Je Suis Charlie?
Events in France this week had a disturbing effect on the placid pool of limpid lilies which comprise my conscious self. I pondered long and hard about the audacity, the insanity, the savagery. I saw the main stream media profess “je suis Charlie”, but methinks the msm doth don the cloak of a sheepdog when they are but befuddled sheep.
Who can, in good conscience, use the je suis Charlie tag line without feeling guilty or ashamed?
Joe and I say scant few in the Western world. Scant few, but they do exist. In the world of journalism, of newspapers, of social media, of radio, of television, the number of “Charlies” can be counted on the fingers of one hand. Canada’s Ezra Levant is one of the few journalists in the world who published the Danish cartoons back in 2006. The ONLY publisher in Canada. Remember the time? He is a stalwart champion of free speech, individual liberty, rule of law. Was his reward accolades for excellent journalism? No, he was dragged into the kangaroo court of Canada’s “Human Rights Commission” by the Alberta HRC to defend himself. 900 days later, Ezra was exonerated. Ezra’s activism in his own defense was a cornerstone leading to the removal of section 13 of the Canadian HR act by parliament. Mr. Levant’s commentary on the brutal slaughter in Paris is required listening:
Which camp are you in? Can you say “Je suis Charlie” with a clear conscience?
Canadian blogger Kathy Shaidle doesn’t hold back:
Canadian pundit Mark Steyn also doesn’t spare the rod (article by Kathy Shaidle):
We refugees from the ’60’s will remember R. Crumb. Here’s his je suis Charlie moment –
Unlike “Global Warming®”, the threat from unhinged wackjobs with 7th century social skills is REAL. Adjust your noggin knob. Tune in, turn up, or time out – maybe snuff out when the savages get up close and personal…. No time for turning the other cheek. You’ll find out too quickly you run out of cheeks pretty damn fast….
A conundrum….. I’m not adverse to modern vehicle bells, whistles, amenities, and whiz-bang technology: there seems no end in sight. For example, I like rear view cameras. Backing up is more dangerous than going forward; it’s a given. I like power windows and electric door locks; they’re convenient. I like radial tires and disc brakes (at least on the front axle(s)); they’re safer, more reliable, simpler. I like efficient time delay windshield wipers that run on electricity not vacuum; if you can’t see you’ll hit a tree. I like seat belts with shoulder harness; one-half mass times velocity squared is the impact force with which you hit the nearest object. I like heaters that heat – remember the Volkswagen Beetle wheezy baby breath heaters of yesteryear?
I like fuel injection and computer controlled ignition: efficient and trouble free. Alas, the fly in the ointment – there has never been a vehicle or machine of any description that didn’t wear out or break down. When that happens, you have a choice or three: fix it, buy a new one, learn to live without it. If I missed choices, sue me.
Has automotive design reached it’s apogee? Some say poppycock. I and Joe say way passed apogee to apology and farce.
For example, why in the world would anyone need a vehicle which parallel parks on it’s own? If you can’t do that not so simple but not rocket science task, how is your steering ability, your braking, your anticipation, your visual acuity, your spatial coordination? If parking fucks your junk, what about foul weather? If you can’t park a car / truck / tractor at creeping speed, how in hell could you be trusted at 100 kmph on a snowy slushy two lane highway? Even if driving was a right (another discussion) you would need to have a degree of competence to survive. Driver, heal thyself. Do self parking cars come free? The engineering challenge must have been dauntless, but other than the challenge, what benefit to humankind?
How about cars that won’t let you change lanes because a computer has decided it is unsafe to do so?
How about cars that apply the brakes without the driver’s input, based on some predetermined calculus?
Joe says why not spend these countless engineering hours and dollars perfecting systems / processes / assemblies / materials that are necessary to build a better vehicle? More efficient, lighter, safer, more capable, easy and cheap to maintain. Let the driver spend some $$$ on learning how to drive, not bells and whistles to compensate for poor skill. Compensation strategy leads to disaster.
Which brings me but mostly Joe to this week’s cluster fuck in Ford engineering excellence. Joe is working on a Lincoln LS (I’m the lowly reporter and picture taker). The job is a puzzler – missing, stalling, no power – no codes. The computer is happy. Fuel pressure within specification. Compression 195 lb./sq.in. +/- 5 psi all cylinders. Many hours of web surfing, dealer calling, TSP reading, manual browsing later, Joe developed a procedure forward. One of the steps involves replacing the cam cover gaskets on the motor – an oil leak can fill the spark plug wells or a water leak can short the coils. Fine. Parts ordered and received – $100.00 Cdn. per side for cam cover gaskets? Yikes!!! Shop cleaned. Tools more or less organized. OK, ok, less organized, but ready to proceed……
Here is the Lincoln LS engine bay in all it’s glory, with the passenger side cam cover removed –
I was quite pleased to snap this picture of the right side cams. Joe swore and cursed and yelled something awful to get this far. To remove all 9 shrouds, caps, ducts, boxes, and plates, then remove the coil covers to finally expose the cam cover enough to remove it took 4 hours. I’m sure if you did it every day, it may only take a few hours……. but….. why?
Flash back to an earlier Ford engine, the flathead V-8 (1932-1953) – there is no valve cover. WTF?
Compare the two pictures – flathead Ford and Lincoln LS engine bays. The engines are both V-8’s, displacing 3.9 litres. Now think of what makes an internal combustion motor work. 1949 to 2000 is 51 years. Both engines have pistons, valves, rods, a crankshaft, cam(s) (the flathead has one, the Lincoln has 4), coil(s) (the flathead has one, the Lincoln has 8), and a fuel delivery system with pump and mixer (the flathead has one fuel pump, one carburetor, the Lincoln has two fuel pumps, 8 fuel injectors). An example: the 1949 Ford V-8 has 100 hp, 180 lb/ft from 3.9 L 16.6 mpusg avg. (overdrive transmission), and weighs 3018 lb. (2 door coupe). The 2000 Lincoln LS has 252 hp, 267 lb/ft from 3.9 L 17 / 23 mpusg (city/highway) and weighs 3692 lb. (2 door coupe). The Lincoln is physically smaller while weighing approximately 700 lb. more than the old timer. The Lincoln cost $34,000 USD or $46,768 USD today, the ’49 Ford $1,415 USD or $14,009 USD today. Both were voted “Car of the Year” when they were new.
If you waded through all the info above, you might agree that 51 years didn’t bring a lot of improvement on paper, although neither Joe or I would argue which is the best car – newer is better. Engineering refinements abound in suspension, brakes, engine, transmission, creature comfort, safety, materials – almost any measurable quality or quantity is better in the new vehicle……… BUT…. is it worth 3 X as much for the differences?
If it is worth 3X as much for the amenities, how about the cost of maintenance and repair? I am already $600.00 Cdn into parts (discounted) for the Lincoln to solve an engine misfire / stall condition. What if it needs coil over plug assemblies? $75.00 Cdn each, 8 per engine + tax = $700.00 Cdn all de do da day. Conversely, the coil for a flathead is about $35.00 Cdn. A complete tune-up for the ’49 would be in the neighborhood of replacing one coil over plug in the Lincoln (including labor).
Because vehicle are more expensive to purchase and maintain in the modern world, because driving has been “dumbed down” to a dangerous level of competence, because big fat bastards (sorry mom!) like Joe and Dave can’t even fit into little cars like a Lincoln LS, because the older design is more rugged and less complex, because new cars don’t smell as good inside as the old timers made with natural materials, our quest for a 1949 Ford “Shoebox” gains momentum. Here’s the machine for me –
Dig that funky paint scheme – 66 years of patina! A flathead motor was very efficient for it’s time: clean burning and excellent brake-specific fuel curve for the day. It had trouble with overheating and breathing – the L head design has the exhaust departing around the cylinders to reach the manifold. However, the engine has only 3 main bearings, no pushrods (similar to the Jaguar cam follower design), no rocker arms, which adds up to low friction loss. Many would say the day of the flatty is long gone. Here’s a link to what the flathead forever crowd has done: http://www.flatfire.com/flatfire2.htm Over 550 hp. from a flathead!! The plan, Stan, is to find a close to stock ’49 (they made over 1 million of them) and drive it. Fix it when it breaks. Maybe improve some of the systems, i.e. foundation brakes from single master to dual, drum brakes up front to disk. Convert to 12 vdc power. Install seat belts. Modern tires. If you spot a ’49 or ’50 (single bullet grille) for sale that hasn’t been “hot rodded” please give us a heads up.
Actually, many of the Fords from 1932 to 1973 are desirable. Up until the California legislature started demanding technology that simply did not exist. Disaster when government interferes with the “free market”…
Joe can’t take much more working on modern “ship in a bottle” designs where you can see it but not touch it.
He’s loosing his sense of humor and I don’t think that’s funny…. Rum is not always the answer.
Home Front Folly
Joe was getting frustrated working on vehicles. I suggested we concentrate on the house renovation, specifically the upgrade of the electrical system. Typical ’60’s home build, with 2 electrical receptacles in every room whether you need them or not, with the exception of only one receptacle on an outside wall. The original 100 amp panel was mounted behind the furnace on the basement wall, too close for code. A sub-panel was loaded to the max. The distribution also old code, no code, or downright stupid. A 200 amp panel upgrade seemed the sane solution. Steve T. helped me select the pieces I’d need. Pull a permit, and let’s go!
Ian H. the electrical inspector was very understanding of the project and proposed procedure. David S. and I tore out the old basement “family” room, then rebuilt the stud walls to our specification. Replace the old sub-panel with the new 200 amp service (temporary sub-panel), swing all the old sub circuits, rough in the room, and call Ian for an inspection. On Friday he came by to inspect, comment, and suggest. Passed! On to the next phase. Here’s a picture of the new service panel in a code friendly location and format –
Also placed a sub-panel in the attached garage. That’s how the entire upgrade began – the attached garage didn’t have enough power, and the existing panels couldn’t support a 60 amp feed for welders / motor home supply. A view of the garage sub-panel –
The downstairs future “family room” is taking shape. Insulation this week –
Joe keeps pestering me to get the foundry up and burning. I gotta laugh at his ambition. The mix is way off – 80% ambition, 20% action. That may be a lie…..
As Ernest Hemmingway said, “Don’t confuse motion with action“.
It must be beer time……
Here is what the French are doing in the wake of THREE attacks this week:
Check out the video at the link. Makes a fella think there is still a chance for Westworld®
Cartoonists are also speaking out in their inimitable way –
The gif below shows some of the impromptu assemblage in solidarity. Estimated 1.1 million French men and women.
Whatever your opinion or perspective of France and the French, these links indicate an immense respect and love.
POLITICS, POLITICIANS, WACKJOBBERY, HUMOR, STUPID STUFF
THE CULTURE (THERE IS ONLY ONE)
This is how you fish for piranhas in Brazil
Are “Black Leaders” in the U.S. piranhas? If so, where is this young woman when you need her?
PHILOSOPHY, PHILOSOPHERS, SMART THINKING
GUNS, GUNNERS, GUNNERY
RELIGION OF PEACE (ON ALL OF US)
Je suis racist, aussi
The latest statistics for anyone keeping count – 24,831 deadly terrorist attacks since the atrocity of 9/11:
WEATHER (OR NOT)
Where’s Joe’s Stuff?
This week is reminiscent of weather from past Okanagan decades. I’m thinking mid ’90’s and late ’70’s. Bernie M. can testify to hockey in Revelstoke when the snow was so high it reached roof lines, and all the street signs were buried. We didn’t get that much snow this week, but we did get it all at once: overnight. Here’s a quiz for Snowbirds® and potential Canadians wherever they may be:
Q.1 (easy) – Find a 1955 Chev truck, a 1986 F250 4X4, and a 1993 Rockwood motor home in this picture –
Q.2 (difficult) – Identify the following in the picture –
- Polaris ATV
- Ford LGT 100 garden tractor
- 1990 Ford Thunderbird
- 1988 F250 4X4 regular cab
- 1993 Peterbilt 379
- 1983 Ford Ranger
- Craftsman garden tractor e/w trailer
- 1997 Ford Explorer
- 1990 Ford E250 van
- Fire pit
- Lawn rake
Q.3 (bonus) – Name the year and model of this classic Lincoln –
Don’t feel too poorly if you couldn’t get them all. Come by in
March April, have a beer with me, and check your answers.
Joe (le neige) Mekanic
p.s. Ramirez is easily identified –