Sunday Rant – 5213

[date Sun, Dec 29, 2013 at 4:09 PM]


“There are no great limits to growth because there are no limits of human intelligence, imagination, and wonder.” – Ronald Regan

New Years Day is (of course) a day like any other day…….. except it’s not. Technically, it is an arbitrary milestone or signpost recognizing the progression of the earth’s trek around the sun; the passage of time. It is approximately 365 1/4 days in duration, which is rationalized during “leap year” by the addition of one day to February. FYI, 2014 is not a leap year. Socially, culturally, rationally, emotionally, everyone in the world observes the New Year – even those who promulgate denial of this Western cultural event or believe in a different measure to mark the passage of time (China and Muslims for example) – their remonstrations are at the very least condolence to the fact that something has happened.

There are three conflicts in life – man vs man, man vs the environment, man vs self

The custom at this time of year is to reflect on each of these conflicts, then make lists (10 best, 10 worst, 53 mediocre, et cetera).

Here are some early lists that are interesting (for reasons as noted). The REAL lists won’t all be published before next year:

World’s most powerful people (Forbes magazine): – I’m not shocked to see Vladimir Putin as number one. He has outmaneuvered Obambi and his minions. Not even a contest. Most powerful doesn’t imply “fighting for right and goodness”, which Obambi couldn’t qualify for either.

Best actors for the bucks. An interesting perspective: -I like the approach of this list. It is very close to a free market exchange. Gotta love capitalism when it is unfettered by government. Too bad that’s not the case here……. but close. The “feminists” (whatever that term might mean these days) can mount their soap box, grab the bull horn, and start bellering about how women aren’t paid the same as men and are objectified and are subjugated to X, Y, Z. What it looks like to me is opportunity. Viva capitalism! Viva free trade (which hasn’t been seen outside of Hong Kong for over 100 years….

The world’s 50 best restaurants for 2013: – I’m relieved to know Canada doesn’t make the list. My kitchen isn’t big enough to share…..

Car and Driver’s 10 best cars for 2013: – Two Fords? There haven’t been two Fords in the C & D top 10 in 30 years. I hope Ford isn’t slumming with the Eurocrap……….

There will be countless more lists to review and critique in the weeks to come…..

Personal Reflections

On a personal note, reflection on the 5 W’s and H of your life to date, especially the current year of personal history – the man vs self stuff – is fodder for seasonal review.

Joe Mekanic and I distill (that’s a great word!) the year into two categories. Somewhat akin to a “pro” and “con” analysis. Some pros and cons using cartooning follow. The longer I live, the more I admire a good cartoon. Way more effective than a poem….

Con –

The biggest drawback to being an “Expressive” (Social Styles) is starting a plethora of projects, starting down hundreds of trails, chasing ideas and ideals, galloping off in all directions, then discovering (for the umpteenth time) that I’ll be lucky to reach 1 out of 100 of my milestones, attain 1 out of 1000 of my objectives, or complete ANY of the projects started with such energy, such concentration, such planning, such total disregard for time and reality, such lack of capitalization, such lack of knowledge, or such lack of ability, (Christ on a moped, I haven’t even dented the list of books I wanted to read this year (over 200)……) that any fool knows I’m doomed at the outset.

Any fool but me.

The reality is……….. I’m a junky polymath. I’m interested in so much stuff, I’d have to live a dozen lifetimes before I could even get a grasp on what makes it all work. Summing up the year 2013 for me in the con / disappointment arena, the one absolute must resolve to fix, is time management. I’ve read books and taken courses: always thought it would be a good idea. Then life happens. Kinda like this young fellow –

Another good resolution would be to figure out when someone is asking for advice, or just wanting to talk about an issue or problem. There is a role for each and I frequently assume the incorrect role –

A third resolution is to take life a bit more seriously. In my mind I’ve been a grasshopper way more than an ant (5:1 or better, I reckon). A remnant of the culture I was raised in? I’m guessing nurture / nature –

My intuition tells me that this feeling of loss of control, lack of plan, ignorance of direction, failure to grasp concepts or to discriminate between worthwhile and worthless will only get worse (or better, depending on perspective). Dementia, here I come!

Here’s the REAL New Year’s resolution for me (and many, many others) –

On the pro side of the ledger, I had some marvelous times with family and friends this year. Met some great new people. Learned a lot. Thought a lot. Survived an appendix removal. Grew impressive wattles. Kept all my teeth. Lost some weight. Stayed fiscally and physically healthy with exceptions (that may turn out to be a lie – the tax man has audited me and issued a bill – anyone know a good tax lawyer? (Did I just use “good” and “lawyer” in the same sentence? I’m doomed!)). Had as much fun as I could manage. Drover adage: If you’re not having fun, you’re doing something wrong. I filled the year with Dudley Do-Right-ness….

As Mr. McGarrity used to say: “All in all Maggie, you’ve had quite a day!”

And Maggie would invariably say: “I don’t know what’ll happen tomorrow….”

That is the crux of the entire “problem” of life. There is no solution other than the “final solution”. Ergo, if the answer is known, all that remains is to be kind, do good things, and tell your friends and family you love them. The rest is mice nuts………

As Angus & Phil say –

So, the question becomes Clint-ish: “Well punk, are you feeling lucky?”

Yes Mr. Eastwood, yes I am.

My best wishes to everyone. Have a lucky year!



A long time ago in Droverian time (last spring) while driving Claire Rae home from Calgary in a blizzard of sorts, I found the need for speed was impeded by a vibration above 100 kph in 4 wheel drive. Seemed to be coming from the front end. Following the best advice of McWatt (oh well, what the hell….) I promptly forgot the vibration when I entered the “no snow zone” spring weather in the Okanagan.

Some months later while changing oil and filter, I thought to give the front drive shaft a bit of a shake while under the truck. The transfer case universal joint was a tad loose. Like 1/4 inch rattle loose. In true Droverian® fashion, I filed the knowledge, entered a “fix it” notation in my noggin, and proceeded to push the repair work down the schedule on those odd occasions when I remembered about it.

Then came the snow. Then the Ranger 4 wheel drive electrical control went fritzing. THEN I thought a great thought…… Let’s fix Claire Rae!

Lying in snow at -5°C would usually cause me to put together world class strings of profanity, disapprobation, and curses against all and any lifeforms which created any of the mess I found myself struggling to correct.

But not this time.

Claire Rae is a 1986 F250 4X4 with no frlls and very few amenities. Her forte, when you start her: the old faithful under the hood goes dinga – dinga – dinga until you either turn the key to “off”, or run out of fuel. I’m talking reliable at 320,000 km. of work and play. Some vehicles are designed for assembly line efficiency. Some vehicles (not many since 1950) are designed for maintenance. Claire Rae is one of those easy to work on era hangovers. Here’s what I found when disassembling the u-joints on the front drive shaft.

The failed u-joint. The needle bearings are long gone. Looking closely, both “cross” bearing shafts are tapered (not supposed to be tapered) from rattling around in the caps. The caps are worn too. This is an original equipment u-joint (no grease nipple), probably manufactured by Spicer –

The front u-joint was still OK. It also is original equipment. I replaced it just because I was there, and so was it. Here’s one of the new u-joints in place –

Total cost of parts (2 Moog u-joints) was less than $50 Cdn. Total time 1-1/2 hours (because of the snow)… While under the truck to re-install the front drive shaft, I checked out the rear u-joints. Both are original equipment. Both are in good condition. At 320,000 km.

My theory about why the front drive shaft rear universal joint failed is simple. The transfer case front flange is located so that the u-joint is close to an exhaust pipe. Because the front drive shaft only turns when the front hubs are engaged or the transfer case is selected, the u-joint gets fried over time by the exhaust pipe. That’s my theory and I’m stuck to it……

Now for the lecture…..

The ever aggressive government regulations regarding vehicle safety, performance, and byproducts (i.e. pollution, recycling, renewing), are the source of ever more costly solutions that are a huge burden on consumers. Recent years of Ford trucks and SUV’s require removing the cab from the chassis in order to perform major mechanical repairs. Another example is wheel bearings – they are non-greasable and are only replaceable as a modular unit – usually at over 5 times the cost of the old style “wheel bearings and seal” approach.

I’m as impressed as anyone about the performance of new vehicles. What doesn’t impress me is the initial cost, nor the cost of consumables and parts that are designed to wear out. Or the mileage attained when they wear out.

An example: Claire Rae is powered by an indirect injected 6.9L diesel engine with all mechanical control. It is not as efficient as newer designs, but by no measure is it unacceptable. No computer to run electronic injectors or control timing, fuel flow, or manage any of the functions of the engine. The cost to purchase 8 glow plugs, 8 fuel injectors, and an injector pump for Claire Rae (less than $1000 USD) is cheaper than buying ONE injector on the most current 6.7L Ford diesel. These parts are suggested maintenance replacements every 100,000 MILES on the old girl – awesome economy. The cost escalation is similar for all manufacturers – newer costs an order of magnitude more.

There is no comparison between the comfort and performance of Claire Rae with the new machines. Newer is way better. However, for my $$$, I travel a little slower, in a lot less style, and with as much dependability and safety needed to meet my needs.

My personal approach is not for everyone I suppose. Outside owning a home, vehicle ownership and operation is a major expense. Most people spend more on transportation than they do on food. Some even spend more on transportation than booze and food together. You can look it up……….

If anyone has a line on a 1949 or 1950 Ford business coupe, let me know. I’m going backward, not forward…… My next new car will be as old as me.


This speech from Frank Abagnale at Fed Talks 2013 struck a resonate chord with me. His life is chronicled as only Hollywood and the progressive left could do in movie, books, and stage play. His story is “Catch Me if You Can”. Unlike a number of his “fans” from the left, he is not proud of his feats of deception, of fraud, of impersonation, of forgery. He is a gifted speaker, and tells his own story at the annual Fed Talks event:


Who knows the limit of an unfettered mind?


All folks who think Europe is an ideal social and cultural environment, an earthly paradise, better get on a ship or plane to that continent and enjoy the declining years. The wisdom of French politicians cannot be over lauded. 75% income tax here we come!:

75% income tax victims, here we go! Like Mr. Gerard Depardeau did early this year by applying for and receiving Russian citizenship:

As the article states, the wealthy are alert, aware, and mobile. The French tax law is now extent – but the number of wealthy they will steal from will be diminished. Overall? My bet will be less revenue than they were getting at the reduced rate. Unless, of course, they invoke some bullshit with “International Law” and try to take the money from these once Francophone foreigners. As the US of A is doing with “ex pats” living in Canada and other countries who have not changed their citizenship…. Very troubling times for those who want access to other people’s money. Socialism is no answer to any problem.




From cousin Delsie, some W.H.O. statistics about murder in the world. Not statistics about murder by firearm alone, but an inclusive list of all murder.

WORLD MURDER STATISTICS From the World Health Organization:
The latest Murder Statistics for the world - Murders per 100,000 citizens:
Honduras 91.6
El Salvador 69.2
Cote d'lvoire 56.9
Jamaica 52.2
Venezuela 45.1
Belize 41.4
US Virgin Islands 39.2
Guatemala 38.5
Saint Kits and Nevis 38.2
Zambia 38.0
Uganda 36.3
Malawi 36.0
Lesotho 35.2
Trinidad and Tobago 35.2
Colombia 33.4
South Africa 31.8
Congo 30.8
Central African Republic 29.3
Bahamas 27.4
Puerto Rico 26.2
Saint Lucia 25.2
Dominican Republic 25.0
Tanzania 24.5
Sudan 24.2
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines 22.9
Ethiopia 22.5
Guinea 22.5
Dominica 22.1
Burundi 21.7
Democratic Republic of the Congo 21.7
Panama 21.6
Brazil 21.0
Equatorial Guinea 20.7
Guinea-Bissau 20.2
Kenya 20.1
Kyrgyzstan 20.1
Cameroon 19.7
Montserrat 19.7
Greenland 19.2
Angola 19.0
Guyana 18.6
Burkina Faso 18.0
Eritrea 17.8
Namibia 17.2
Rwanda 17.1
Mexico 16.9
Chad 15.8
Ghana 15.7
Ecuador 15.2
North Korea 15.2
Benin 15.1
Sierra Leone 14.9
Mauritania 14.7
Botswana 14.5
Zimbabwe 14.3
Gabon 13.8
Nicaragua 13.6
French Guiana 13.3
Papua New Guinea 13.0
Swaziland 12.9
Bermuda 12.3
Comoros 12.2
Nigeria 12.2
Cape Verde 11.6
Grenada 11.5
Paraguay 11.5
Barbados 11.3
Togo 10.9
Gambia 10.8
Peru 10.8
Myanmar 10.2
Russia 10.2
Liberia 10.1
Costa Rica 10.0
Nauru 9.8
Bolivia 8.9
Mozambique 8.8
Kazakhstan 8.8
Senegal 8.7
Turks and Caicos Islands 8.7
Mongolia 8.7
British Virgin Islands 8.6
Cayman Islands 8.4
Seychelles 8.3
Madagascar 8.1
Indonesia 8.1
Mali 8.0
Pakistan 7.8
Moldova 7.5
Kiribati 7.3
Guadeloupe 7.0
Haiti 6.9
Timor-Leste 6.9
Anguilla 6.8
Antigua and Barbuda 6.8
Lithuania 6.6
Uruguay 5.9
Philippines 5.4
Ukraine 5.2
Estonia 5.2
Cuba 5.0
Belarus 4.9
Thailand 4.8
Suriname .6
Laos 4.6
Georgia 4.3
Martinique 4.2
And ...................
The United States 4.2
ALL the countries (109) above America have 100% gun bans.
It might be of interest to note that SWITZERLAND(not shown on this list)
However, SWITZERLAND'S law requires that EVERYONE....
1. Own a Gun
2. Maintain Marksman qualifications....regularly
3. "Carry"........a Weapon. How come we never hear about this?

Joe Mekanic wonders who is killing whom? Of those killed, what was their culture, their ethnic orientation, their “religion”? Joe doesn’t include the “race” identity for obvious political reasons……….. If the W.H.O. knows those facts, they’re not about to publish them for the same sort of reasons. If you take the “race” aspect into account in the United States, their number drops significantly lower. Joe wonders why no one wants to analyze the data from this aspect BEFORE they come to the conclusion it is about poverty and “white privilege” and poor behavioral models and the other usual suspects. Just wondering………

I’m re-thinking Belize as a retirement destination….


I’m not a fan of Duck Dynasty – watched it once, had a laugh, didn’t bother watching more. Not my type of program – “reality” shows are…….. not real. I’m not a Christian, although my parents exposed me to that path. That which brings me comfort is rational thought, logic, cold beer, good people. Despite my lack of a “good Christian upbringing”, the following comparison is valid to me –

The statement above (i.e. I’m confused…which one is hate speech?) is sarcasm. If you read it and don’t know it’s sarcasm, re-read the two statements. Phil Robertson is not a bad man. I would suggest those screaming and pontificating for his downfall might be enjoying a schadenfreude moment that really wasn’t, in my opinion.

Comparing what Mr. Phil Robertson said to statements from other sources about the same issues (for instance what awaits gays / fornicators in the “Religion of Peace”), I’d choose Mr. Robertson every time. It seems that the great hammer of social media can’t whack all the moles with consistency…….. Saying you believe something to be wrong is a long, long way from wishing death and misery to befall those with whom you disagree. There is a great gulf between “free speech” and death threats, libelous statements, bilious rancor, thinly veiled incipient malicious intent. Although the later is free speech, no question, the author(s) of such screed(s) always takes no responsibility for their words and thoughts. As if the words and thoughts were nothing more than noise. A type of “rage noise”. There are consequences to irresponsible actions. Speaking in a public forum is an action…… As Kate McMillan ( ) states, “Not showing up to riot is a failed Conservative policy” (a lucid argument of this statement can be read here: ). The only way to make these crazy people responsible for their speech / actions is to engage them. At whichever venue or arena or battlefield is necessary. Dirty despicable disgusting work that must be done…..

Mark Steyn (as usual) has a profound lot to say about the subject:

The best quote in the article is from Bob Hope, many years ago after the passage of the Consenting Adult Sex Act of 1975 in California – “I’ve just flown in from California, where they’ve made homosexuality legal. I thought I’d get out before they make it compulsory.” Very prescient. As usual with human enterprise in the “land of the free”, all sides will gather momentum until the instant they collide. Sorta like the CERN particle accelerator – by design!

That is the beauty of free speech. Ideas, good or bad, are part of the public discourse. The culture will grow / mature only through the open discussion / conflict of these ideas. When the ideas collide, there can only be a finite number of outcomes. Some ideas are better than others. Some solutions are, too. Where free speech is prohibited, progress is thwarted; there is tyranny afoot. The Frankfurt School is the source of many of the leftist ideology, paradigms, and processes that glorify a Marxist / Socialist approach to culture, economics, morality, ethics. What is “Political Correctness”? Here is a three part expose titled “The History of Political Correctness”:

Part 1: [youtube]

Part 2: [youtube]

Part 3: [youtube]

I for one don’t want to be “saved” from Western culture, or capitalism, or free enterprise, or free trade, or freedom, or liberty, or private property. The purveyors of this philosophy are truly bad people who don’t know they are bad.


Daniel Greenfield demonstrates intelligent thought in this opinion article titled “The Left Is Too Smart to Fail”:

Joe Mekanic says “I like the cut of Daniel Greenfield’s intellectual jib”. Aaaarrrrh matey!

“A major source of objection to a free economy is precisely that it does this task so well. It gives people what they want, instead of what a particular group thinks they ought to want. Underlying most arguments against the free market is a lack of belief in freedom itself.”

– Milton Freedman


Slavery is an ancient human activity. The North American slave trade is a shameful history for the West. However, it was recognized as a travesty and eradicated. As bad as it was, North America represented about 5% of the total number of slaves brought to the Americas. Brazil was the worst in terms of numbers. Yet the quantity of slaves brought to the Americas is a pittance compared to the number enslaved by the Muslims over 1400 years. Watch and learn:


The Koran is a flawed document. The “religion” of Islam is a flawed religion. The culture of Sharia is a flawed culture. Perhaps one day I’ll say what I REALLY mean…..


From Fora TV, a discussion of “What is Religion?”. Daniel Dennett, David Wilson, Jon Haught, and Gustav Neiber (moderator) kick this idea around for more than an hour with predictable results:

First in a series of discussions about religion.

The appropriate hymn sung by Iris Dement:


Lot’s of snow this week, with mild temperatures. Even a short burst of sunlight from time to time….. Here’s a sunset picture from a couple of days ago. I ignore the white stuff for mental hygiene reasons –

Unlike our Canadian brethren “back East”, and “up North”, we’ve got it sussed her in the OKanagan. Almost enjoyable until I realize there are places on earth where it NEVER snows even once in a calendar year.

For those outside the best place to live in Canada, a small cartoon of conciliation –

Joe (Snug as a Bug) Mekanic

p.s. Ramirez is proof that cartoonists are a superior life form –

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