February 2nd, 2010

#1918: Why does fountain pop taste so damn good?

For the first time in four days, I woke up without any gut pain or anything...and hungry, so I hit McDonald's for a #13 ("bacon motherf***ker"). Everything tastes good; the french fries are crisp and hot, too.

The Coke--understand, I am not a Coke man. Pepsi has always been my family's soft drink of choice, and though I don't remember exactly when or where it happened I do remember vividly the first time I tasted Coke, and noticing how different it tastes from Pepsi.

Coke's not bad; it's just that it's not Pepsi.

But whenever I get a combo meal I get a Coke, because I don't care for Mello Yello (Coke's lame answer to Mountain Dew) and I like caffiene in my soda, which knocks just about everything else out of the running. (Yes, Barq's has some caffiene in it. No, I don't like root beer with a hamburger. It just seems wrong.)

And if I had a choice between cracking open a bottle of Pepsi or having a refill on this Coke, I'd take the refill because it just tastes better.

That's why I keep thinking about going the route a friend in Iowa did, and getting hold of a soda fountain: the result is pop which is fresh, has a fine-tuned mix, and is cheaper than retail.

(Hmm. My #13 has morphed into a #12. I wanted a bacon mofo, not a "deluxe". Well, the price is the same, anyway. It's not what I ordered, but it'll do.)

One thing I learned from that episode: once you've passed root beer through a fountain spigot, you can't use that tap for anything else, because it'll end up tasting like root beer. That explained to me--finally--why pop I get from fountains sometimes has a slightly fruity flavor; 'tis not fruit but sasparilla!

* * *

This asshat was going 'way too damn fast. The damn car is split all the way to the fricking C-pillar. An American-made car, made in this century.

Look at this image.

The driver used up a decade's worth of luck; he walked away with a scratch. From that. And no one else was hurt because of his stupidity, thank God.

* * *

Speaking of stupid, here's another Nissan GT-R story.

The GT-R is a complete disappointment as a car, IMHO; if you drive it to take advantage of all the performance it can deliver, the warranty is void; what the hell is up with that? A gearbox costs $20,000, an engine costs $36,000--WTFF!

...for 480 turbocharged horsepower, at that. Jesus. Give me $36,000 and I'll build an engine which makes a thousand horsepower. On pump gas. Or: give me $36,000 and I'll build an entire freaking car with an engine that makes more than 500 HP, runs on pump gas, and which will let you do burnouts all goddamned day without breaking. And I'll pocket a sizable fraction of that $36,000 as payment for my labor.

In fact, I wouldn't have to build the engine; I could just buy it. Go take a look at the Jeg's website. You can buy crate motors which make 500 HP right out of the box, and they don't cost any $36,000. The most expensive one I can think of is GM's LS9, which is around $15,000 as I recall--but you hook it up to fuel and electricity and a radiator, add the fluids, and then start it, and it makes about 450 horsepower on 87 octane fuel.

But you don't need an LS9. In fact, you're better off spending about $5,000 for a run-of-the-mill engine and adding about $5,000 worth of supercharger to it; with proper tuning and 93 octane fuel you'll make well over 500 HP which--again--can be used any way you like, including shredding tires all day long if that's what floats your boat. And it'll make a shit ton of torque right off idle, too--no turbo lag, no wanky factory warranty to worry about.

Of course the car won't be a GT-R or other super-expensive wreck-to-be. It would probably be something on the order of a late '80s Mustang, restored, with a completely rebuilt suspension, and a Ford crate motor of some kind under the hood. Probably mated to a 6-speed gearbox; and a Currie 9-inch rear end replacing the stock Ford axle because the Currie 9-inch is virtually bulletproof. 500+ HP, forced induction, good looks, good handling, and it would probably cost about $20,000 all told.

And you could beat the everloving piss out of it without worrying about breaking things.

* * *

When I linked this, the engine had a sale price of $21.99. That is, of course, an error.

If I were a dickhead I might be inclined to try ordering one and then suing them for false advertising, but I'm not a dickhead; that's obviously a mistake, and anyone who claims to have been fooled is, in fact, either a bald-faced liar or a complete tool.

* * *

Although it is not always true, generally speaking law enforcement does not shoot you unless you do something to warrant being shot. (Ruby Ridge comes to mind as one obvious exception, as does the Waco fooraw.)

Even so, when you have a person who is advocating jihad, who then ends up being shot 20 times by the FBI after resisting arrest and firing a gun, it does sound as if the guy brought it on himself.

It's not exactly a secret that cops have guns and are allowed to shoot people, and when you resist arrest it makes you look guilty. You can be released from jail; you cannot be released from death.

At first glance, this sounds stupid: "20 shots caused 21 wounds." ...but there's such a thing as an exit wound, after all.

* * *


Yesterday I had Scythandra dump Enchanting and took up Herbalism instead. When I finally quit playing, Herbalism had been pushed over 125.

Okay? I managed to get Herbalism more than halfway to where Enchanting was in a single session.

I still haven't gotten the skill to where I can gather the stuff I really want/need to gather--I'm talking about stuff Bitsychan will find useful for Enscription, and which will also fetch a good price at auction--but a little more grinding will do it.

Speaking of which....

#1919: There's too much!

I got a ton of links to link, and snark about.

Scott Brown is the legitimate junior Senator from Massachusetts but has not been seated yet. Dingy Harry Reid is going to hold a major vote before Mr. Brown is seated, and presumably Senator Kirk will illegally vote.

How many days has it been since the election? Let me see, it was January 19, and it's now February 2, so that's...carry the one...two weeks.

It took them one day to seat Tsongas. Same state, same situation--so why has it taken two freaking weeks to seat Brown?

Oh, oh--I know. Brown is a Republican.

* * *

"All I could think about was Vince Foster." This is a Democrat staffer saying this about the whole John Edwards fiasco.

If nothing else, hopefully this nonsense will keep John Edwards from ever holding any office other than whatever one he currently occupies.

* * *

Although I am no fan of the Constellation program I am not convinced the Obama administration's typical Democrat gutting of the NASA budget is going to make things better.

I feel a lot more comfortable with a robust NASA and a business environment in which people can make money on commercial space flight.

...I'm going to have to do a post solely on this issue, but I'm not in the right frame of mind for it right now.

We're probably not going back to the moon any time soon, though.


The Aerospace Safety Advisory Panel warned NASA not to use private companies to supply space flights.


* * *

David Limbaugh: "Obama...he used that extraordinary, one-off deficit of $1.3 trillion as the new base line from which all future deficits would be measured, and he planned to treat any future annual deficit less than $1.3 trillion as a triumphant reduction."

* * *

Toyota's "unintended acceleration" problem:

Woz thinks it's software. "Woz" being the guy who actually built the Apple I and -][.

(Yes, Jobs helped.)

Toyota is worried about what this means for the brand.

The vaunted image of "Japanese quality" is taking a hit from this.

It's going to cost Toyota a lot of money to repair its image.

Give me a car with a cable connecting throttle and accelerator.

* * *

Dennis on shitmusic. I like the Eagles; the rest of the groups on his list are deserving of inclusion. I like a couple songs by Crosby, Stills, and Nash--but he's still right about all of this.

Dennis limited himself to "rock bands", which is probably why some of the great generators of shitmusic are not on there. (Lenny Kravitz comes to mind. Okay? All rap. Most R&B--and I only have that qualifier in there because Ray Charles was an R&B artist.)

But I think I'll comment on his choices.

Led Zeppelin: the pinnacle of their career was "Stairway to Heaven". There isn't any other song by them that I like. I don't know what the hell was wrong with them--too drunk or high perhaps--but the music lacks technical excellence. Studio albums that sound like live performances because the tempo is all over the place and the notes are frequently out of key--a lot of it just sounds like shit to me, which is why I never really liked any of their music.

Rolling Stones: Mick Jagger can't sing and has a lousy voice. And this is another band which sounds like crap all the time.

Janis Joplin: I'm glad I'm not the only person who doesn't see what leads people to call her talented.

The Eagles: Don Henley is a screeching moron. I like "Hotel California".

The Doors: None of their songs were any good. Someone said, "Oh, Jim Morrison was on a spiritual journey!" No he wasn't. He was just fucking drunk. All the time.

Eric Clapton: Pretty much dead-on. The acoustic version of "Layla" was all right.

Guns 'n' Roses: Sucks.

* * *

Big Dick: "This needed to be posted on the day Obama killed the next lunar mission."

* * *

Why is this a "fail"? Because the guy is fat?

epic fail pictures

I honestly don't understand why this is a "FAIL". Knights can't be fat?

Consider the economics of medieval Europe. Knights tended to be wealthy--you couldn't afford all that armor and the horse and the people to help you put the armor on if you didn't have money. And wealthy people tended to eat better.

That's why, I might add, plump women are so often used for depictions of beauty in medieval and renaissance portrature--the plumpness was an outward sign of wealth, and common women were skinny.

In fact, the chain hauberk that guy's wearing would represent a hefty investment for a resident of the medieval era. That represents a skilled armorsmith's total output for perhaps four to six months--if not more--and those guys did not work for chicken feed.

If "Sir Cheeto of Mountain Dew" were a real knight, he might easily have been that big, and he would have been solid muscle underneath. He could have lifted the snarky poster of said picture by the skull and punched him in the face until candy came out.

* * *

To be fair, the chainmail this guy's wearing isn't real chain mail, in that the rings don't appear to be riveted. It looks good, but it wouldn't stop a real sword attack from someone who was serious about actually killing you. Very little of the chain mail which is made for re-enactors and history enthusiasts is real chain mail; it simply costs too much to make. (There isn't enough cross-linking in the chains, either.)

It's easier to make chain mail than it is to make leather armor, though, which is why you most often see people wearing it at Ren fairs. Also, leather armor is hard to move in, and hot; to get the leather to the right level of durability it has to be boiled in oil or rosin--and who can do that in his garage? And after that it has to be sewn together--with an awl because the leather is so stiff.

And of course it's easier to make chain than plate. Scale mail requires a lot of riveting; plate armor--the "suit of armor" which is commonly associated with knights--requires some advanced metalwork and a serious investment of tools. (Expect to need a planishing hammer and an English wheel to make smooth curves.)

Why do I know all this stuff? Because I used to play D&D seriously, and I learned it by osmosis.

There was this time when I was in a group which was confronted with a cavalry unit. The DM was playing it "arrogant", "elitist", and "brash" with a lot of esprit de corps, and the group was dismissing them: "They're all going to get wiped out."

I disagreed, particularly after learning that the cavalry unit had healthy animals and clean uniforms--they were an elite unit, not just playing at it; and I knew that because of the economics of a pseudo-medieval world. It costs a lot to maintain a horse and armor and fancy uniforms; you're not going to give horses and plate armor to a bunch of useless yokels and call it cavalry, not when it costs so much to maintain. They had esprit de corps precisely because they were an elite unit.

(For the record, they took losses, but did very well. They still ended up needing our help as they had no infantrymen with them.)

* * *

I figured out that Haruhi likes Kyon because Kyon's expressed no interest in dating her. Even the kiss in the last ep of the first series reinforces that notion--he kissed her but never did anything else--but I've run out of energy. I'll have to defend that assertion later on.

#1920: You guys are jerks! ...now help me out here.

I hope the Republicans refuse to help. Obama's slamming Republicans while expecting them to help him? Tweek-bot needs to learn a little humility.

Michelle Malkin on this.

* * *

It fell down the bit bucket. Then it crawled out, then fell down again. Then crawled out again.

* * *

The Anchoress posts about an editorial from someone who understands what "freedom of expression" is supposed to mean; and it prompted me to point out that the whole imbroglio over that "choose life" Super Bowl ad again demonstrates that groups like NOW aren't so much "pro-choice" as they are "pro-abortion". They support "choice" as long as those who are making the choices choose the "right" alternative.

Any example of someone making the "wrong" decision must never be allowed to be portrayed in a positive light.

* * *

Leonidas at Eternity Road has linked to an interesting piece which asks a few intriguing questions about the Knickerbomber.

* * *

Read this. It's not terribly long nor is it excessively technical, and it demonstrates why all the dire warnings about climate change are total bunkum.

* * *

Today was the primary election in IL, and we went to the polls. Whee.