29 February 2012

Humpday Happenings...
We begin this "leap day" of February (and end the month itself) on a rather "soft" note this morning.
Yes friends, it's raining...and rather well too.
Not a downpour, but not anywhere near a drizzle, either...a soothing type of rain, if one could categorize it.
But, we will not allow it to dampen our SPIRITS, will we?
With that said, let's see to our WHO SAID THAT? quote of the week.
"You cannot qualify war in harsher terms than I will. War is cruelty and you cannot refine it, and those who brought war into our country deserve all the curse and maledictions a people can pour out."
So...who said it? Sounds like something you could say about things TODAY, doesn't it?
(Answer tomorrow at the top of the post)
I was going to talk a bit about how Wifey went to school (work) today with a nice burgundy top, BLACK skirt and (yet) wore BROWN shoes...but I'll let you decide on how much of a "fashion faux-pas" that was...LOL.
Now, if she had a TAN top and TAN shoes with a BLACK skirt...that would work, but if I went out (make that TRIED to go out when I was young) wearing black pants and BROWN shoes, BOTH my Mom AND Dad would call me on that one, so as an adult, that just didn't happen!
I grew up with a distinct sense of what TO wear, as well as what NOT to wear (hmm...kinda sounds like some TV show on cable)
And ladies, feel free to chime in on this...I only want the Missus to look as nice as I know she could be.
Moving onward...and yes, I'm wearing (tactical) BLACK shoes with my (woodland) camos...lol
*** One of the first things I do after I wake up, is to turn on the police radio, because living in the crotch of Fort Wayne, it behooves one to be aware of any situation that might arise, given the nature of the beasts living all around.
I find it both amusing and disturbing when I hear of a police call for some kid that won't bother to get his ass in gear and get the hell to school.
This type of call would NEVER occur when I was growing up.
You just never bothered the police with such trivialities, because they were busy taking care of REAL CRIME on the streets.
If you (as a youth) decided it wasn't "on your plate" to get to school, you might want to consider in what manner you'd be eating the next several meals at your house, because sitting DOWN would be a tad painful.
It was the PARENTS that held sway and dispensed DISCIPLINE to the misbehaving children in their charge...and that worked.
So, it's no wonder that in today's world, whenever I hear or see some "parent" who just tosses her hands up and says: "I dunno whut to do wif dat boy...he don wan go tuh school, an aw he wan do is hang ow wif his frenz.", it bothers me...a lot.
Maybe she should have practiced discipline when he was YOUNGER, and not allowed others to mete out whatever passes for discipline these days?
Hell, there were days when I didn't want to go to school, but sassing Mom (or Dad, God forbid) wasn't on the agenda, wasn't an option, and got you into more trouble than you could imagine. And never once were the POLICE called to "intervene".
I'm sure you went through the same thing.
You KNEW that if you didn't go to school, you were going to be "a failure" in life (and there was never a loss for driving that point home).
There was no reasoning...no discussion...no debate.
Unless you were SICK, you went to school...period.
Now, I can't think of ANY student that REALLY wants to begin their day by being hauled off to the ACJC (Allen County Juvenile Center), but apparently some DO prefer that to getting an education, and becoming a worthwhile individual.
I suppose we can expect to see THEIR mugshot on the news in a few years for doing some heinous crime.
Does that mean the "system" failed these people?
Certainly NOT.
What is most troubling (especially in the world we live in today), is that THEY FAIL THEMSELVES.
There are in place (today) MORE "safety-nets" than in all of the Barnum & Bailey as well as Cirque du soleil high wire acts COMBINED, and yet these kids CHOOSE the wrong path...and make the bad choices.
Maybe it's got something to do with "kids raising kids"...can't really say, but it's got to figure into this.
What I can say is that it's a troubled course these children are on with such behavior, and when you have to call the police into the mix, it's because you've allowed it to get THAT far out of hand...simple as that.
*** I was listening to one of my favorite retired Army Lt. Colonels the other day (and again last night), one Ralph Peters, who served in the intelligence branch, and expresses his views marvelously, when he spoke to our "mission" in Afghanistan.
Now, as Patton once said (in the movie, anyway)..."America LOVES a winner...and will not tolerate a loser".
And given the nature OF our military (past and present), we have always been able to back that one up.
In our brief history as an independent nation, we have seen to it that we come out ON TOP, and with the types of enemies we have fought over time, it was certainly in our best interest that we have succeeded in that accomplishment.
But the whole Middle East thing has got both Ralph and myself wondering...about what constitutes a "victory" there.
WHY did we ever go into Afghanistan in the FIRST place?
Short answer: To KILL BIN LADEN.
(mission accomplished , even IF he was actually killed in Pakistan.)
So WHY then are we STILL there (in Afghanistan)?
We should not be in the business of "nation-building", because it's a whole different ballgame than it was after WW2.
Sure, the MARSHALL PLAN worked (and damn well, too), but you have to realize that both Germany as well as Japan were NOT Afghanistan.
Japan might have just exited the Feudal realm, but they were fast learners and got into the Industrial Age at damn near warp-speed.
Germany had been a center for technologies and innovation LONG before America became a country.
(Gutenberg and something called a printing press ring a bell?)
Choosing to HELP rebuild BOTH of those nations was in the best interest of EVERYONE, and not just for those peoples.
Plus, they were civilized well enough to take the assistance we gave to them and "run with it", to re-establish themselves.
Afghanistan isn't quite there yet...and won't be for another several hundred years.
Although these people DO have access to modern technologies, societally, they are infantile, and operate much like people did back in the dark ages.
Let's face it, if you went and gave a bunch of firearms to primitive man, you'd have CHAOS ensuing.
Kinda sounds JUST like the Afghans in many respects.
Sure, they put on the "air" of being in the 21st century like the rest of civilization, but it's all a facade.
This is an article from 2009 by Col. Peters:
http://www.nypost.com/p/news/opinion/opedcolumnists/item_DILbepkOZbQIHAyOXRocAM
It explains WHY present strategies there need to be RE-thought out, and the comparisons to South Vietnam are stunningly correct.
It also explains WHY the Soviets made no impact there in the TEN years they fought in Afghanistan.
To quote Col. Peters recently: "In their decade in Afghanistan, the Soviets actually made more progress than we have... It is a broken, primitive, savage society - and, by the way, it's not worth another drop of American blood."
That sort of sums it all up nicely.
I have to like Col. Peters...we were born the SAME year, and we've got stuff in common.
*** Lastly today, we have to start taking notice as to whether we're E-volving or DE-volving as a society...we really do.
Sure, we can have all the newest technologies, designed to make life BETTER...or EASIER...or whatever, but how does this impact on who WE are...where WE'RE going, and how WE fare in the future?
What about such things as ETHICS...or SELF-RELIANCE...or even (dare I say it?) SELF-AWARENESS?
Because, if you listen to the police radio, or read the news, or watch it on TV, you'll surely see people who are NOT self-aware, otherwise they'd not pull HALF the sh$t that they do.
If you're not aware of OTHERS, then your OWN self-awareness is in serious jeopardy.
When you don't even care that much about YOURSELF...or YOUR life, how in God's name can you begin to care about others?
There supposedly lies the "great mystery", but it's really not.
When we supplant WHO we are with WHAT we can acquire or have, we lose a lot...of ourselves.
When we try to force everyone to be "(more) equal" without calling into question the DESIRE and abilities to WANT to achieve like results from an equal OPPORTUNITY...we lose.
When we hold no one accountable for their actions and motives, but rather pander to those with crocodile tears and a good lie...we lose.
When we negate personal responsibility by fostering a nanny-state to take care of us...we lose.
Personally, I think we've lost too much already, and it's time to start winning again.
And we can do that by disallowing those taking the "easy" way out to languish in that comfortability.
Think of this nation as a team, and we all do better when we work together (as Americans), instead of against one another.
We used to conduct ourselves a lot more like that...and I feel we CAN achieve such things again.
Be well, make a difference to someone, and...
Stay SAFE out there, America.

28 February 2012

Now, WHO Would Have Thunk It...
It's a pretty important day here in the Heartland (and elsewhere, I suppose).
Hell, any day I wake up and don't see MY name in the OBITS is a damn good day.
But this day has some significance attached to it.
Today marks this here blog's 1500TH POST!
(Geezus, can that boy jawjack...lol)
Well, no one ever said that the truth would be brief in it's commentary, did they?
And really, I have all of YOU to thank (again) for this.
Oh, and today is also NATIONAL PANCAKE DAY, so get yer butts out to IHOP and scarf some down (they're free but they do ask for a charitable donation...not a bad deal either way).
Personally, I think that IhOP PLANNED it that way...marking my "milestone"...but hey, I'm not complaining one bit (and I DO love pancakes...like LOTS of other "crazy people"...LOL).
*** Every once in a while, I go back through my archives, and see where it all began, and what got me to "here" (today), and I have to say I have managed to fill up my share of the Internet, but I view it as something that needed to be done, as I'm sure YOUR blogs have done for you.
And many times, it's what I read in your blogs that "plants the seed" for future posts here.
As we go through life, and if we're fairly aware of things around us (a MUST down here in the ghettohood), you take in so much information on a daily basis, that it becomes almost impossible to disseminate...so your brain goes and stores it all for later use (hopefully).
Something you read last week or last month might become the impetus for a post you find becomes more timely now than it was that month prior.
I know I find myself listening to Neil Cavuto, or Bill O'Reilly, or Lou Dobbs, or even Glenn Beck, and hearing them talk about something I KNOW I posted here weeks ago.
In some cases, it was something I posted here YEARS ago (has it been THAT long?) that surfaces in the local news.
*** For example, the media (here) recently mentioned that Allen County is in the TOP TEN (let the pigeons loose and sound the trumpets) when it comes to METH LABS in the entire state of Indiana...a dubious distinction to be sure, hmm?
They claim that the "shake n bake" ONE POTS are the reason for the increase...but wait.
Way back on 2 September, 2009 I posted HERE about the one-pot method of mobile meth labs...(astounding, Bob).
Here's the link to the recent story:
http://www.journalgazette.net/article/20120226/LOCAL07/302269942/1002/LOCAL
Gee, and to think I said these rolling bombs (one-pots) were an issue THREE years ago...like I was ahead of the curve or something.
I know what I know, and certain "training" in what to look for comes in handy from time to time (even if you don't have to do it any longer).
It's like riding a bike...you never really forget how it's done.
*** I also mention frequently that (like the song says) "The CHILDREN are OUR future"...been saying that since this blog started (back in 2006), and yet we see evidence that whatever future is being planned for our children, it's looking a bit less amicable, and a lot more contentious.
Take the shootings at the school in Ohio yesterday.
What about this story about TWO juveniles?
http://www.journalgazette.net/article/20120228/LOCAL07/302289940/1002/LOCAL
Or how about THIS story about a 15 year old?
http://www.journalgazette.net/article/20120228/LOCAL07/302289939/1002/LOCAL
(robbing from St. Joe's Catholic Church parking lot, stealing car stereos - we had something similar back in Philly...and that was in the 1980s!)
This is aside from all the drug and alcohol use, as well as gang "initiations".
It paints a rather sad picture of THEIR future, let alone our society's.
I suppose it has a LOT to do with the breakdown of the traditional family unit, as well as the lack of real father figures, peer pressure (which could be a whole post or two by itself), and a decade or two of molly-coddling...becoming more a "friend" to your child, instead of the PARENT you should be.
And perhaps there are more things one could point a finger at.
To those parents who ARE making a go of it, and doing an exemplary job...for God's sake (and yours) don't stop whatever you're doing, because it's working! And we (America) can use all the help we can get these days.
*** Next up, has anyone ever considered one important reason why our gasoline prices continue to rise?
Sure, we hear about government regs that inhibit permissions to drill here or there, the sheer quantities of EXPORTED fuels FROM this nation to others (last year), I said FUEL was this nation's NUMBER ONE EXPORT...while just a few decades ago, that wasn't even in the TOP TWENTY FIVE EXPORTS...amazing, right?
Think on this (that I haven't heard about yet)...Ben Bernanke went and PRINTED a crapload of money within the past 2 years, as an adjunct to all the bailout stuff Obama was floating past us, and that has GOT to bring DOWN the value of OUR DOLLAR...that's a given, because we don't have anything like GOLD to back it the hell up.
With an (artificially) inflated DOLLAR, the price of EVERYTHING goes up, because it take MORE bucks to buy the same crap.
What USED to cost us $50 at the grocery NOW costs us say...$65 bucks.
That logic HAS to apply to FUEL COSTS as well...but I'm not hearing much about THAT.
I'd have to now include the FED (Federal Reserve Bank) as a "playa" in this clusterf$ck.
And I hope others see this as well.
*** Lastly today, getting back to this milestone (small as it might be)...
Why blog in the first place?
Why do YOU blog?
My reasons are simple (as am I...just ask Mrs. Bobby G., and she'll tell you HOW simple I can be):
I think that many of us have been too silent for too long, and we have to initially share some guilt in not overcoming whatever fear we might have had when railing against the forces of evil in today's world...in whatever facade they clothe themselves with.
But our time has come, and speak out we will, and if there is a point of contention, then that person can go start their own blog.
THAT is what freedom is all about.
Another reason is that I have seen this great nation change over the decades...slow, almost imperceptible at times.
Like a stream eroding the banks that allow those waters to wander through a forest.
Many of us know what this nation needs (or the state or the city we live in), and while we might not have the particular resources to fund what we need to enact GOOD change, we CAN (still) voice our views and opinions.
That's where all of US come in.
I enjoy reading all your blogs, because you ALL have something to say...to contribute, and it demonstrates to me that this nation DOES still have the capacity to extricate itself from the precarious position we find ourselves in today (too damn close to that cliff).
I know many of you take the time to comment here, and that is very much appreciated.
Without YOUR input, much of what is said here would be as those seeds falling upon rocky soil.
And let's not forget all the people that just drop by, without ever saying a word (the page views).
Many are coming here just to read, and that's fine by me.
More seeds planted, as it were.
If the only thing you take from here is having to nod your head in agreement, then my work is not without reward, and again, I thank you all.
Many of you must be like-minded in that respect...(and probably like PANCAKES, too...LOL)
So, here's to the NEXT 1500 posts...may they be as well-received as the FIRST 1500.
Thank you all for allowing me the opportunity to turn on a light now and then, and provide some food for thought.
(the smiles and laughs are always free, of course).
Be well, make a difference to someone, and...
Stay SAFE out there, America.

27 February 2012

Monday Musings...
Welcome to the last (partial) week for February, and that means that Spring is coming like a jail-on-wheels.
So, if you're planning on pruning your roses, best get started, because late winter IS the best time to do so.
In the meantime, let's see what falls from the tree when we shake it, shall we?
*** Daytona 500 postponed on account of rain.
After 54 years, the famed race never got to the green flag yesterday, and you have to admit that in all those years, the law of averages was BOUND to catch up to them (I never even studied law and know that much).
The race is scheduled to run TODAY at high-noon.
((make that TONIGHT under the lights...sheesh!))
I have to admit that as with many other things, NASCAR has lost a lot of it's "allure" for me. The "last gasp" of really decent racing kinda went out the window when Earnhardt lost his life.
Drivers have always been at risk in racing...been that way since the sport was invented.
And over the decades of NASCAR, changes were made to prevent such things from happening.
Yet, like most things in life, no matter how much you TRY and prevent something, it will still occur.
You look at the old cars they USED to race and then look at the new "cars"...BIG difference - now, it's basically the exact SAME frame underneath, with pretty much the exact SAME "body" over it with DIFFERENT DECALS to represent the various makes...(all three of them...lol).
Today's races are geared for the multicar teams with megabucks to blow, while in times past, it was pretty much 30 different teams with ONE car and ONE driver to get the same job done.
And naturally, it's ALL about being "entertained" and the MONEY that follows...to the exclusion of most everything else.
They (Daytona) are even doing away with smoking (except for designated areas), and to me, that makes no sense.
The exhaust fumes abound at such places (if you've ever been there and sniffed the air), so WHY the big flap over smoking?
Used to be called the WINSTON CUP, and THAT sponsor was responsible for NASCAR becoming the iconic juggernaut it is today.
Just all that "change for change sake" with rules and such that turned me off...and that's a shame, because I do like RACING.
*** Now, if you think postponing a 54 year-old race was a "first", try this one.
At the OSCARS last night, the winner for BEST PICTURE was a SILENT MOVIE...first time in 83 YEARS (the first Oscar award show)
Curiously enough, most ALL of the movies that were nominated for the prestigious award were some of the LOWEST GROSSING movies of last year.
That says something about the "state" of Hollywood (and the motion picture industry in general).
Used to be a time when movies didn't have all the special F/X we see today, and relied solely upon the performances of the actors and actresses to make it profitable.
In essence...they told some DAMN good stories.
I call that the "give-a-damn" factor; when you give a damn about the characters in the film and it draws you into the movie.
When you see Bogart in CASABLANCA, you just have to wonder about the character. Same for John Wayne in THE QUIET MAN, or Cagney in WHITE HEAT. The list of great actors then was seemingly endless.
Rare is the film today where a character can trump effects and permit you to care about them, or wonder about them, or even see a bit of yourself in them. That (to me) is the hallmark of great cinema.
And now, it's time for an abrupt segue (buckle up)
*** We are hearing so much these days about CLASS-warfare, and how insidious in nature it truly is, but there is another facet to this whole thing, and that is the undercurrent of BIAS (or even it's relative, racism).
Now, we all know that the lame-stream-media portrays racism or bias as purely a "white-on-black" venue, and such could not be farther from the truth.
It occurs on ALL "fronts" (all races against all other races), and it's often overshadowed by distractions meant to dissuade us from seeing the REAL issue...much like affirmative action.
What is often not mentioned is reverse-racism...black-on-white, for example.
This goes unreported and frequently ignored, because it's not as "sensational" as traditional bias (or racism).
The FACT is that this scenario plays out daily across the nation, and with increasing frequency.
When you take the CLASS lines and homogenize them to the point where you don't have AS MANY CLASSES (the shrinking middle-class for example), your only recourse is to turn that HUGE class against ITSELF, and bias fits the bill nicely here.
It happens every day in our lives, and many times, we're not aware of it to the extent we should be.
It could be that black woman that cuts in line in front of you at some store, and then tosses YOU a look like YOU did something wrong, or that Latino that wants to share HIS music with YOU and shake YOUR house whenever he thumps on by.
Hell, it could even be another white person who's about as bright as a low-watt appliance bulb that carelessly tosses his beer bottles along YOUR property line, because YOUR house is the one place where he always seems to finish that 12 oz.
In my particular case today, it's the morning paper.
We used to have a really GREAT carrier,...name of Homer Rasler.
You could set your watch by him...always there (weather didn't even stop him) ON TIME, and got the paper to your door, without trying to toss it THROUGH the damn door.
Well, Homer decided to move on with other pursuits, and in his wake, we were saddled with a plethora of carriers that must think that delivering newspapers means booze money, or a way to lie to the government and say you have a "job".
I say that because since Homer's departure, every single carrier has been problematic.
The paper would wind up on the lawn, in the flower bed, in the gutter...everywhere BUT where it was supposed to wind up, namely ON THE DAMN STEP. And I don't plan to play "Seek N Find" every frigging morning, either.
When the paper WOULD make it to the step, it was because it was tossed (from the vehicle) SO damn hard, it bounced off the damn storm door (Maybe the TinCaps are wanting a good "fast-baller", but that's not what I demand from my newspaper carrier).
Today, the carrier (I think we're up to FIVE or SIX different ones since Homer left) pulls up, open the door to his SUV, and all I hear is RAP LYRICS....and quite LOUD for that time of day (0520 hrs).
Wifey gets up early enough, without having any assistance to get her up EARLIER than intended.
(Ever deal with a wife that doesn't get her proper amount of beauty sleep? You married guys know what I mean here...LOL)
That will ensure she gets up on the WRONG side of the bed, no matter WHAT side she does get up from.
Now, I've neglected to mention that EVERY SINGLE carrier since Homer has been BLACK.
(One even rode his moped on the sidewalks, AND had a bad and distinctly LOUD muffler)
And I notice quite a DIFFERENCE in demeanor between Homer and these others.
Homer had a much better work ethic...the others have not displayed any, as the late papers, candy-arm tosses, and loud music will attest to.
THIS is a form of reverse racism, or BIAS...and it's so subtle.
What they (the ethnics) would like to do is see US move away, turn the house over to them to do with as they please (as most every other house has already succumbed to) so they can take more control of the area (as they've been allowed to do over the last several decades).
No good has come from ANY of the people that have moved here since WE did back in 1998.
And all WE have done is keep to ourselves, remain friendly, and bother no one...helluva reward for being a good neighbor, hmm?
Well, if we HAD other good neighbors (aside from ONE sweet woman the next street over, whose cat I watch every year), they would back us up on that one. We USED to have good neighbors, and they would tell you the same (if some of them were still living).
The type of people we have to put up with daily have NO desire to become "neighbors" in the typical sense of the word.
It's all about THEM...and not about "us" (as a community).
Now, while I believe that NO MAN IS AN ISLAND (as did John Donne), all I see out MY window are hundreds of "islands", tasked with being as much a bother to anyone that acts in a normal manner...shades of reverse racism, folks?
Yasureyoubetcha!
Thing is...these "people" act the way they do because they have never known ANY better...
I was brought up to RESPECT others and their property, never to take what is not rightfully mine, and to make sure I knew the differences between right and wrong. (and my parents would not "spare the rod" to spoil this child...no, sir)
I learned by making mistakes, paying for them, and then learning from the experience to NOT do that again.
It was this upbringing that made me a pariah (of sorts) when I was in high school, choosing to eat lunch with my friends of color, because they were FIRST...my friends. Helluva thing to be called a "(N-word) lover" because you have BLACK friends.
But THOSE whites were just stupid, and hopefully got their (richly-deserved) paybacks later in life.
I also am getting my "payback" for befriending other raced people, by having ethnics move all around us that have NO IDEA what it is to live as a normal person, and substituting aberrant behavior for the "new normal".
That doesn't play well with me, and it's not due to any standards *I* have set.
I follow the precepts of what I was taught, what I have read, and what I believe, and if that implies what my God wants for me and my fellow man, so be it. I have no qualms about the Golden Rule, the Ten Commandments, or anything else that allows me to become a better person by believing in them.
So, it SHOULD be for others. Sadly, it is not.
The next time you find yourself in a situation where another person (or any race or creed) takes unfair advantage of you, perhaps you'll think back to what I mentioned here today...and quietly nod to yourself in agreement.
Remember, there is NEVER the word WELCOME stenciled across your forehead, and certainly no need for any of us to be made to feel guilt-ridden for something someone ELSE has done or is doing.
You are not anyone's door-mat, laid down so others can wipe their feet on you.
In that, I think we can all find common ground...and common sense.
Have yourselves a great week.
Be well, make a difference to someone, and...
Stay SAFE out there, America.

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.
http://www.theindychannel.com/news/30520300/detail.html
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.