Billy, and I can't disagree with the sentiment expressed in his post, but maybe the Retards are not at the Gate, but instead, already at the Helm.

And as Billy suggests, Hillary is not a retard. Just imagine Field Marshal Rodham getting her Chavez-style mitts on this.

All this, and I'm hearing renewed interest in Slick Willie getting into position for the next Sec.Gen. of the UN. How nice.

Gulp! Is it getting warm in here?

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Saturday, March 24, 2007

I knew it would come to this

While over at Billy's, doing my usual reading, I spot this post. Normally this type of thing doesn't really raise my ire too much, as I have very little faith in the general populace, mostly from their own stupidity, of which I have absolutely ZERO control, and the reference to the cannibals at the pot would be most appropriate.

Then I click over to Balko's place via Billy's link, only to find the post previous to Billy's reference titled, "Puppycide", which piqued my interest, so I clicked it, which got my blood to boiling.

Now understand, despite my outward dot-net demeanor, I am one to the most soft-hearted persons anyone could ever get to know, and I have never met a dog that hasn't absolutely co-opted me as a surrogate master after more than 5 minutes with it in the same room. I have two dogs of my own, and they are both oversized lap dogs, with only a tendency to bark when startled, and neither has ever attempted to take a bite out of anyone over anything, including sticking your hand in front of their face while they are having chow. No shit here either. They just won't bite. They don't consider getting in the way of their food (and they DO like to eat) to be an egregious enough transgression on your part to even consider taking a pound of flesh for it. That is good. That is the way I want it and that is the way I have raised them both, from the same parents, since they were each about 6 weeks old. No bad habits for me to untrain, just a good, clean slate from which to raise a couple of lovable friends that are our surragate children. Suffice it to say that they are part of the family.

This got me to thinking about what was being "discussed" the other day at Billy's with a certain Lindsay Beyerstein, a self-professed "freelance writer based in New York City...provid(ing) daily (political) coverage...from a left liberal perspective". If anyone cares to drudge through the inane crap that the little bitch wrote about regarding exactly what she thought of Billy defending his property with hot lead, and the distinct possibility of him ventilating the bastard to the point of exanguination, one will be either enraged, or ready for a session of praying to the porcelain god, because she is convinced that only drug dealers or the like would ever need to defend themselves with a gun, or something.

I've got a little news for you, you fucking bitch, not only will I be defending my dogs, which in the eyes of the liberals' favorite critter, the god-almighty law, from harm by my use of a gun (if I'm in a less than charitalbe mood), but I'll be aiming to KILL any fucking governmental twit, like the ones in the "Puppycide" story above, and promptly removing their head from their shoulders thereafter. I will then quite proudly display their skulls on a pike from my front lawn.

Think I'm serious?

Fucking try me, Bitch!

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Thursday, March 15, 2007

Hey MSM, time to shut up, sit down and take a lesson from this woman.

Pamela Hess of UPI, after a tour of Iraq and writing her own piece, here gives a couple of interviews about what she thinks of the situation.

Frankly, I was taken by her candor and utter lack of self and political promotion. She even takes a stab, and a GOOD ONE, at those who have, with the, "getting distracted by the shiny political knife-fight," comment. I simply can't agree with her excusing herself at getting choked up a few times as being anything remotely "unprofessional". It isn't unprofessional to be human, and when everything she was recanting from her experience, it is more than understandable to be as such.

H/T to Kevin Baker at the Smallest Minority, with yet another example of why he's one of my daily reads.

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Tuesday, March 13, 2007

The man is on to something here

Maybe not as an investor, but a patron, definitely.

I'm getting a list together of books for the library, and I'm probably already at 100 or so, right off the top of my head.

Of course, the firearm thing is a given, so long as we can get a rifle approved backstop.

My design services are for hire, in case anyone is asking, and my fee for this would be cheap. ;)

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Saturday, March 10, 2007

The short version of this story

Some time ago, this bit was taken to court, and the Blue Kool-Aid drinkers got off on the whole thing, thinking that it was some sort of omen about their wet-dream of disarming (and somehow by way of this making everyone safer) America.

Then, just yesterday, an appellate court overturns that decision.

Cries of judicial activism are pouring in from the eternally stupid and vows of a march to the Supreme Court are being touted by BOTH sides as a final arbiter of what will and will not be allowed (as if the court can actually do this), and that will be the end of it, with, again, BOTH sides claiming premature victory.

Here's a clue to everyone; The Supreme Court decides which cases it will hear, and this is not one of them. Why, you may ask? Because if they are smart (and they are), they aren't going to want to be the ones making any kind of line in the sand over this issue, or the previous decision. Another clue would be that the SC also lets far more inferior court ruling stand than it ever takes up for final review.

The SC doesn't want to even get close to this thing, folks. Forget about the adage of the 10-foot pole. This is something they don't even want to touch with something on the order of ten times that length, because they realize that it's far too polarizing an issue. If they are "caught" choosing sides, something BAD will happen. Better to let the lower court decision ride, and find some way of letting Congress or the city's Mayor do something to belay the decision. This is typical of any government agency, straight out of the Government Irresponsibility Playbook and only proves that they're a bunch of spineless twits.

The end product will be some kind of grayness, with the ban still somehow being in effect, despite this ruling. People will be able to purchase and keep them in their homes, with some sort of exorbitant permit, tax, registration or other silly restrictions, effectively keeping almost everyone from ever getting their hands on one legally.

Mark my words.

UPDATE, 8:08PM, March 10: Kevin Baker at the Smallest Minority says it better (and sooner) than I could.

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Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Remind me to NEVER visit Vermont.

I'm not sure where I can even begin on this piece of bullshit, via Yahoo!.

"By Jason Szep"

"BOSTON (Reuters) - More than 30 Vermont towns passed resolutions on Tuesday seeking to impeach President Bush, while at least 16 towns in the tiny New England state called on Washington to withdraw U.S. troops from Iraq.

Known for picturesque autumn foliage, colonial inns, maple sugar and old-fashion dairy farms, Vermont is in the vanguard of a grass-roots protest movement to impeach Bush over his handling of the unpopular Iraq war.

"We're putting impeachment on the table," said James Leas, a Vermont lawyer who helped to draft the resolutions and is tracking the votes. "The people in all these towns are voting to get this process started and bring the troops home now."

The resolutions passed on Vermont's annual town meeting day -- a colonial era tradition where citizens debate issues of the day big and small -- are symbolic and cannot force Congress to impeach Bush, but they "may help instigate further discussions in the legislature," said state Rep. David Zuckerman.

"The president must be held accountable," said Zuckerman, a politician from Burlington, Vermont's largest city.

After casting votes on budgets and other routine items, citizens of 32 towns in Vermont backed a measure calling on the U.S. Congress to file articles of impeachment against Bush for misleading the nation on Iraq's weapons of mass destruction and for engaging in illegal wiretapping, among other charges.

Five Vermont towns passed similar resolutions last year.

The idea of impeaching Bush resides firmly outside the political mainstream.

The new Democratic-controlled Congress has steered clear of the subject, and Wisconsin Sen. Russell Feingold's call last year to censure Bush -- a step short of an impeachment -- found scant support on Capitol Hill, even among fellow Democrats.

Vermont's congressional delegation has shown no serious interest in the idea.


Sixteen Vermont towns passed a separate "soldiers home now" resolution calling on the White House, the U.S. Congress and Vermont's elected officials to withdraw troops from Iraq.

"The best way to support them is to bring each and every one of them home now and take good care of them when they get home," the resolution said.

It was unclear how many towns had put the resolutions to a vote, and the results of all the town meetings in the state of about 609,000 people may not be known for days.

Residents of Burlington were voting on a separate question calling for a new investigation into the September 11 attacks.

Voters were asked to circle "yes" or "no" to the question: "Shall Vermont's Congressional Delegation be advised to demand a new, thorough, and truly independent forensic investigation that fully addresses the many questions surrounding the tragic events of September 11, 2001?"

Doug Dunbebin, who gathered signatures to get the issue on the ballot, said questions linger about September 11, when hijacked plane attacks killed nearly 3,000 people at New York's World Trade Center, at the
Pentagon and in Pennsylvania.

A group known as Scholars for 9/11 Truth believes the events of that day were part of a conspiracy engineered by the U.S. government and that it took more than two planes to bring down the Twin Towers in New York.

Vermont's new U.S. representative, Peter Welch, a Democrat, said there was no need for a further investigation.

(Additional reporting by Julie Masis) "

(My emphasis in BOLD)

Despite having Constitutional Carry and general lack of silliness with regards to gun laws, Vermont stands out with silliness in other ways, notably this idea that they are somehow going to throw GWB out on his ear with these "resolutions" from little towns and hamlets. These folks didn't pay attention in 7-grade civics class did they? If they had, they'd know that there is already a method in place for doing this, and it lies with Congress exclusively, and they would know that passing resolutions at the local level is moot. I'm sure they're doing it for the same reason these kinds of folks always do it, the "Feel Good Politics" factor. I'd go on further, but why?

The other item, and one that really brought my ire to a boil, was the weaseling in of the WTC and 9/11 excrement from so-called "scholars" (excuse me here while I laugh) into an article that had nothing to do with the former point of Vermont's towns tending toward wanting an initiation of impeachment proceedings. How is this relevant, exactly?

As Billy Beck sez, "Sled Ride to Hell".

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Monday, March 05, 2007

The Mercedes-Benz Museum, a post that's long overdue

So, I figure it's finally time for me to post something regarding architecture here, because, well, I am an architect, and it was one of the reasons I originally started this blog, as a way of documenting some of the places and buildings I've seen and experienced. So here goes.

As it happens, the Kraut and I had a little impromptu vacation around Christmas time. (yeah, it's been a while, sue me, I've been busy) Actually, a death in the family lead us to take a long plane ride to das Vaterland, and neither of us were wanting to make that return flight so soon after a funeral, so we stayed for two weeks with her folks and took in some sights along the way.
My father-in-law piped up one day and suggested a trip to the newly commissioned Mercedes-Benz museum in Stuttgart. IF YOU ARE EVER THERE, DO YOURSELF A FAVOR AND GO. Neat diversion.

All I can say is, "Wow!" The approach to the building is nice.

The edifice looks a bit like a deformed piston, the skewed, banded windows reminiscent of the ring grooves. In plan, it somewhat resembles a rotor in a Wankel engine, though this is far less evident once inside. The brochure that you get with a rather nifty electronic device that talks to you while one walks through the levels, in your choice of languages, makes a reference to the three-pointed-star trademark of Mercedes, symbolizing the motorization of land, air and water. The Reuleaux triangle that is the basis for the plan pays homage to this icon of motoring.

The lobby is straight out of Star Trek. Lots of concrete, steel and glass, in a huge atrium with well placed spotlights. Very imposing, but in a good way. The elevator cab and the ride are both way cool.

It takes you to the top floor, and I must admit that it was the smoothest ride I've ever had on an elevator. At the top, you step out on the opposite side of the car, into a lobby, where you can get oriented, and read a few instructions for use of your electronic narrator, complete with headphones. You then walk into the first exhibit area. The museum is setup in chronological order from top to bottom, so the first exhibit after your orientation session on level 8 is the Legends Room 01, the Pioneers , with exhibits on the antecedents to the automobile and the technological progression of important items, such as the internal combustion engine. On prominent display is the first automobile ever made, the Benz Patent Wagen. Below is the first internal combustion engine with an enclosed crankcase, called the Standuhr, or "Grandfather clock", claimed at the time as an important innovation for proofing the engine against debris.

1) 1886 Motorkutsche 2) the Grandfather Clock "Standuhr" single cylinder engine 3) Pic of single cylinder, horizontally opposed
two cylinder and four cylinder engines.
After the first exhibit area, you descend a gently sloping ramp, (or a neat staircase), similar to the Guggenheim, in New York, by Frank Lloyd Wright. I took the ramp exclusively, as the whole experience is more leisurely, and I must say that this is, from a user's point of view, a very nice way of not only dramatically staging the displays, but a very comfortable viewing experience. The ramp is easy on the legs, and it's a long way down to the bottom, especially when you're a gearhead who wants to take his time (and I did). The levels are typically broken up into two offset sections, with one area devoted to the history, legends and the innovations of the particular period and another with a display of the same period vehicles.

Winding down to Legend Room 2, Birth of the Brand, we see this display of early phaetons.

A random shot looking outside
As was the case with Ford automobiles of the same vintage, the coachwork was not supplied with the car, only a powered chassis, with the cab and passenger compartment being built by a third party, typically fitted to the carriage by cabinet makers (per Mercedes' info anyway). This group is roughly 1908-1910 vintage. All of these cars look hand built, as most of it was.

Here's that fancy stair that connects each floor. It really looks to me as if these stairs are there for the employees to move about easier from floor to floor, without getting in the way of the patrons, as the stairs tend to take the viewer through the rooms in the wrong order. They're all basically the same, but they do look cool.

Next, on level 3, Times of Change, is the 1939 320 Stromlinien-Limousine, a ridiculously lavish and powerful car for the time. It definitely took some styling cues from some of the planes and expertise in aviation in the company. Note the Art Deco detailing in the fender skirts, trunk and fenders.

I liked this poster in one of the ramp alcoves.

Lots of other stuff in this area, including a big section on aviation wares, and it definitely overlaps with a lot of the, er...unpleasantness of the time (1914-1945 including WWII), and they do it here with not a lot of PC, which was refreshing, to me at least, and stick to the factual stuff and accomplishments made by the engineers, who were forced to work on projects that were for the war machine (most knew what the eventualities were), and they carried these out with rigor, if nothing else, though not all of them wanted to.

I was particularly captivated by the aviation engines. The third one is an inverted, 2,070 cubic inch V-12 making 1,100HP.

Here's a shot some of the 30's era roadsters, with some closeups of the red job in the middle. Simply gorgeous.

I loved the white interior and rimmed gauges in black-on-white.

A neat cut-away of a supercharged straight six. Hard to believe the supercharger could do much other than raise the intake temperature with that weeny-looking intake manifold and 90-degree turn.

They have a great section on transporters and work vehicles as well. I prefer the vintage stuff myself. I like this Pritschenwagen, with real fenders and two-tone paint.

The overhung front end on these trucks looks funny, but it's a design that facilitates the tighter turns required by Europe's narrower roads, by reducing the off-tracking effect of the rear axle by way of it's shorter wheelbase.
Here is one of the first Unimogs. Me wants.

On level 5, Post War Miracle, we encounter the classic SL coupe and convertible, its original space frame chassis as well as a prepped racer (third pic).

The space frame was groundbreaking, as it was built almost entirely of small diameter steel tubing and triangulated to increase strength, while keeping its weight incredibly low. This did have the effect of raising the rocker height at the door sill which made ingress and egress rather difficult, hence the use of the gullwing doors on the coupe.

Level 4, 1960-1982 Visionaries, concentrates on things like safety and the environment, touting the company's innovations such as anti-lock brakes and crash protection as its major achievements. The technical stuff is pretty neat, but the vehicles of the period lack anything really notable. What this era does cover nicely is the post-war prosperity that Germany enjoyed, and the rapid expansion of industry and the affordability of transportation of the time. Most families could afford a car at this time, and automotive based vacations became the norm for many. The Autobahn grew rapidly due to obvious demand from motorists, and some folks took to watching the cars just go by on the highways from their perches on adjacent property. The collections area here has an array of vehicles that were previously owned by celebrities and famous people, notably Pope John Paul II's Gelendewagen with bullet-proof enclosure, and Princess Diana's wine-colored SL coupe. Nothing too notable here, but to each his own.

Level 3, From 1982 - Moving the world, has their collection of buses, wagons and cars, exactly like that you'd see on the road even today. Blah! The only thing I was particularly interested in was this Gelendewagen that Mercedes had driven around the world, presumably to show that they could do it, and on covered every continent, I think.

Level 2, Silver Arrows, covers the company's long history of racing and its vehicles.

I almost fell down when looking at these suspension attachments, to the gas tank, of this early F-style open wheel car. I forget it's vintage exactly, but early sixties seems about the right time frame. Whoever thought about using the gas tank as a stressed component was obviously attempting to cut down on redundant systems and save space and weight here, which given the context of this particular vehicle is tantamount to a death sentence for the driver, I think. The second pic is of a Sauber LeMans racer from about '90, with speed potential in excess of 220mph.

The V-10, F-1 race engine in a ramp alcove in this same area looked neat with what is presumably a molded kevlar intake.

Here are the early racers on sloped track-like display, with the next pic showing more of the modern fare with touring cars and Pikes Peak hill-climbers.

Working our way down, passed Level 1 at the ticket counter and lobby, to what is effectively the basement, Level 0, Fascination of Technology, they have a restaurant and bar that surrounds the experimental and prototype area adjacent to the Silver Arrows, and it seems that in my gawking, I missed taking pics of this area. Mea culpa. It also includes two halls, a club(these are Germans we're talking about here) a technology area and gift shops. I did grab a few shots of the tech and engineering stuff that caught my eye.

I was intrigued by the forging process used for these connecting rods and this assembly pan filled with these forgings with angle mounted caps. See the bolt heads and bosses at about 3 and 6 o'clock? I'm curious as to this configuration, but unfortunately, there weren't any powertrain engineers handy to do any 'splaining. My only guess here is that there is probably a method of tightening these with a torque-to-yield machine that measures how much the bolt stretches and by using this geometry on the rod, the ease of guiding the machinery for this action was substantially reduced, or something like that.

Here is a green sand mold for casting a cylinder head. I am extraordinarily interested in the process for producing this, as the design of a head is extremely difficult and has many compromises built into it. The powerband of the engine is tuned with combustion chamber size and shape, valve location and angle as well as port length, shape and volume. Chamber design needs to be tuned with the pumping characteristics of the rotating assembly and also accommodate fasteners, cooling passages, the valvetrain type and oiling. It also has a lot to do with the efficiency of the engine, as it has effects on the burning characteristics of the fuel/air mixture. Lots of stuff going on in the head, and there are passages that get cast into this thing that are labyrinthian to say the least. Neat to see this kind of esoterica, if only for us gearhead types. Below is their new seven-speed automatic, with its guts hanging out.

I was really quite fascinated with the whole thing, and really could have stayed for some more sights, but we had spent over 4 hours wandering through by this point, and we needed to get back home, so we decided to call it a day. On the way out of the museum, you encounter an array of their finest fair in the hardscape outside the door. The latest CL-Class coupe. That's 121,000 Euros, by the way. That's about 160,000 US dollars.
There you have it. I'm hoping to make it back some time in the next couple of years so I can camp out inside for the whole day, and read every history placard and maybe do some sketching. If you ever make it to Stuttgart, and automobiles make your blood pressure rise, I highly recommend taking a few hours and walking through it.

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Future Losers

Is anyone else about sick of AARP's latest ad campaign, "Future Champions", with the snot-nosed kids complaining about how broken everything supposedly is?

Question 1) "How come we can't fix social security?"

Answer) Because you are too stupid to figure out that in it's current guise (that would be the same as day one, circa 1935), it's entirely based on funding from a geometric increase in population growth (and tax payer base), which has had a huge flat-line in the entire western world for 50 years or more. In some cases, such as my generation, "Gen-X" (or previously known as the "Baby-Bust"), we are actually smaller in numbers than that of the previous generation, the Baby-Boomers. So it's easy to see that the "Dipshit President" you all keep screaming about is right when he says that funding S.S. is in serious jeopardy. EAT THAT YOU LITTLE TURD!

Oh, and when you finally pass 10-grade math (I am being generous here) and figure out how right I am about this, you can come to my house and I can teach you about all the other things which you've been indoctrinated to believe as absolute truth, i.e. "Global Warming".

Question 2) "What about pensions?"

Answer) Yea, what about them? You wouldn't know the difference if it bit you in the ass, would you? Pensions are what a PRIVATE employer sets up as a retirement fund for its employees, and YOUR SORRY ASSED ATTEMPTS AT PLEADING TO THE GOVERNMENT TO STICK ITS NOSE INTO A PRIVATE BUSINESS'S PENSION PLAN IS BEYOND LAME, AS IT'S A TACTIC OF SOCIALIST PRICKS WHO ARE ACTING LIKE SPOILED FIVE-YEAR-OLDS IN THE TOY AISLE AT WAL-MART. Quit your bitching about how you are being denied your due payout when you are working for a private company, and can leave to work for whomever, whenever you damn well please, if you don't like the pay or the standards, you sniveling brat!

Question 3) "Will we keep those promises?"

Answer) Only if we can keep the Socialists out of the government. That includes ALL of the candidates that you keep insisting are "Fiscal Conservatives" or "Left of Center" or whatever you're trying to pass off as the next coming of Jesus or some other rot, i.e. Hillary Clinton (spit).

Question 4) "Don't even get me started about health care" (Yeah, it's not a question, as phrased, but the intent is there).

Answer) Again, this "single-payer" system, or whatever you want to call it this week is a scam, and isn't anything like it is being billed. NOTHING IS FREE IN THIS WORLD AND GET OVER YOUR CHILD-LIKE FASCINATION WITH EVERYTHING BEING "FAIR" IN IT.

The overwhelming arrogance that AARP is showing here, by using kids as props, openly targeting them with the same ad, filling their little empty heads with BULLSHIT about what they are supposedly "entitled" to is more than sickening, it shows that the organization hasn't any sort of ethos at its core or in its leadership, which needs a serious flogging, if anyone is asking. I'll even volunteer.

By my math, I am another 20 years away from these political panderers sending me their welcome kit, and I'm contemplating exactly what I should scrawl across the envelope in big, black ink from my Sharpie-Sanford .44, along with "Return to sender", any thoughts? Personally, I'm leaning toward something with ED humor involved.



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Friday, March 02, 2007

A good laugh, at someone else's expense

I almost always get a warm and fuzzy feeling when one of the libtards gets his knickers in a bunch and wets his pants over something one of his own has to say about the ongoing problems in the Mid-East.

Seems to me like Sen. Levin has maybe grown a pair to me there, Bob. I like when people start calling a spade a spade, and in this case, calling out Iran and Syria for what they are. It makes it easier to spot the yellow-spined traitors, such as yourself, Bob, so thanks for outing yourself in such a public manner. It makes identification in the sea of gray that much easier.

Hope you enjoy your romper-room temper tantrum with the other kiddies, Bob.

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Thursday, March 01, 2007

Reading comprehension problems

Seems Tam is the subject of much derision coming from the "hunter fraternity" these days.

I laugh at these dimwitted twits. It's become obvious that the kiddies aren't being taught how to actually understand what it is that they are reading these days in the governmentally approved child day care centers we call skoolz. What's not to laugh about?

The inevitability of the Next Great Domestic Warâ„¢ takes another step closer to realization today, and I can't say I mind one little bit. Just someone please wake me up when the firing commences.

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