atomic_fungus (atomic_fungus) wrote,
atomic_fungus
atomic_fungus

#2371: McRib is back!

I was last at a McDonald's on Friday, so I know it's a recent development.

...I had intended to get a #13 (black angus bacon cheeseburger) but when I saw that, I immediately--and gleefully--dropped that plan for a couple McRibs.

Man, that tastes good. It tastes better than anything else on McDonald's menu. It's messy as hell, but man does it taste good.

* * *

I was behind a green Subaru something-or-other with a trailer hitch. At first I thought it had been modified, badly, to allow an aftermarket muffler. There was a drop bar around the tailpipe and this one looked like it had a crappy cold weld on one side.

After I gave my order and pulled around, the car's back was in sunlight, and I could see that no, the trailer hitch was so rusty that it was broken. And I thought, "Damn, if that guy ever tries to pull something, that hitch is going to come right off the car." But no one, I reasoned, would actually try to use a hitch in that condition, right?

Then I thought, "Assuming, of course, that the guy actually looks at the hitch before trying to use it."

Looking at the thing, I was imagining what it would look like after the guy hooked it up to a trailer and tried to pull away, and it wasn't pretty. Bent metal, car going sideways, trailer smacking into the back of the car....

If that were my car, I'd rip that damn thing off there at least and probably replace it in the bargain. Then again, I'm a tool-user who actually knows how to fix things, unlike far too many others in this civilization. *sigh*

I understand the thinking behind making hitches that bolt right onto the car and require no modification to the car. The idea is to make the trailer hitch installation painless. But whenever I see a hitch with one of those drop bars for the tailpipe, I always think, There's no way that's as strong as a straight bar would be. Oh, it probably doesn't matter, but I think I'd prefer having to put on a different kind of tailpipe in order to have a straight bar across the back.

* * *

Og lent me a hitch to see if the height was all right; and looking at it, I--again--thought about the forces involved.

It's a plate of 1" steel, about 2.25" wide and perhaps 6" long, bent at a 120° angle. To this, then, a piece of 2" square tubing is welded, and a hole is drilled through the plate for the hitch ball.

That weld bears all the force experienced by that hitch.

I can see why the thing has to be an inch thick: the shaft that the hitch ball is on makes for a single point of contact, and you don't want the plate to flex or break. And the weld around the tubing is a much larger area through which the forces must travel. But it still seems flimsy to me.

Seems like a better design would be to make a plate from 1" steel which extends the length of the entire hitch, and then weld a C-shaped section of 3/8" steel to it, forming the 2" square tubing that fits in the receiver. The weld area would be larger still, and it would be subject to shear force rather than stretch force. Besides, the locking pin would sit in a notch in the steel plate, further securing it against movement.

This would be more expensive, though, because 1" plate doesn't grow on trees; and in fact it's obvious that the common design for a receiver hitch works just fine, because how often do they break? Have you ever heard of one breaking which was in good repair? I haven't.

One ex-friend of mine, who is a real shithead otherwise, said one thing which is correct and wise. ("A stopped clock....") He said, "'Better' isn't 'good'." What he meant was that improving something doesn't necessarily make that particular something useful; or that just because you can improve something does not necessarily mean you have to improve it.

(Example: you have a truck that gets 8 MPG and you do some things to improve its fuel economy, so now it gets 12 MPG. It's better, but it's still not good.)

So, yeah, I can see ways to make hitches stronger...but they don't need the improvement, and the improvement would just increase the cost of manufacture for no real-world benefit.

* * *

No idea WTF is taking them so long with Exchange street.

Okay: a few weeks ago they jackhammered holes in the freshly-laid asphalt to install the manholes they'd covered with asphalt and filled the gaps with concrete. They've finished laying the sidewalk aprons. There is asphalt all the way from Main Street to the old C&EI grade crossing again, lacking only the 2" topcoat.

And nothing, for two weeks.

WTF, did the union bitches go on strike again because their mommies wouldn't tuck 'em in? Is there some other major problem with the construction industry? Is it the oil pipeline that blew out a couple months ago limiting the availability of tar? Why is this road still closed when it's usable?

Argh.
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