30 March 2011


Yesterday I got a call from my bank raising questions about some charges on my check card.

Today I logged in to my account and over $40 has been charged to I-tunes.

As of now that card has been canceled and I am making other arrangements for some orders I had placed on that card. The bank is making a claim for the charges and is reimbursing me for them.

It is nice having a bank that pays attention. It's one of the many reasons I am still with them even though I have to drive fifty miles to the nearest branch.

As this is for my secondary account the disruption is minor, but I sure would like to know where the thieving bastards got my number so I know not to go there anymore.

28 March 2011


On the drive home today it started to snow.

It was the perfect end to the day that I have had.

I'm going to bed now.

26 March 2011

How About That

I learned two things today as I was cleaning out the pantry.

One - sauerkraut has an expiration date (and expired sauerkraut is nastier than "good" sauerkraut).

Two - condensed milk turns into a thick paste that does not thin out with hot water.

Remember to check the expiration dates on your canned goods, folks.

23 March 2011

Defenseless Victim Zones

It's kind of funny, I didn't realize how much my attitudes would change when I got the carry concealed permit. I find that I notice things now that I didn't before.

One of the things I notice, of course, is the Unarmed Victim Zone signs posted here and there. I guess that I didn't notice them before because they didn't apply to me, but now they do.

This morning I got into the Scooby to come home and found the right rear tire nearly flat. I had to get gas anyway, so a quick trip to the gas station got me a fill up of both gas and air, and off to the house I went.

This afternoon I went back out to check on the tire, and sure enough it was down again. I pulled the tire off and put it in the trunk of the Mustang, and off to the tire store I went.

I took the tire in to the store and told them of my problems and they set immediately to fixing it. I had them give me an estimate on tires for the Mustang that I won't need for some time yet (245/45-19, but Ford will buy my tires under warranty for the next two years) and wandered around the showroom while I waited.

When I looked at the window I noticed, underneath a poster advertising tires, a sign similar to the one above. I was, of course, carrying. I took the Grok out to the car and locked it away while I continued to wait.

When they brought the tire out I paid the bill, they thanked me for my business and told me to come on back when I needed tires. I informed them that this was the last transaction we would be able to have, and when they asked why I pointed out their sign.

"I have been background checked and fingerprinted and vetted by local law enforcement" I told them, "and yet you see fit to let me know I am not to be trusted. I don't do business with people that insult me."

They quickly explained that it was company policy, and I replied that was fine. I don't do business with people that insult me.

So I have decided to post a listing of Defenseless Victim Zones, to be periodically updated whenever a sign is seen. This will be the standing policy of Last Refuge of a Scoundrel. Any business that displays any signage indicating that they do not want my business will be informed of the result of their decision and they will be added to the list.

The first on the list is:

Just Tires, Wake Forest

For what it's worth, Goodyear Eagle GT's for the Mustang would have been almost a thousand dollars out the door. Hoplophobia has just cost Just Tires a grand every other year just for the Mustang, and whatever else for the Subaru.

As a side note, the jack that I bought for the Subaru did not have a jack handle, nor did the tool kit that I bought for it, so I'll be making a trip back to the dealer soon.

21 March 2011

A Failure To Communicate

Remember when I said if I wanted a Congresscritter to take my money and otherwise ignore me I already had that?

Looks like I still do.

Thought Of The Day

From 3 Boxes of BS, by way of a link from An NC Gun Blog:

Frankly, I’m tired of the “it is only property” argument from the anti-rights cultists.
It isn’t.
It is an invasion of our homes.
It is a disruption of our lives.
It is an assault on the fiber of our society.
It is time we stop saying “it is only property”.
It is time we sent a message to thugs like this who think they can prey on others — Stop.

To which I would add - a robbery is much more than a deprivation of your property. It is an assault upon your very being, and the act is the robber's way of saying "You are worthless, in my opinion you aren't even a human being."

If you will not defend yourself against that, the robber is right - you are not even a human being, and therefore are not worthy of defense.

I am worthy of defense, as are those I love. This is why I carry.

20 March 2011

Dyno Day

Note: I don't know why the panoramic views look so fuzzy, but if you click on them they get better.

UPDATE II: Find all the pictures here on Photobucket!

The day dawned bright and clear, and wonder of wonders warm enough to put the top down from the beginning of the trip at 7:30 AM. It stayed down the rest of the day, in spite of what the weatherman had said (low 70's) the temperature got up into the high 70's. The highest I saw on my dashboard display was 78 degrees.

We met up at a local Mickey D's and then headed out as a group to Piedmont Custom Motorsports in Raleigh NC for the dyno pulls. There were a lot of cars in attendance, and if one was observant one might think Piedmont does a lot of Mustang work.

Of course I left my camera at home so I had to spring for a new one, a Fujifilm AV100. That wasn't all bad though, this one has a panoramic option that works out pretty well. Also, it was on sale so I only shelled out fifty clams for it, so it was a pretty good value.

At any rate, I was near the end so I got to see lots of cars put on the dyno. The high HP winner for the day ended up being a supercharged 2010 Camaro SS and the low HP winner of the day was a stock 04 Mazda RX8.

The Firefly posted numbers of 357.8 hp and 337.71 foot pounds of torque through it's automatic transmission, which when you take into account the estimated 16.5% drivetrain losses for the automatic (15% for the manual) puts the crankshaft numbers right at 428.5/404.4. Ford's estimated numbers are 412/390 respectively, and the only thing I have put on the car is a bit over 15,000 miles (it turned over 15K today on the way to the dyno), so that's downright pleasing.

There were 5 other 2011 5.0's there for comparison, the highest numbers came from a stick car with exhaust, cold air intake and tune at 390/374. The lowest numbers for the 5.0 came from another automatic with only 6K on it's clock. It turned in a 344/326, which is still right in the ballpark and will very likely get better when the first 10K is put on it.

I also heard a Borla cat-back exhaust on one of the new 5.0's (the only other 2011 convertible) and I have decided that is the sound that I want. When I get around to modding this car it will get the Borla cat-backs, some sort of cold air intake and a tune. That should put me well above anything I will ever need (notice I did not say want). As it is the car is far more capable than her driver, so all in all I'm pretty pleased with the day.

The other convertible left before I could take this picture, but here are all the other 2011 5.0's in a row. You will notice one other GT/CS, also in Race Red. The highest powered 2011 5.0 was the Ingot Silver one on the far end. The Kona Blue one was the other automatic.

UPDATE: Added more pictures and the video, the Firefly is on at 5:15 but those numbers are wrong. The numbers displayed are for the glass-top GT/CS.

18 March 2011

Running The Coyote

Saturday I'm taking the Firefly to the dyno to see how many of it's advertised 412 horsies are making it to the pavement.

Given a standard 15% loss through the drivetrain I should be getting right around 350 or so.

I'll be sure to post the results.

UPDATE: 357.8 hp, 337.71 ft/lbs. I'm happy with it.

The fortune cookie tag was posted on the door, I thought it was appropriate.

13 March 2011


There has been much furor over the natural disaster in Japan. If the news reports were to be believed Japan would become the next Atlantis, submerged in the depths and lost to humanity forever.

One of the biggest stories is their nuclear reactors ZOMG!!!!eleventy!!!! ARE!!! MELTING!!! DOWN!!!!

My reaction was "Eh, why don't they just scram the reactors and be done with it?"

The answer turns out to be "They did, and the danger, while present, is small." The reaction has been shut down, now the issues are due to cooling as the residual heat bleeds off.

This will come as no surprise to anyone who has ever cracked open a Japanese car motor or dealt with any Japanese engineers. They over-engineer everything, and they have a contingency plan for every eventuality. That's why it was so mysterious to me why everyone is in such a tizzy about the nuclear reactors.

The answer of course is the whole "Nuclear" word.

It should be noted that it is impossible for this type of reactor to "go Chernobyl" because of it's design. In fact, the worst thing that could happen to this reactor has in fact happened. Four of the cores have lost cooling water and are now molten balls of slag. The cooling water is needed to get rid of the residual heat as the reaction dies down. No cooling water means meltdown, which does not mean explosion, it just means those cores are now permanently out of commission.

Here's the report. Bottom line, it's bad but everything is under control. You may now all relax.

HT: Larry Correia on Facebook

UPDATE: Jackboot over at The Rott, who was one of those weird blackshoe guys what lived amongst the glowy things "down below" and was far removed from us normal aviation-type guys that populated the sunny climes of the flight deck, puts us some knowledge. His take: chill the f'k out already, ignore the blow-dryed teewee peoples and worry more about the poor folks caught without shelter due to the earthquake and tsunami. It's Ma Nature who's the bitch here, not the nuke plants.

10 March 2011


Last night, after trying many times to come to an agreement with the Democrat lawmakers who had fled the state rather than do their jobs, the Wisconsin Senate separated the collective bargaining piece of the budget bill and passed it.

The new provisions require union members to pay more towards their own health and pension plans and strips the collective bargaining option from benefit negotiations. This will save the cash-starved state about $300 million over the next two years while still giving the public sector unions better benefits than most everyone else gets (including Federal employees, who also cannot collectively bargain for benefits).

This morning the Union supporters showed out their butt-hurtedness on the State Capitol. Usual Suspects Jessie Jackson Sr. and Micheal Moore have weighed in as well. Democrat lawmakers have finally decided to come back to work now that their ploy to hold the legislative process hostage has failed.

Now we get to see how well the "new civility" lasts.

06 March 2011

Women And Children Hardest Hit

In yesterday's local fish wrap was the story with the headline "Job market is shrinking for Hispanics in N.C."

From that headline you would expect the story would be all about how the Raaaaacist Evil Business Owners are discriminating against People Of Brownish Color.

But gosh, when you get to this paragraph, it is all explained:

"Many of the ones who are leaving are in the country illegally... Because of changes in the law, they can no longer get driver's licenses, which makes it nearly impossible to work. And they worry about getting caught, arrested and deported, earning criminal records that would make it even harder to ever get legal papers."

Another telling line: "It was hard for them before, and now the jobs they were able to get are being taken by [Americans], who are now willing to work at those jobs when they weren't willing to before."

Read more: http://www.newsobserver.com/2011/03/05/1030765/job-market-is-shrinking-for-hispanics.html#storylink=misearch#ixzz1FqbMQeYn

The problem isn't that North Carolina is prejudiced against Hispanics. The problem is that we have quite enough unskilled labor as it is, much of it home-grown. Being here illegally just adds to the difficulties.

04 March 2011

Oh No You Don't






HT to cmblake6, cause I was suffering from low blood pressure this morning.

Life In The Fast Lane

So far I've had an opportunity to interface with government at local, state and federal levels in the past two days.

First, the IRS sent me a little note explaining that the information I sent off proving my grandsons lived with me during the 2008/2009 school year was not sufficient, so they were disallowing them as dependents, and yeah by the way since you didn't send the information we didn't ask for for Christopher, we're disallowing him, too. Please remit payment for $4700 within fifteen days to avoid penalties.

So I called them to find out just what they needed. We got the requirements worked out, which necessitated a visit to the local school (that's where the local government figures in).

The school wanted to know, among other things, where the boys' mother was. "What the hell difference does that make?!?" I asked, having gone round the flagpole for several minutes with them at this point. "You don't have to swear at me" was the huffy reply.

"No," I explained, "We're not steering the conversation away from what's being said because you don't like the way it's being said. Back to the subject." Finally I got it dragged out of them that since I wasn't asking them to make anything up, lie in court, or do anything that would otherwise be illegal, immoral, unethical or fattening they could make a copy of the ALREADY EXISTING RECORD that had all the information I needed as long as it was given to their dad, my son. Which is all I wanted in the first place.

Finally, since we were out anyway, we went to the DMV (here's where the state government makes it's appearance) to get Eldest Son an ID card and get my driver's license renewed. Just as we were getting settled in their computer system went down. Fortunately it only took a half hour or so for the problem to be resolved, so that was actually the least painful transaction that took place.

I hate dealing with government on any level. Even when I was with the government I hated dealing with them.

On another note, I have not had internet at the Refuge since Sunday and my cohabitants failed to let me know about it until Wednesday night. I put the trouble call in Thursday morning, the tech showed up today at the scheduled time (wonders never cease) and determined my 5 year old cable modem was the problem. The phone guy had told me it might be an issue the day before, so I went out Thursday evening and got one. We put it on today and the Refuge is now back online!

It's been a fun couple of days. Now I have a motorcycle to take apart.

01 March 2011

Fair Winds

Steamboat McGoo is hanging up his blogging shoes.

Aardvarks and Asshats has been a favorite since I first discovered it, whenever that was. Science, snark and a bit of "otherwise" from time to time, it has certainly been an entertaining ride. If you are going to say goodbye you had best do it now, because after the week is up the chance to do so is over.

Fare thee well Steamboat, we hardly knew ye!

UPDATE: Edward Von Bear has taken up the A&A mantle. Steamboat may have sailed off into the sunset, but his creation lives on. Well done and thank you Eddie.