September 21st, 2015

#4914: A poor grasp of the basics.

So on my way home from work today I was passed by one of those hopped up sports-car-wannabe SUVs. You know the kind I'm talking about; it's trying really hard to be a hot rod, but one with AWD and ground clearance and so on.

For the most part I don't regard them as anything other than inoffensively stupid, not even when they have low-profile tires and a bunch of other hoopla better reserved for a sports or muscle car. The center-exit exhaust was probably inevitable.

But not on a Jeep.

Understand this: if you have a center-exit exhaust on any vehicle, that precludes installing a trailer hitch. Center-exit exhausts are fine for cars like Corvettes and Porsches and so on; in fact it's not a big deal for one to be on a Camaro or a Mustang (or a Celica GT or a Skyline or a Lancer or-or-or) because those cars are primarily aimed at going fast and handling well, not hauling people and things into the backcountry. And it doesn't even bother me to see such a feature on a Lexus or Cadillac SUV because you know those things ain't ever going off pavement unless some gearhead gets one at an auction for cheap and mods the hell out of it, and they sure as hell aren't going to be towing anything.

But a Jeep? Really?

It just offends me. That's why I want to hang onto my Cherokee as long as I can; that's a truck which can haul stuff yet is comfortable and drives nicely. (Okay, except for the shimmy. I need to disassemble the front end to check the ball joints. Maybe next weekend.) Longtime readers may recall that I got the trailer hitch for a song from a pick-a-part place, and had it bolted on by a welding shop for not a lot of money. The wiring kit was $20 and I installed it myself, and now I can tow things. (I have not, yet, but I will...soon, very soon.)

* * *

This morning as I was outside, topping up the leaky tire, I heard a horned owl hooting from the forest down the road. It's been quite a while since I heard an owl from the front yard of the bunker; last time was January 2004, shortly after I'd moved back to Illinois. That was a barred owl, which is more rare than the horned owl.

Either way, pretty cool. I like owls.

* * *

No it won't. "This total capitulation to Democratic demands will be very hard for House and Senate Republicans to stomach." Not even. The GOP doesn't care. This is just more GOP "failure theater", a kabuki show put on by the GOP in an attempt to fool the rubes in flyover country.

There won't be a shutdown. The GOP leadership will cavail and kvetch and moan and rend their garments and tear their hair, in public, but afterwards they'll all sit around the Capitol Dining Room with their Democrat buddies and have a laugh about it all over brandy and cigars.

Anyway, as commenters point out, the government isn't actually going to shut down. A "government shutdown" means that nonessential personnel get a paid vacation for the duration of the "shutdown", but most of it continues to operate. I mean, do you really think the EPA is going to cease operations during the shutdown? Do you think the welfare checks will stop? Do you think the IRS will stop hounding people for money?

Nope. Instead the government will close parks and memorials and highways, monuments and other attractions. Things that don't get (or cost) votes for politicians. Things that inconvenience the law-abiding, the middle class; not things that would cause riots if they were discontinued, however temporarily.

* * *

Another way to raise the price of cars while convincing people not to buy them. Mandatory breathalyzers in cars, no matter who you are or what your driving history is: you have to pass the "sober" test before the car will start.

No. Just no.



* * *

If you are in the top 10% of income earners, you can afford to buy a house. Otherwise, you can't.

Thanks, Obama! Thanks, Democrats!

* * *

Hey, they only raised the price by 5,555%! Hedge fund guy buys the only manufacturer of a common antiparasitic drug, then hikes the price per tablet from $13.50 to $750. The drug is well past being in patent (62 years old) but no one else manufactures it, so I guess the guy who owns the company can charge whatever the hell he wants to for it. Why $750 per tablet? Why not an even $1,000 per tablet? I don't really know. I mean, it can't be that he thought, "Well, I could charge an even grand for it, but why be greedy?"

* * *

American troops were under orders not to stop islamic pedophiles in Afghanistan. No no, these guys are military commanders ("thugs" and "strong men") and we have to work with them even though they're going back to their tents and raping young boys.

But, yeah, yet another feather in the cap for the religion of peace.

* * *

Today it was easier to get up, because (of course) I got up about forty-five minutes later than I have been.

I got to work at 6:30-ish, which--after leaving the bunker about 5:45-ish--was exactly typical of the commute thus far. Other than one screeching moron who didn't seem to understand that two hundred feet ahead of the barrier is no time to decide to get into the cash lanes rather than the Ipass lanes, commuting both up and down were trouble-free.

The Jeep still wobbles like a sonofabitch at 52 MPH, and of course I was stuck behind a bunch of shitheads who were all taking I-80 and who were, naturally, going exactly 52 MPH. I got to the place where a new right lane opened out from the present one, and I started to go around all the idiots, accelerating, but watching them like a hawk.

Sure enough, the shithead who'd been in front of everyone going slow decided--the barest second before it would have been too late for me to stop--to slow down more while careening across three lanes of traffic in order to get to the cash-only booths. I stood on the brakes and leaned on the horn, but didn't hit him, which is a good thing...because if there'd been a collision, I would be in jail right now for beating the everloving piss out of him.

It's not a surprise that the booth lanes are separated from the Ipass lanes. There are signs about a mile ahead of the booth saying that you need to be in the right lane for cash. But if you--for whatever reason!--can't get into the cash lanes and you miss a toll, you can always go online and pay the missed toll. They let you do that! No one goes to jail!

In fact, if you miss a toll (provided it's just one) and never pay it, they're not going to track you down and murder you in your bed. You have a pretty good chance of getting away with it. (Please note that I AM NOT advising you to skip paying tolls. Pay your tolls every time, people.) You risk getting a ticket in the mail for skipping the toll, and the fine will be much more than the toll was, but it's just possible that the system might not notice you.

That guy was an idiot, but like I said, I was ready for someone in that line of asshats to try to ruin my day.

While we're on the subject, though: it seems that whenever I get behind slow-moving traffic, it is always going 52 MPH. Not faster, not slower--just fast enough that my front end is shaking like a hula dancer's bootay, right at the speed where whatever causes the shimmy is right in resonance with the front end. If I slow down, naturally I get Mr. Impatient Tailgater on my ass, who then attempts to prove that I am Wrong by driving with his left wheels on the line and so close that I can only see the headlight that's shining in my left-hand mirror. I can't speed up, because this always seems to happen less than a mile from my exit, where I have neither time nor room to pass the assholes and get back into the right lane.

It really would be nice if I could figure out what's causing the damned shimmy and fix it.