24 February 2012

Friday Follies...
It's another door to the weekend, and some more fog outside this morning, with expectations of colder temps and some snowfall later today.
Crazy weather for a crazy world, hmm?
Well, let's take a look at HOW crazy it really is, with some items of interest stemming from the automotive world, that I just have to sound off about.
*** If there is one noise I detest just as much as those damnable boomcars that rattle our house, it's people who don't know that their vehicle's MUFFLER has failed...and that should be a pretty EASY thing to figure out...all you have to do is LISTEN.
When a hole develops in a muffler, the exhaust gases are not longer silenced through the baffles inside that muffler, hence the obnoxious NOISE that the vehicle emits, drowning out everything else that vehicle might be doing wrong.
The sound a bad muffler makes is much different from those "resonator" and performance mufflers you hear out there.
Hell, I've been to NASCAR races, where they don't even BOTHER with mufflers (kills performance).
Given the nature and depth of "detuning" OUR vehicles enjoy, what comes from under that vehicle is nothing close to a finely race-tuned and harmonically-balanced engine...mainly because a lot of people don't bother to get THAT looked after, until some thing fails, or some idiot light glows on the dash.
So, it surprises the hell out of me whenever I see a repair shop in our ghettohood that says they REPLACE MUFFLERS.
I just KNOW their business is NEVER going to be dependent upon THAT fix...
And maybe that's why I don't see ANY "muffler shops" like Midas around here...people just don't give a rat's ass.
(even though my ears and our windows know that WAY TOO MANY mufflers need replacing).
I liken such cacophony to a motorboat...only louder...that "putt, putt, putt" when they sit and idle for what seems forever...just drive the hell away, for God's sake....you sideshow freak!
Our neighbor across the street is such a person...Hispanic, drives a late 90s black Ford Taurus with a sagging rear suspension (goes with the pants?) and marvelously blatant rust spots intermingling with whatever is left OF that black paint.
He drives his children around in that noise-mobile...and apparently no one in that "family" seems to mind that noise (which is always louder INSIDE a car because the frame carries the vibrations)...I know, because I once had a bad muffler on my first car....and it was ONLY ONCE.
I hated having to drive a car that sounded anything like a car on our street...everyone knew when I was coming or going, and I had the muffler replaced within several days...but then again, I gave a damn about both others as well as MYSELF.
You see, whenever a muffler develops a hole, the gases leak out, and what is directly OVER such a failed muffler or tailpipe anyway?
If you guessed the passenger cabin...you'd be CORRECT.
And with exhaust gases comes carbon monoxide...the "silent killer".
Back in the day, the LEADED gas I used in my first car had a distinct odor, so I knew that gases were leaking into the cabin.
Today, all this uber-refined and blended unleaded doesn't have quite the same "fragrance", so it can be harder to detect (unless the engine is running REAL rich...but that's another problem).
A dear (departed) friend of mine once had such a muffler leak in the winter, was driving with the windows up (as folks tend to do when it's colder than a witch's teat in a brass brassiere outside) and because of the CO leaking into the cabin, nodded off and rammed into some barriers near an exit at Girard Av. along I-95 S.
Aside from some bruises and assorted aches and pains, he got away VERY lucky, but he learned that lesson the hard way.
Leaky mufflers are NOT to be trifled with, because they can kill you.
Now, if my neighbor wants to place himself and his family at risk, that's on him...mufflers don't cost all that much, when weighed against the cost of a lengthy hospital stay, or the replacement of the family vehicle.
Maybe that's WHY this state needs to revisit the whole VEHICLE INSPECTION gig...(like they have in Philly)
They have technology that can determine if you have a bad muffler and what the CO output of a vehicle is (or should be).
And all bad mufflers do not have to be "noisy"...they can have the internal baffles collapse, and that will lead to stalling and a dropoff of performance along with poor gas mileage...something to consider when stopping by the pumps THESE days, isn't it?
And along those lines, there's this...
*** Indiana specialty tags to get a closer "look-see" by the state.
Here's one link to the article.
I have to admit, that with well OVER FIFTY DIFFERENT specialty plates in Indiana...that can get to be a tad TOO many.
But, you have to remember...like most anything that comes along these days, it's not about practicality...it's about THE MONEY.
Now, I'm all for proper representation, but gimme a damn break here...a plate for GAY YOUTH?
New rules state that if those supporting the tag can't get 1000 people (statewide) to buy one of these plates, they will not print up the plates.
That STILL leaves way too many different plates out there...some with similar alpha-numerics, which can cause issues with law-enforcement when pulled over..
One BIG issue was that the IN GOD WE TRUST PLATE has smaller ALPHA characters than the NUMERICS...making correct visualization dicey at distance (at best). Believe me...I KNOW.
And what if a person has the same alpha-numerics as another person with another plate from another county. (or state)
If an officer pulls the wrong person over, that just goes and mucks up everything and pisses the wrong folks off.
I'm just saying that it was MUCH easier when we only used to have ONE type of specialty plate - the one where you could select the letters/numbers (we called them "vanity plates" in Philly). I had one for my Firebird...KI 2000 (Knight Industries 2000 - Mom got it for me one birthday as a gift).
I had that tag until I moved to OH. Still have the plates in the basement..helluva collection for a novice.
And for goodness sake, bring BACK the EMBOSSED PLATES!
This "decal" which passes for a plate isn't even that...it's a vinyl sticker on a sheet of cheap-ass stainless steel (or maybe aluminum).
Officers could ALWAYS read the embossed plates with reflective paint...and, IF the vehicle was trashed in a FIRE, the TAG was still legible.
Can't say that when the "tag" decal shrivels the hell up from the HEAT...can you?
Besides, prisoners really MISS not having a worthwhile JOB while incarcerated....all that time watching cable TV and working out gets boring after awhile. Better to get them BACK TO WORK doing something for the tax money that PAYS for their "stay", right?
Again...it's back to BASICS...and what WORKED.
*** Lastly today, all this flap about gas prices pisses me off, and I'm not even an economist.
Hell, I don't even pretend to understand all the "nuances" that go into this "global-market" BS for crude oil.
But...I AM a driver, and I use FUEL in my car to get from *A* to *B*...as do you.
What I DO know is that I have a modicum of COMMON SENSE, and from what I've read, there sure isn't all that much of it when it comes to the management of our oil resources, thanks to government intervention, regulation, and intrusion.
Common sense tells me we should do what is needed HERE to reduce the cost of oil, and thereby drop the price of gasoline...until we can find a REAL (and lasting) alternative energy source...and right now, it's NOT ethanol...it's NOT electricity, and it's NOT being dependent on foreign oil.
America has underground reserves that RIVAL (if not surpass) those under Saudi Arabia (only Siberia has a larger such cache), and we have the technologies to extract it. We certainly have the NEED to extract it, too.
What we lack is the desire to make it possible to be accomplished.
I would raise the EXPORT TAXES on OUR crude SO damn high, that it would be impractical to sell OUR oil anywhere BUT here in the good old USA.
THAT would be a damn good start.
And I'd also do away with all these "blends" of gas to every frigging season in every frigging state in the union.
TWO grades of gas...regular and premium...for the entire nation...like the old days...period.
Maybe our oil companies might not make AS MUCH MONEY as they used to, but they would STILL turn a healthy profit...and maybe we could BUILD some new refineries along the way (create jobs), and upgrade the ones we have, along with reopening ones (more jobs) we have closed.
PRACTICALITY along with common sense should be the motivating forces that drive not only the oil industries here, but most all of our economy.
And the markets will take care of the demands and the supplies...as they used to, as long as the government tends to it's OWN issues, and leaves the rest of us all alone in the process.
And that is something I'm sure we can all agree on.
Let's put the "Happy" back in the expression HAPPY MOTORING, hmm?
Have yourselves a great weekend.
Be well, make a difference to someone today, and as always...
Stay SAFE out there, America.


CWMartin said...

Keep in mind your neighbor may not be able to afford a new muffler. Find a coupon for a muffler shop in your Sunday paper. If that doesn't help, leave them a pop can , slit and with the ends cut off, and a couple of hose clamps.

Knight Industries! Hope my comment about Hasselhoff on the last seventies countdown didn't offend!

Gas prices? Don't you read my blog? Obama is confronting our anxieties here by taking credit for the help he hasn't been! You should feel better now!

Bob G. said...

Yeah, he probably CAN'T afford to puchase a muffler...must be ALL those 24 packs of BEER that go into the house several times a week that prevents THAT from happening...LOL.

Actually, a weekend "field-butch" fix (in the day) WAS to tin-snip a metal can (coffee cans were the preferred item) and WRAP it around the offending tailpipe segment, then use a coat hangar to wire it all together...worked for MONTHS!!!

As to the HOFF comments...nah, didn't bother me.
I remember when he WAS a lot better person (and sober)...met him TWICE in Philly...great guy (and TALL, too)
Have to show 'ya the pictures some day.
Got to meet his (then) future (ex) wife, Catherine Hickland (she was a REAL sweetie and hugged me when we took a picture together)
She was on the soap CAPITOL at the time.
We would have made a great couple, given our particular "height"...LOL.
Think I even have my ALBUM of the Hoff...signed, too!
Ah yes, THOSE were the days.

The "O" should take some credit for how far down the crapper he's taken this nation...

Thanks for stopping on hy today and chatting me up.
Much appreciated.

Stay safe up there this weekend.

CWMartin said...

I well remember "Mrs. Tyler McCandless" on Capitol. We did a lot of soap opera watching (and a few other less legal activities) during my time as an "Unemployed bum" or UEB. Deborah Farantino ("Sloane Denning") was hotter.

Bob G. said...

Debbie WAS A hottie...I rememeber her from that short-lived series EARTH II.
Yeah, I could see a "soap" cat-fight between those two (pass the popcorn).
Be much better than Joan Collins and Linda Evans.

Stay safe up there.

The Queen said...

Saggy pants? Do the world a favor and hide the coupon. If they are not smart enough to pull up their pants they are not smart enough to live.

Bob G. said...


Personally, I'd even like to see such "people" parade (by law) around CITY HALL with a sandwich board on them saying:
(along with a nice healthy FINE)

We used to publicly display such bad folk (pillory) and maybe we can SHAME these idiots into compliance with decenc again.

Lord knows they could use some humility in their pathetic lives.

I wouldn't want my child exposed to THEIR "exposure"...OR their damn noise.

Thanks for stopping by and commenting.

Stay safe.