Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Monday, November 22, 2004

Mazdaspeed Mazda6

274 Horsepower, turbocharged, direct injection, all-wheel drive.
The Mazda6 is on our approved cars list because it is UAW Made - is the Mazdaspeed Mazda6? We'll find out.

Indianapolis Star cars.com:
2005 Buick LaCrosse

The 2005 Buick LaCrosse replaces botht he ancient Century and Regal. One would think that, because the Century and Regal were so ancient, that the LaCrosse would be an all-new design. Nope. Surprisingly, though, the LaCrosse has gotten overwhelmingly good reviews. Not just good, glowing. "Almost Lexus-like" is typical. Here's a review from thecarconnection.com.

The Car Connection [ The Web's Automotive Authority ]

I stopped by a Buick dealer a couple weeks ago to try to get a test drive, but they didn't have a car available. I'll try to post first-hand impressions as soon as possible.

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

How to one-up Jay Leno

Jay Leno is well-known for his car collection. He has millions of dollars tied up in automobiles. How can you beat Jay in the "things that go" category for a fraction of the cost? Buy an aircraft carrier. Brazil has one for sale. Late last year, it was briefly listed on eBay. Apparently there is a potential Chinese buyer that has been dickering over the cost of transportation to China. If you pay the freight, you should be able to pick it up for $2-4 million.

Telegraph | News | For internet sale: aircraft carrier, only three owners
Book - American Nightmare

An author Named Richard Lord just published a book titled American Nightmare that looks quite interesting. It includes case studies on predatory lending. I haven't read it yet. I hope to get to it soon.

Books for an informed democracy: Chomsky, Zinn, Harbury, Aristide. Books on politics, environment, ethics, militarism, peace.

Friday, November 12, 2004

Drive your own Tank

Did you ever wonder what it would be like to drive a tank? Now you have a chance. A company called Texas Tanks lets you drive a real tank and participate a mock war game. The whole thing takes one day and costs $2750. Here's the link:

Texas Tanks: Drive a Tank (Armored Vehicle) Adventure

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Firefox turns 1.0

The Mozilla Firefox browser just turned 1.0. Backers are hoping to steal 10% of the total browser marketshare away from Microsoft Internet Explorer.

I'm using an earlier version of the Mozilla browswer at home, and I can tell you that it is much less succeptible to the typical malware (pop-ups, hijackings, worms, etc.) that you get with IE.

Mozilla releases Firefox 1.0 | Tech News on ZDNet
A fight for control over the AFL-CIO

The York Times published an article today that is a must-read for all union members. Andrew Stern, president of the Service employees International Union is mounting a challenge to John Sweeney's presidency of the AFL-CIO.

Stern points out that organized labor spent $150 million trying to unseat President Bush, with nothing really to show for it. Organized labor as a percentage of the workforce has shrunk from 35% in the 1950s to 13% now, and because of that, has diminishing clout, especially on national issues.

Stern wants to refocus national expenditures on organizing key employers and industries, including a $25 million per year Walmart campaign. According to the article, he hints that if increased efforts are not focused on the service industry, key service industry unions may bolt from the AFL-CIO.

The New York Times > National > Largest Union Issues Call for Major Changes: "annually on organizing."

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Shipping Containers - Blight or cozy little hideaway?

Thanks to an enormous trade deficit, mountains of shipping containers are accumulating in the United States. A major irony is that these 20 ft long rectangular boxes are roomier and more resistant to the elements than the housing units of a good portion of the world's population. So why not turn the containers into housing units?

Well, that's being tried. See the site below:


The problem that I see is that the vast majority of these efforts are taking place in Europe and the U.S. This is where we have the surplus of containers. The projects should take place where they have a shortage of housing.

I've been to Peru where determined squatters hand build little shacks on hillsides whereever they can. (It is irrelevant that they seldom have any legal claim to the land.) These enterprising settlers could make shipping containers into very livable housing. The problem is that the powers that be don't want the settlers to live there at all.
Dome Stuff - Part II

Dome News 2004, Dome of a Home
Indiana - How could you leave this?

I was feeling disgusted about living in Indiana, one of the first states to "Go Red" on election day, when I found out a piece of information that would change my outlook forever. I no longer feel compelled to move to Canada, because I found out that Indiana is the home of the World's Largest Ball of Paint.

I'm proud to be an American, where at least I know we have a big ball of paint.

World's Largest Ball of Paint. Roadside America
Dome stuff - Part one

Monolithic Dome Institute
Does Chuck Heston know about this?

A redneck's version of responsible gun ownership.

Designated shooter stops drunken driving
The New Mustang is Here!

After talking about it for years, the new Mustang is finally here. Time will tell whether the world has changed too much for it to be relevant. For horsepower junkies, it seems like there's lots of horsepower now in the GT (300), but there's also room for growth during the model run. Consider this: This Mustang uses just a 3-valve head - a bump up to 4 valves would probably raise horsepower about 15%. This one is tuned for regular unleaded. There is no variable valve timing. This one is normally aspirated (not turbocharged or supercharged.) Heck, you could put 200 more horsepower in this sucker. Why would you need it? The car already goes 0-60 in 5.3 seconds.

The Car Connection [ The Web's Automotive Authority ]

Monday, November 08, 2004

Did Bill Gates cost John Kerry the Election?

In this article reprinted at www.michaelmoore.com, Thom Hartmann from "Common Dreams" asserts that a Windows PC that tabulated paper ballots in rural counties in Florida was rigged. The results swung the state to George Bush. Let's see where this story goes.

Michael Moore.com : Mike's Message : Mike's Latest News
Satellite Radio Goes Portable: the Delphi XM MyFi?

For some time, there have been satellite radio receivers that you could fit in the palm of your hand. You just couldn't use them in the palm of your hand. The previous generation receivers had to be hooked up ot a power supply and either an auto sound system or home boom box. The Delphi XM MyFi is an XM satellite radio player for the iPod crowd. (Perhaps call it a SkyPod?)

Unlike previous units, the MyFi does not require an external antenna. As long as you have access to the open sky, you can use the MyFi live. For those times that you are indoors, The MyFi can record up to 5 hours of audio to its built-in hard driver. It looks promising, but at $350.00, it is twice the price of existing systems, even if you take into consideration that, at this price, the MyFi ahs the equivalent to a home stereo connection pack and car audio connection pack. I have a hunch that after Christmas 2004, the price will come way down, maybe as far as $200.00. At that price, the MyFi should be a keeper.

Delphi XM MyFi review - Delphi XM MyFi Intro - Radios - CNET Reviews

Monday, November 01, 2004

More about Rocket Cars: The incredible Rocket Car Story

The Rocket Car Legend
Whine of the day: Shortage of poll workers

Here is the now annual news story about the shortage of poll workers. Blah blah blah most of the workers are age 72 or over, blah blah blah. First of all, even though I'm off work, I still have to get my kids off to school and back home again. If they provide a nanny to help me do that, I'll work at the polls Secondly, there should never ever be a perpetual shortage of workers. If there is a shortage, you change the terms and conditions of employment until the shortage resolves itself. In this case, change the work hours. Did anybody think that just maybe you might get twice as many people (or more) who would be willing to put in 8 hour shifts as 16 hour shifts? How about (gasp) 6 hour shifts?

FOXNews.com - You Decide 2004 - U.S. Short of Poll Workers

John Kerry's Flight History

Most people know that George W. Bush was trained as a pilot in the Air National Guard. Most also know that soon after becoming checked out on the F-102, his history becomes really fuzzy until he is officially booted out for missing an annual flight physical. Not only has no one come up with his attendance records for his last year of guard service, no one has produced his pilot's logbook.

Most people don't know that John Kerry is a private pilot. He has been a private pilot since 1966. He apparently paid for his own flight training, and over the years, not only has he kept his status current, but he has added ratings, multi-engine, instrument, even seaplane. His records are below. I deleted his address. If you want his home address, get it somewhere else.

Airman's Address : XX LOUISBURG SQ
BOSTON, MA, 02108-1202
FAA Region : New England
Date of Medical : Dec, 2003
Class of Medical : 2Expiration : Dec, 2004
Airman Certificates : Commercial Pilot
Airplane Single Engine Land
Airplane Single Engine Sea
Airplane Multiengine Land
Instrument Airplane
Glider Aero Tow (Private Pilot)

I bet John Kerry can find his logbook.

Final notes before the Election

This will be my final post before the election. I encourage everyone to get out and vote. Here's a question I want you to answer as you go to the polls: When you are choosing a president, wouldn't you prefer that no matter where the President is, he has a decent shot at being the smartest one in the room?
Encouraging news for Kerry from early Florida Voters; significant lead over Bush among early voters

According to today's USA Today, 30% of Florida voters have already voted, and the early voters favor Kerry 51-43. Is that the Ghost of Al Gore seeking revenge?

It appears more and more that "election DAY" is becoming an obsolete concept, and we might as well do away with it altogether.

USATODAY.com - Swing states lean to Kerry
Why is General Motors worth only 1/7th of Toyota?

The total market value of all of General Motor's stock (market cap) is about $22 Billion. Toyota's market cap is $140 billion. Why the difference? It has to do with profitability. General Motor's stock is trading for less than the book value of its assets.

The New York Times > Business > Your Money > Investing: G.M. vs. Toyota: This Time, the Hare May Win