February 17th, 2012

#3227: Why am I excited?

It's warming up outside, and once it's past 10:30 and the temps get over about 45° I'm going to hop on the motorcycle and go get some slodgeburgers from McDonald's. I'll come home and eat them, and then I'm going to fix the Jeep.

Why am I eagerly anticipating this? Drum brakes are a pain to service. *sigh*

Probably because I get to ride the motorcycle. It's supposed to hit 50° today.

* * *

Scaremongering over the "new car smell":
"Research shows that vehicle interiors contain a unique cocktail of hundreds of toxic chemicals that off-gas in small, confined spaces," Jeff Gearhart, research director at the Ecology Center, said in a written statement. "Since these chemicals are not regulated, consumers have no way of knowing the dangers they face. Our testing is intended to expose those dangers and encourage manufacturers to use safer alternatives."
Organizations like this "Ecology Center" tend to view the mere presence of "toxic chemicals"--regardless of concentration--as "hazardous".

By that kind of standard, standing in a pine forest would be just as dangerous as getting into a new car. Do you have any idea what kind of toxic chemicals go into that "fresh pine scent"?

The Earth's atmosphere contains all kinds of "toxic chemicals". Ozone (O3) is bad for you and you're breathing it. There's cyanide (CN) in the air you're breathing right now. There's carbon monoxide (CO) and chlorine gas and all kinds of other really nasty things in the air, all of which come from natural sources.

...but at vanishingly small concentrations.

Did you just break wind? That stink that came from your anus is full of methane and ketones and hydrongen sulfide, all of which are toxic chemicals.

Yeah.

Look: if you get into a new car and take a deep breath because you like the new car smell--and you don't get a headache from it--you're fine. The aim of this story is merely to find a way to bludgeon car companies into using "eco-friendly" solvents and processes to build their cars...and that will naturally make cars more expensive.

You know, there's something else: the paint on modern cars is "water-borne" paint. Car companies can't use more mature coating technologies because of EPA regulations. Problem is, the water-borne paints don't perform as well as the urethanes and catalytic paints of even 10 years ago. So guess what that means? "Cars cost more," yeah. And they frequently don't look as good as they could.

Stupid econazi crap. As always.

* * *

The plaintiff is right. If the commerce clause of the Constitution allows the government to require individuals to buy products, where does it end?

ObamaCare requires people to buy health insurance. If that's constitutional, what stops Congress from deciding that everyone should buy a new domestic car every decade? If government has the power to force citizens to enter into a sales transaction of one kind, then it seems pretty obvious that it has the power to force citizens into other kinds of sales transactions.

And it's a fact that--as government sinks its tentacles further into our lives--the rules of ObamaCare end up giving them a way to over-regulate every aspect of our existence.

Take, for example, the recent brouhaha over contraceptives. That's Obama--not a federal agency and not Congress, but Obama himself--telling the Catholic church they must provide their employees with insurance that covers contraceptives and abortions, two things that are utterly proscribed by Catholic doctrine.

This level of government intrusion into what should be a private transaction only demonstrates the Democrats' desired endgame for this: total government control of the health care industry. And if they get that, they can use that self-same commerce clause to regulate all kinds of behavior.

Skydiving increases your risk of injury and death: illegal. Owning a motorcycle makes you more likely to be injured: illegal. Driving a sports car with a big engine--illegal. Eating fast food too often--well, we can't put them out of business, but we're going to enact a background check system (like IL's got for Sudafed) to ensure you don't buy more than two Big Macs a month.

You think this is hyperbole.

* * *

Incidentally--that "98% of Catholic women use birth control" figure that the Democrats are bandying about? It's horseshit.

The study they're citing was on birth control methods employed by Catholic women who were sexually active. This limited the sample to women who were of childbearing age, sexually active, and not desirous of offspring. So, yeah, 98% of Catholic women who were having sex and didn't want babies were using contraceptives. What a fucking shock that is.

...but it's not 98% of all Catholic women who use contraceptives. It's 98% of a subset of Catholic women.

Of course the Democrats are lying, and of course their allies in the state-run media are uncritically parroting the party line. Anything else would be astonishing.

* * *

Two from Vox Day:

The tragedy of the averagely intelligent.
The astonishing thing about Miss Wright's confession isn't that she was clueless and solipsistic little snob, but rather, that she is still appears to believe that she is highly intelligent on the basis of familiarity with the works of a trivial and silly science fiction writer with a poor grasp of history. If she had any brains at all worth noting, then she wouldn't have needed someone else to point out that clever people are everywhere; in addition to the ease with which this can be observed in the material world, even a basic knowledge of intelligence statistics would indicate that this must be the case.
She considers herself a genius because she reads Margaret Atwood?

I consider her to be a moron for the same reason. What a coincidence.

* * *

And The consequences of science being wrong. It's a post about some Italian seismologists being put on trial for manslaughter, because their confident prediction that everything was fine came shortly before a major earthquake that killed people.
One of the reasons that I consider many scientists to be both hypocritical and despicable is that they regularly expect everyone else to accept their scientific declarations as some sort of perfectly reliable magic eight-ball while resolutely refusing to take any responsibility whatsoever for the accuracy of those declarations. Now, the significant gap between the reliability of science and the public's perception of that reliability isn't always the scientists' fault, as there are many examples of the science media and the mainstream media taking a perfectly reasonable statement by a scientist and turning it into an assertive declaration that brooks no possible doubt.
Such as "the science is settled! We must reduce our carbon emissions or face disaster!"

* * *

So let's get on with the economic stuff. I can't stay away from it!

If nothing is done, the US federal government is done in 2027, which is when I'll be 60 years old. *sigh*
And here was the exchange between Geithner and Ryan, after Ryan pointed the terrifying baseline (in red):

GEITHNER: You could have taken [the chart] out [to the year] 3000 or to 4000. [Laughs]

RYAN: Yeah, right. We cut it off at the end of the century because the economy, according to the CBO, shuts down in 2027 on this path.(emphasis added)
Obama submitted a budget that bankrupts us, his Treasury Secretary laughs it off, and I'm supposed to give a crap about their ginned-up election year bogeymen of income inequality or contraception? Please.
SIC.

The adults in the room don't think your quips are funny, Mr. Geithner. When our debt load hits 150% of GDP--and this is projected to happen in fifteen years; it'll probably happen sooner!--the economy of the US craps out and produces nothing.

And then we're all fucked.

* * *

The real unemployment rate is 15%. So says the CBO.

15%. Not 8.3%.

...this figure has been higher in the past year, though, because the CBO is discussing U6: "The official unemployment rate [U3, which is 8.3%] excludes those individuals who would like to work but have not searched for a job in the past four weeks as well as those who are working part-time but would prefer full-time work; if those people were counted among the unemployed, the unemployment rate in January 2012 would have been about 15 percent."

U6 has been well over 16% in the year. The fact that it's fallen to 15% probably reflects the same bogus math that was used to reduce U3 to 8.3%.

2005, when U3 was below 5% and George Bush was in office: U6 was the more accurate number.

2012, when U6 is above 15% and Barack Hussein is in office: U3 is the more accurate number.

Which is it, mainstream media?

* * *

(...but of course there isn't any liberal bias in the media, oh no! No, that's my imagination because I'm a right-winger. Besides, the MSM is all about money, and what would it get them to piss off 40% of the population?)

* * *

The idiotic debt ceiling agreement reached in autumn of last year--the one that doesn't actually do anything but make it politically expedient for our government to raise the debt ceiling without anyone having to risk his neck voting for it--is going to run out of headroom sometime before November 3 of this year.

The article doesn't actually say whether it's the hard limit or the soft one.

The soft limit is the one where Obama can request a limit increase and--as long as Congress doesn't vote againt it--it happens automatically. This has already happened once since the GOP folded like a house of cards in a typhoon. I can't remember how high "up" was supposed to be before this could no longer be done, and anyway it scarcely seems important, does it? The US government continues to spend money it doesn't have, and neither party is interested in stopping this idiocy before it all comes crashing down. What more do you need to know?

* * *

Venezuela is the only country in the world that taxes its oil industry at a higher rate than the US. And the oil industry in Venezuela is entirely owned by the government. (Okay? It's all Hugo Chavez, all the time, down there!)

Shit, no wonder gasoline prices rose 83% under Obama!

* * *

More fraud in the mortgage industry has come to light. Big surprise. When the penalty for bank robbing is merely having to give back some of the money, you have bank robbers lined up waiting their turn.

Stop the looting! Start prosecuting!

* * *

To my surprise, the yuri manga Choir has abruptly become un-stagnant. I just hope I don't have to wait another 10 months for another handful of chapters.

Family Compo hasn't updated since October and the others in the "Stagnant" pile have gone even longer than that. *sigh*

* * *

All right, here's a perfect example of why my metabolism pisses me right the fuck off.

Today's breakfast:
2 slices toast
2 eggs, scrambled
1 slice cheese
2 strips bacon
...made into a tasty sandwich.

Result: hypoglycemia 2 hours later.

Big breakfast:
3 eggs, over easy
4 slices toast, buttered
2 strips bacon
1 glass whole milk
Result: mixed. Sometimes hypoglycemia after 3 hours, usually not.

Big Farm breakfast:
2 eggs, scrambled
1-2 small potatos, shredded and fried
2 strips bacon
Result: mixed. Sometimes hypoglycemia after 2-3 hours, sometimes not.

WTF.

Particularly in the case of the sandwich, it should be perfectly fine. Reason:
2 McDonald's Egg Mcmuffins:
2 eggs
2 slices of "pasteurized process cheese food"
2 slices ham ("canadian bacon")
2 english muffins
...and I can sit at the computer or go work like a motherfucker and be perfectly fine.

WHAT THE HELL IS IN THOSE F-ING MCMUFFINS THAT'S NOT IN MY BREAKFAST OF THIS MORNING?

Real cheese? Is that the problem? Or is it the use of white bread instead of english muffins that's the issue? What's the f-ing difference?

Then people wonder why I spend so much money on fast food. *sigh*

#3228: Dekita!

Jeep brakes are done.

Drum brakes are a pain to service. I just thought I'd mention that--especially the way Jeep designed them.

Another stroke of luck: getting the brake line fittings unscrewed from the brake cylinders was pretty simple. I think I'm using up all my good luck for the year this week. Shit.

Yes, I said "cylinderS".

With the left side already half-disassembled, I started there. Tore it down to the backing plate, pulled off the old cylinder and put on the new one. Reassembled it, making a couple mistakes in the process but ending up without any extra parts; then I moved everything over to the passenger side and started disassembly there.

After I got the brake shoes off, I noticed that the coating on the plates was puffed up and flaking off, right where they contact the cylinder. I looked at the cylinder, and saw bright shiny brake fluid oozing from behind the dust boot.

"Well," I said to myself, "it looks as if I didn't misremember after all."

So I put everything away, and got on my motorcycle, and hied myself over to Advance Auto to buy a cylinder for the right side. There wasn't nearly as much fluid here as on the driver's side, but sure as shitting if I had decided to let it go, I'd be replacing the right-side cylinder next month--and having to do all this shit again. And it's a $10 part, and it's easiest to replace it while you've got the thing apart anyway to replace the brake shoes because the other side's shoes were ruined and you always replace all shoes on an axle at the same time.

Blurk.

Came home, dove back in. The last time I did this--in January of 2008--I remember the rear brakes on this thing being an amazingly aggravating pain in the ass. It was less difficult this time even though I barely remember doing the job before. I got the right side buttoned up, realized that I'd installed the adjuster assembly wrong way on the driver's side, and moved back over there. When it came time to put the drums back on, then I saw that the parking brake actuator wasn't installed right on the left side so I had to take the springs off a third time to fix that. But once I was done, everything was in its proper place and to order.

I finished by bleeding the rear brakes. I had had the lines open a minimum amount of time but they'd still leaked; I used my vacuum pump to get the air out and was satisfied that I'd done the best I could. I adjusted the brake shoes so they were just barely dragging against the drums, put in the adjuster plugs, put on the bleeder covers, threw the wheels on, and took her off the jack stands.

...and forgot to torque the lug nuts before pulling out of the driveway. I got most of the way down the street before I realized what was wrong; fortunately I had my tools in the back, so I was able to quickly tighten them up and torque them down.

I took the brake shoes back and got my core charge, then hit KFC for dinner. I had originally intended to have yakisoba tonight, but I'm too f-ing tired to cook.

The brakes work better. Big surprise, considering one side is no longer coated with brake fluid--but I'm less than enamored of using the vacuum pump to bleed brakes; it doesn't work very well. I was expecting them to be a bit soft, but they're fine. There might be a little air in them, but there certainly ain't much. I think it'll do.

Which is a good thing, because I am done. My arms hurt, I'm all sweaty, my jeans are stained with grease and crud. I hope I can get them clean again. Shit.

But I sure am eating out a lot this week. Too much: Culver's on Wed, Thu; Super Burrito! on Thu; McDonald's and KFC on Fri. Oh well.

I still have the oil to change, but I'm hoping to do that over at Og's on Sunday. I had thought I might do it today, but by the time I was finished with the rear brakes, I was out of power. (See above, re: "done".) Also, greasing the suspension would not be pushing it.

* * *

Last night, I totally faded out after 9 PM. Well, yesterday was pretty busy, and I'd been up since before 6 AM.

It's been an awful long time since I had KFC, too, come to think of it. Their cole slaw is still awesome.

I only thought of going to KFC because I have a Culver's menu on my desk and was looking at it this morning. I noticed that they have cole slaw; and while driving away from Advance Auto I was thinking that I'd like to try it--but that I did not want to eat Culver's again so soon.

* * *

I saw an article to the effect that a downstate Illinois legislator introduced a bill to repeal the Firearm Owner ID Act. This would mean that it was again legal in IL to possess a firearm without having to have a special card that says you're allowed to exercise your civil rights under the 2nd Amendment.

Of course it won't become law. Quinn will veto it. But it'd be nice if I could have my guns back....

#3229: Yes, let your soap dry out.

I just finished making batch #2 of the homemade laundry detergent.

As stated here:

...I bought two Fels-Naptha bars to incorporate into future batches of home-made laundry detergent, and I opened the packages to let the soap dry out. I figure it'll be easier to grate (and load up the grater less) if the cakes are dry.

I put them on shelves in Mom's room, and I can smell them from in here. They have a pleasant scent, though, so that's okay.
I was right when I came to that conclusion. I was able to grate a totally dry cake of soap in about 10 minutes. The grater didn't load up this time, and I got a finer powder out of it as well.

I had to run the borax and the washing soda through the flour sifter, though, to break up the lumps. Then once it was all mixed together I ran the mixture through the sifter, too, and gave it a final hand mix before dumping it into the cottage cheese container.

The last batch lasted four months, so I should be good, now, for another four months.

--four months' worth of laundry done for $3 worth of detergent. You just cannot beat that.

* * *

Everything I'm using is water soluble, so it's just a matter of rinsing the implements really well once the job is done. It's not like my next batch of brownies is going to taste like borax because I used the sifter to break up the lumps.

* * *

Man, I'm running out of juice again, and it's only 9. Well, I started doing my laundry so I can't go to sleep until the second load is in the dryer; that'll be in about an hour or so.

Maybe watch some anime while I'm waiting. Yeah, that'd be good.