Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Who's To Blame?

In light of the recent Virginia Tech rampage, I have seen the question asked:
"Who do we blame for the shooting?"

I hate to laugh, because then I might be labeled as 'insensitive'. All I can do is roll my eyes and think to myself, "AGNTSA*."

I'll answer this question by posing another: Why do we have to 'blame' anyone?

Let's face it... he was a lunatic. Too bad he didn't just off himself (as callous as that might sound) rather than taking all those innocent people with him. As an aside, it's too bad that someone there didn't have his or her own licensed concealed handgun. Perhaps this could have been cut short early on.

I'm not saying that EVERYONE should have to carry a pistol, but everyone has the RIGHT to defend themselves and their loved ones against maniacs like this. It would be sad for someone to be forced to take another life in a similar situation; their life would be forever tempered by this experience. However, the alternative is unspeakable.

We each have but one life, and it is so precious that we must protect it in any way possible. Waiting for the police is obviously not the answer, nor is banning firearms. The only people who will obey that law, should it ever come to pass, are the HONEST citizens, who don't need to be regulated in the first place. Someone intent on committing a foul deed such as what happened at VT will do so despite any 'regulations' to the contrary. Guns are banned in England, yet there are still shootings. Where do they get those guns? (Wrong, Grasshopper; NOT from the U.S. Nice try, though!)

WRT the news media here and their 'super-dangerous killing tools of death', they can pound salt. They love to stir up controversy so they can MAKE MONEY. They need to create an air of hysteria, and they know full well that there are two sides to the issue, apart from the fact that we all agree that this killing spree was a horrible tragedy. They want to perpetuate the hype for as long as they possibly can, until the next Terri Schiavo or Anna Nicole comes along. What? You had forgotten about them already?

There are the politicians, first of all, who aren't really sure which way to turn. Of course, the liberal Democrats want to blame the guns themselves, or those who condone them. The Republicans, so far, at least, are not ready to turn their backs on the Second Amendment. No one wants to be perceived as being anti-Constitution (un-American), but at the same time they have to do... something. THIS is where things go down hill. Frivolous 'feel-good' legislation will have NO EFFECT on crime, witness the infamous 'Assault Weapon Ban' (but that's a whole separate topic for another time).

Yes, the shootings were a damned shame. What can we do to prevent this sort of thing in the future? Laws that forbid guns on campus obviously aren't the answer. Maybe we need some RELAXED laws that pertain to personal protection. We mustn't listen to the demands of foreign countries that are calling for us to ban guns here. If we ever did that, we'd be just like them.

Case in point: Guns were banned in the UK, and the rate of home invasions (burglaries that occur while the people are still home) increased astronomically. It stands to reason: criminals are, by nature, COWARDLY. They will typically seek a perceived weak victim to ensure their own success. If they KNOW that no one can arm themselves against attack, they will simply waltz right in and TAKE what they want, and if you let that happen here, there will be nothing you can do about it.

I predict that the American people will wake up after this, despite the news media's best efforts to vilify such entities as the NRA (have they been blamed yet? I haven't paid that close attention). Remember this: We ALL have the God-given right (regardless of your religious affiliation) to protect ourselves and our loved ones from harm. The U.S. Constitution doesn't grant us that right; it merely enforces what's already ours.

Thanks for listening.

*Ahh, Geez; Not This Shit Again

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Guess you'd better slow your Mustang down

Ride around, Sally

Mustang Sally... a great old song by a great artist, Wilson Pickett (RIP 2006). Listen

That's a pretty good rendition of the original tune. I suspect that even ol' Wilson would approve if he were still here. It may be a new rendition, but it's still the same old song. I'm not so sure as much can be said about the newer Mustangs, though...

Yeah, it LOOKS pretty neat, but I wonder if it would measure up to the Mustangs of a bygone era, the REAL Mustangs from which these new copies were patterned. With a price tag of over $25,000 and all the extra doo-dads that aren't really needed, I seriously doubt that these new cars would meet with Steve McQueen's approval. After all, power windows, air conditioning, and all that extra SMOG plumbing cluttering up the under-hood space which should be reserved for old-school HORSEPOWER is hardly in keeping with the spirit of the original pony car.

Now THIS is more like it:

Yup, that's right... that is Detective Frank Bullitt at the wheel of his Highland Green Metallic 1968 Mustang 390GT. For those who don't know (shame on you), that is Steve McQueen's character from the excellent 1968 film, "Bullitt." Who hasn't watched that classic chase scene, over and over again?

Remember when the bad guys' black '68 Charger explodes in the gas station at the end of the chase scene? A good friend of mine had a '68 Charger just like that back in the day. Thankfully, his never exploded.

The thought that the new "retro" Mustangs are mere copies of what is OLD reinforces the idea that "New things are no good."

There is even talk of a new 2008 Bullitt commemorative car in the works, image courtesy of the German

Is nothing sacred??

BTW, if you are interested in the REAL Bullitt car, further talk about the famous chase scene, and Dave Kunz's replica of the movie car, check out the latest issue of Motor Trend Classic magazine (Sept/Oct '06) for a lengthy article on this topic with tons of pictures, to boot. I won't go into any more detail here, but do yourself a favor and pick up an issue before they disappear from the stands. It's a keeper.

Incidentally, the Kunz car was used in Cheryl Crow's music video of her song, "Steve McQueen," and the car was autographed by her.

I used to own a '68 Fastback way back when. It had a bad tranny and it needed a quarter panel, so I sold it. I can promise you that if I still had that car, it would no longer be maroon in color; it would be Highland Green Metallic. I'm in the market for another one, a solid '68 fastback body for my next big project.

Looking back at what I wrote and looking at these pictures reminded me that my younger brother Steve had a similar car, as well. His was a '67 fastback, which he repainted in a shade of green slightly lighter than the Bullitt car. We grew up in the cold north-eastern U.S. where they have a habit of using a heavy dosage of rock salt on the roads in the winter to keep them ice-free. This had the effect not only of melting the ice, but also of rotting the sheet-metal bodywork of any and all cars subjected to it, and his Mustang was no exception.

The body on his car looked great, as it had been repaired and had received a fresh coat of paint. What Steve DIDN'T do, however, was to replace the rotted floorboards properly. His "fix" was to cut out the rusted sheet-metal floor pans, leaving a lip along the sides. He carefully cut new floorboards... LITERALLY... he made them from pine boards. They were cut to just the right length, and were laid side by side with their ends resting on the metal lips left when the metal floors were removed. He didn't even bother to fasten them in. All this was covered by a couple layers of rubber floor mats.

Pretty clever, eh? Well, he thought so; at least he did until he was riding with a friend one cold winter night and they went through a DEEP slush puddle at a fairly good speed. All that cold, slushy water came up through the floor at once, tossing the mats and boards into their laps and thoroughly soaking them in the process. Lesson learned!

Another classic Mustang I owned up until a couple years ago was a 1970 Boss 302. The Boss 302 was Ford Motor Company's answer to Chevrolet's Z-28 Camaro, which was burning up the track in the popular Trans Am road racing series. Ford created the Boss in 1969 to embrace the SCCA's strict rules, but Mark Donohue in his Penske-sponsored Z-28 easily ran away with the series, despite Ford's best efforts. Not to be outdone, Ford again sponsored a brace of Bud Moore-prepared cars in 1970, easily taking the title that year. FoMoCo had proven it's point.

Here's a peek at the Boss car that I owned:

Even now, the 1970 Mustang is a pretty sleek-looking machine. This is one of the actual factory race cars, restored to its original glory.

There is a special type of race in which so-called "vintage" cars are once again pitted against each other by rich folks who fancy themselves as a modern-day Parnelli Jones or George Folmer. At any rate, it is good to see (and hear!) these cars going at it once again. I was there the first time, and it was great. Ford's strategy WORKED: I bought one of their cars.

BUT... That STILL isn't good enough. New things are NO GOOD, or at least new IDEAS are no good. Maybe there just aren't any new ideas. There don't seem to be any new GOOD movies coming out, either; only remakes of classics and remakes of remakes. There is even reported to be a remake of Bullitt in the works, with Brad Pitt as the leading man. I don't see how someone of his caliber will be able to upstage McQueen's original Bullitt. I suppose I'll have to see it anyway, if only to critcize.

If there are no new ideas, then I suppose improving or at least embracing OLD ideas is a good thing. How good? I'm not quite sure...

**SIGH** I suppose it's a tribute... I think it's FUGLY.

Here's another one, this time with a distinct rice flavor to it:

The next one is a little better... pretty cool, actually. It follows a '69 Boss 302 theme fairly closely, aside from the shaker hood and the '66 Shelby side windows. Even the wheels look right:

I like it. The BEST new/old Mustang, however, has to be the 2006 Shelby GT-500, a modified and much-improved version of the basic V-8 powered Mustang GT. I would love to get my hands on one of these cars, despite that fact that its full potential can never be reached here in CONUS... I like the latest commercial where it shows a white GT-500 being uncrated at a POE in Germany: "So, you couldn't find a car you liked in Germany?" asks a German dock worker as he unloads an American's GT-500 from a crate. "No, I couldn't find a speed limit I liked in America," replies the car's owner.

I STILL would rather have a REAL '68 repro like Dave Kunz built, Highland Green, of course. There is nothing in the world like the power, the SOUND of a big-block American V-8. Enjoy it while you still can!

What would Steve McQueen think?

Sunday, September 10, 2006


I like AR-15s. "Too scary!" you say? "Nobody needs one of these semi-automatic machine guns. After all, they have only one purpose: killing a lot of people as quickly as possible." Hmmm... WRONG.

What's so "scary" about them? Is it because they are all black and mysterious? Do they remind you of wars, past and present? Have you been listening to Di-Fi, by any chance? Do you exhibit signs of retarded sexual and emotional maturity?

Consider this comparison, if you will:

Which rifle is scarier? THIS:

or THIS:

OK, let me guess: the black one is scarier, right? Because it LOOKS scary, and it's, well, a machine gun! Right?
WRONG, Grasshopper!

Actually, neither one is scary, and neither one is a machine gun. They are BOTH semi-automatic. What? A semi-automatic machine gun? No such thing. "Semi-automatic" means that the rifle will fire one bullet each time the trigger is pulled. A machine gun is fully automatic, and is not generally available to the general public. Machine guns are most often used by the military while at war.

The scary black rifle shown above is semi-automatic, meaning that it is just like the brown hunting rifle that we compared it with. In fact, the brown rifle shown above is actually much more powerful and destructive than the black AR-15 due to the larger caliber cartridge it is chambered for.

In fact, the above-illustrated AR-15 was actually my wife's personal rifle.

The AR-15 is a semi-automatic copy of a military M16. It LOOKS like an M16, but it isn't one. Don't be afraid.
Would it be less scary if it were painted pink?

On second thought, that is kinda scary, now that you mention it...

"Why would anyone need one of those, anyway?" you ask. Good question. You're right. I don't need one. However, like it or not, any honest, law-abiding citizen (even YOU) can own one. If I want one, I can buy one, and there's nothing wrong with it. I might ask, "Why do you need those expensive golf clubs?" or "Why do you need that gas-guzzling SUV? It looks like an assault vehicle." Same answer: You DON'T need them. It sure is nice to have the option, though, if it makes you happy.

Which one of these is more scary?:

Why would anybody need one?

New things are no good.

Me? I'm just Some Bloke who's sick and tired of things that are new. It was Steve McQueen who said in his final film, The Hunter , "New things are no good." I consider myself to be old school in many ways; others might just consider me to be a grumpy old fart. Hey, I'm not that old!

Anyway, I like old stuff: old books, old toys, old houses, old guns, old cars, old planes, old songs, err... younger women... yeah, I've got a young wife. I consider myself lucky in that respect; even luckier, I suppose, that she's willing to put up with me. She's got gorgeous long red hair... perhaps some of you know her. We do "travel" pretty-much in the same circles.

Back to the old stuff: I like guns. Any of you "anti's" out there might claim that an unhealthy interest in firearms is an indication of certain, shall we say... "inadequacies..." elsewhere (glancing downward). Shortcomings, if you will; trying to compensate for a lack of masculinity, ad nauseum.

FIRST of all, I don't really care what anyone thinks. I'm not so insecure as to try and impress people, and I'm most certainly not insecure in my masculinity. Neither is the Wife Person, BTW. All you would-be ANALysts can just stand down. To quote a well-known pioneer of psychology: "A fear of weapons is a sign of retarded sexual and emotional maturity." (Sigmund Freud)
Before you try and analyse me, you may want to take a long look in the mirror.

The idea that Liberals tend to be hoplophobic can easily be illustrated by their apparent irrational belief that inanimate objects hold spirits that can effect human actions. After all, if we ban all guns, then there will be no more crime, right? Guns are dangerous by themselves, no matter who has them. We'd all be a lot safer if only there were no guns! Well, it seems to make sense to some people.

This reminds me of the time when a liberal co-worker commented to me, "I don't know why you need all those guns. I think you should get rid of them." I let it slide, at least for the time being. Arguing with a Liberal can be very frustrating, especially when they resort to personal attacks and dismissive rhetoric. Later on, right after 9/11/01, the same guy came up to me and said, "Gee, if anything else happens now, I know whose house to go to!" I replied, "Why do you say that?" He said, "Well, because of all those weapons you have!" With a straight face I said, "What weapons? You told me that I didn't need them, and that I should get rid of them, so I did." How quickly the tables turn when the perceived need arises.