Sarah Palin knows how old the Chinese gymnasts are.

calendar   Thursday - April 24, 2008


I know there’s far more serious stuff out there, but there was just no way to resist posting this.

Yeah I know it can be serious but I guess my sense of humor is a bit twisted because I think this is funny.

Oh BTW .... at the moment we are having one hell of a HAIL storm. Sheets of it.  So, about global warming.

Oh yeah .. this post on another subject.

This is from The Hampshire Chronicle, which is a weekly paper. 

Man cleared of threats to bank manager

A PARISH councillor threatened to blow his bank manager’s head off with a shotgun, a court heard.

Gerry Tull, 60, sent a fax to Lloyds TSB’s Winchester branch containing the warning after “being brought to the brink by bureaucratic incompetence”, Andover magistrates were told.

It led to armed police swooping on his home in Main Road, Owslebury, last November, and arresting him on suspicion of making threats to kill.

But yesterday (April 16) Mr Tull, a farmer, was cleared of lesser charges of sending an offensive letter or article and sending an offensive or menacing message after prosecutors asked for him to be acquitted.

The member of Owslebury Parish Council was bound over in the sum of £500 to keep the peace for two years and ordered not to issue threats to Lloyds TSB staff.

Mr Tull said after the hearing that the threat stemmed from a dispute, lasting nearly two years, between him and the bank.
He switched the account of his farming business to Lloyds TSB from HSBC in early 2006, but claimed he experienced a catalogue of errors after the move.

For several months there was an impasse with his overdraft, he said, which forced him to use cash for all business dealings.

He added that Lloyds TSB mistakenly sent him somebody else’s account details, and when he told staff, they did not act.

To prove a point, Mr Tull used the details to create a bogus internet bank account, which he then cancelled.

He added that he exposed banking flaws a decade ago by applying for a credit card with another firm in the name of Rocky, his now-deceased Jack Russell.

It proved successful, and Mr Tull kept the dog’s card - which has a £4,000 limit - as a souvenir.

Last August, he reached a deal with managers to leave Lloyds TSB, having repaid his overdraft.

However, he needed a final statement for his accounts, but despite lengthy phone calls, he said it did not arrive for nearly three months, and when it did it was wrong.

Having lost patience, he faxed Lloyds TSB in Winchester saying he would blow the manager’s head off with a shotgun.

“This would have been a bit difficult, as I don’t have a gun,”
he added.

However, the bank took it seriously, called police, and ten armed officers in four vehicles swooped on his home the next morning.

Mr Tull added: “I was making breakfast and then I heard a bang, bang’ at the door. They were saying come out with your hands up’, and I was saying come in and have a cup of tea’.”

Police marched him away in handcuffs and questioned him for several hours. He was released on bail and later charged.

Magistrates also ruled that Mr Tull could reclaim all legal costs, estimated to be about £4,000, incurred after an initial hearing in early April.

Lloyds TSB declined to comment.


Posted by Drew458   United Kingdom  on 04/24/2008 at 08:05 AM   
Filed Under: • HumorMiscellaneousSelf-Defense •  
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calendar   Wednesday - April 23, 2008

Oh Noes, now we’re gonna freeze!

Ice Age Could Be Coming!!

The scariest photo I have seen on the internet is, where you will find a real-time image of the sun from the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory, located in deep space at the equilibrium point between solar and terrestrial gravity.  What is scary about the picture is that there is only one tiny sunspot.

Disconcerting as it may be to true believers in global warming, the average temperature on Earth has remained steady or slowly declined during the past decade, despite the continued increase in the atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide, and now the global temperature is falling precipitously.

All four agencies that track Earth’s temperature (the Hadley Climate Research Unit in Britain, the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York, the Christy group at the University of Alabama, and Remote Sensing Systems Inc in California) report that it cooled by about 0.7C in 2007. This is the fastest temperature change in the instrumental record and it puts us back where we were in 1930. If the temperature does not soon recover, we will have to conclude that global warming is over.

There is also plenty of anecdotal evidence that 2007 was exceptionally cold. It snowed in Baghdad for the first time in centuries, the winter in China was simply terrible and the extent of Antarctic sea ice in the austral winter was the greatest on record since James Cook discovered the place in 1770.

We cannot really know, but my guess is that the odds are at least 50-50 that we will see significant cooling rather than warming in coming decades.  The probability that we are witnessing the onset of a real ice age is much less, perhaps one in 500, but not totally negligible.  All those urging action to curb global warming need to take off the blinkers and give some thought to what we should do if we are facing global cooling instead.

I guess this is what climatologists do when they aren’t pretty enough to be weathergirls on TV. They look at today’s weather and then argue about the climate. FoxNews also covers the story, even getting the date right this time. FoxNews stays true to their Glowball Worming roots, and devotes more ink to debunking this guys claims than they do reporting it. Plus they sidebar some links, one of which tells us how a warmer climate means harsher winters.

Hey, wait a second. Isn’t writing online about something somebody else said online and linking to it called blogging? What the heck does Fox think it’s doing? Damn journalists, blurring the lines again.


Posted by Drew458   United States  on 04/23/2008 at 05:00 PM   
Filed Under: • Climate-Weather •  
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Dhimmi Cahta


another winner from Ramirez


Posted by Drew458   United States  on 04/23/2008 at 03:55 PM   
Filed Under: • Democrats-Liberals-Moonbat Leftists •  
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Clean pipes = good health

Frequent Ejaculation Helps Prevent Prostate Cancer

Frequent masturbation may help men cut their risk of contracting prostate cancer, Australian researchers have found. It is believed that carcinogens may build up in the prostate if men do not ejaculate regularly, BBC News reported on Wednesday. The researchers surveyed more than 1,000 men who had developed prostate cancer, and 1,250 men who had not. They found that men who had ejaculated the most between the ages of 20 and 50 were the least likely to get cancer. Men who ejaculated more than five times each week were a third less likely to develop prostate cancer.

The prostate produces a fluid that is incorporated into ejaculation, which activates sperm and prevents them from sticking together. Studies on animals have shown that carcinogens like 3-methylchloranthrene can be harbored in the prostate. Frequent ejaculation encourages the cancer-inducing fluids to flush out.

Ok, make your jokes now. “But honey, it’s for my health!” “Hey, it can’t hurt!”

I think what we have here is another one of those stories with insufficient background checking. Or maybe it’s just a slow news day over at FoxNews. See, they run the story, and link it out to a story published Monday at Planet Out. Go to Planet Out and read the same thing with a little more detail, and they cite, unlinked, Wednesday’s BBC News. That would be last Wednesday then, right? Go to BBC online and there’s no such story, so do a search ... and find the article. The information is exactly the same, and it was published on a Wednesday, as PlanetOut said. Wednesday, July 16, 2003.

Jerk offs. This isn’t “news”, it’s “olds”.


Posted by Drew458   United States  on 04/23/2008 at 11:48 AM   
Filed Under: • Miscellaneous •  
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Fallon out, Petraeus In

Patraeus to lead Central Command

Army Gen. David Petraeus, the top U.S. commander in Iraq, has been chosen to become chief of U.S. Central Command, Defense Secretary Robert Gates said Wednesday. Petraeus replaces Adm. William Fallon, who said last month he was resigning. Fallon said widespread, but false, reports that he was at odds with the Bush administration over Iran had made his job impossible.

In addition, Gates said, Army Lt. Gen. Ray Odierno, commander of the Multinational Corps-Iraq—the No. 2 position in Iraq—is being nominated to fill Petraeus’ post. Odierno has been home from Iraq only for a couple of months, but has agreed to return, Gates said.

The plan is for Petraeus to leave Iraq in late summer or early fall, Gates said, to ensure a smooth transition and plenty of time for Odierno to prepare.

From what I’ve seen on the news, General Patraeus has been doing a great job over in Iraq. I can’t say Yea or Nay about Admiral Fallon because he doesn’t get much media coverage. Same goes for General Odierno. But if the troops know and respect him, then this shouldn’t be a bad thing. And if Patraeus’ counter-insurgency policies remain in place, then it shouldn’t have too much effect. Am I talking out a hole in my head? Anybody out there got the low down on Odierno and can say whether this is a good move or a bad one?


Posted by Drew458   United States  on 04/23/2008 at 11:35 AM   
Filed Under: • Military •  
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£75 charge for parents who do the school run in a 4x4 ‘gas guzzler’ (That’s $100 USA)

Are they doing something similiar back home? (USA) Seems I read or heard about it.

Anyway, I think it’s another way to scam the folks who can buy one of these. How about larger families? What’s next? An ASBO for a family with more then one child?  Two or three kids means ya need a bigger car.  Selfish unpatriotic planet killers.
Btw ... about 18 months ago, maybe more, a new regulation came into being with regard to the size and fit of child safety seats in cars. Even for kids as old as 10.  Now I’m not certain on this one point, but it may include 11 year olds as well.

Well, the damn safety seats which are mandatory are rather largish and cumbersome.  It’s my understanding that they won’t fit into really smaller cars, and I’ve no idea how that’s been addressed.  But, I have read that due to the size of these safety seats, many with multiple children have bought larger cars to accommodate the seats required by health and safety.

Thing that bothers me about this is that the cars in question are legal. The ppl who bought them have already paid a pretty hefty tax to own one. I haven’t a clue as to gas milage on these things, but if they’re so god awful bad then why allow their import?  If you allow them to be imported and taxed, what right does some self appointed busy body have to show disapproval by extra taxes?
But on the other hand now.  There is this.


This story centers around London. Think New York but much worse. Very narrow streets, HUGE congestion problems that never end and show no signs of doing so any time soon.

Many of these “people movers” are owned not by large families but by small ones. They are also the status symbol of the folks who can afford the luxury.
There are no garages in 80% of London.  You park in the street or often make some other arrangements.  Know too that to live in London and own one of these cars take a lot of $$$$. Or in the case here, ££££.  These generally are banking or investment types or folks often referred to as the movers and, they don’t usually have large families. Maybe one or two children.  Their very large cars take up a lot of room, and when it comes to taking the kiddies to school it’s been found that very many DO NOT car pool and in fact use these things to drop off just one child at school.

London has one thing in common with cities like NY in that many don’t have cars.  I’ve known ppl in both places who simply get around by subway (called the tube here) or by bus.  Sometimes train.  Never occurred to me to ask what they did on weekends.  I also know that some have cars they don’t use except to go further afield.  But make no mistake, the bigger cars, the 4x4s, the “people movers” do take a lot of space and really do add to problems of parking etc. This is NOT a new issue. It’s impossible to get around one of these vehicles on a London street if you needed to.  The problem of small parking spaces, narrow streets and overlarge cars in crowded spaces is a serious problem.

Having said all that .... I’m still bothered because the following article doesn’t mention all that.  No.  The problem among the busy bodies is apparently “emission
levels” of large cars.  They want to drive down, they say, the amount of carbon emissions caused by what they see as gas guzzlers.  Well, what if one 4x4 is actually being used to car pool several children. Isn’t that better then three or four smaller cars on the road?  And anyway, I have to return to my first point with regard to a car legally imported and taxed already.  If emissions are going to be the sticking point, then the tax should occur at the point of purchase all up

£75 charge for parents who do the school run in a 4x4 ‘gas guzzler’
By GWYNETH REES - More by this author »

Last updated at 20:39pm on 20th April 2008

Parents driving “gas guzzlers” on the school run are to be charged £75 a year.

Those who use 4x4s and people carriers will be hardest hit by plans to start charging parents to park in bays outside schools.

The fees will vary according to how “green” a car is, and those in smaller vehicles with lower emissions will pay nothing at all.

The scheme is currently being tested in the London borough of Richmond Upon Thames.

If it proves successful, it will be rolled out across the country.

Campaign groups and motoring organisations yesterday reacted with fury to the plans.

Sheila Rainger, of the RAC Foundation motoring charity, said: “This is yet another stealth tax that is hitting the family budget. For many parents, it is necessary to have a large car as they have three children who need car seats.

“It is very worrying that tax bands linked to carbon emissions are being used more and more frequently as a means of penalising motorists.

“At a time when fuel is going up, many people don’t have the money to pay for these additional charges.

“It would be better if there were incentives to drive smaller cars - such as parking closer to the school - than financial penalties for those driving larger cars.”

Margaret Morrissey, of the National Confederation of Parent Teacher Associations, called the scheme “unfair and unrealistic”.

She said: “Mums and small children are such an easy target for councils.

“They should try offering some parking provisions and stop this nonsense. Many families have three or four children and they need the space to fit child seats.”

Previously, parents in Richmond could pick up a free permit from schools allowing them to park for free on double yellow lines or in bays for ten minutes.

But under the new scheme, to be introduced in September, those driving cars with higher carbon dioxide emissions will be charged £75 a year for such a permit.

Drivers of low-polluting cars will escape any charge.

In the trial, 13 schools will allow only parents with a permit to park for 15 minutes in a local bay.

The Local Government Association has already warned that the scheme will be rolled out across the country in the near future.

It follows a move by Richmond Council in 2006 to link the price of residents’ parking permits to engine emissions.

Those with larger cars saw their permit prices triple.

Last month, the Liberal Democrat-run council in the borough also announced it was changing its 200-vehicle public transport fleet to run on biodiesel, made from recycled cooking oil.

A spokesman for the council defended the move to charge, saying it was just following the Government’s lead.

He said: “The Government is trying to reduce school-run car use and we support it.

“We want to drive down carbon dioxide emissions and become the most sustainable county in the country.”

The council claimed that parents on the school run account for a fifth of the traffic on the borough’s roads at 8.50am during term time.


Posted by Drew458   United Kingdom  on 04/23/2008 at 07:54 AM   
Filed Under: • Environment •  
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IT IS ST. GEORGE’S DAY IN ENGLAND, APRIL 2008. Does anyone care?

Well folks, here it is St. George’s Day, April 2008 and it doesn’t look as tho many care. Shame really.
There was to have been a St. George’s parade, but it was cancelled do to fear for children, as the parade was to have passed thru an inner city area where race riots took place SEVEN YEARS AGO!  Anyway, the police issued a warning that kids could be at risk.  There are worries over, HEALTH and SAFETY.

Not being a Brit I really don’t understand what St. George and the famous slaying of the Dragon has to do with race or why anyone should be out of sorts if a parade went thru any part of an ENGLISH city.  Ah ... pardon me but, there still are English cities here are they not?  I know they are here because I have heard many rumors to that effect.



‘St’ George and the over-reaction

By Oliver Pritchett

Last Updated: 12:01am BST 23/04/2008

Today, thousands of people the length and breadth of England will be celebrating Dragon Awareness Day.
Read more by Oliver Pritchett
This is to draw attention to the blatant slaying of a member of the dragon community by St George, several centuries ago, and to call for a more positive attitude to these mythical monsters.

We also want to highlight our demands for 1) A full apology from the Prime Minister and the Queen; 2) Back-dated compensation for all those affected by the event; 3) Legislation to outlaw the demonising of dragons; 4) A Channel 4 documentary outlining the war crimes committed by St George, possibly leading to a trial, or at least a full public inquiry.

The media have been ignoring our campaign for years, which is very convenient for the powers-that-be, but our demonstrations today will force them to pay attention and put right the years of injustice.

I am personally deeply affected by the actions of St George outside the cave on that day of shame when an innocent dragon was impaled by his lance.

I am, in fact, a direct descendant of the maiden the so-called saint was supposed to be rescuing.

This action has meant many hundreds of years of hurt for my family. We have always had to live with the knowledge that our ancestor was traumatised when the dragon she had befriended was slain before her very eyes in what was, in truth, an unprovoked act of aggression.

In our family, we have had to endure the shame of people thinking our ancestor was a victim of the dragon when she was actually reaching out the hand of friendship.

She saw it not as a monster but as a gentle giant. Far from being a victim she was, by all accounts, an independent young woman on the brink of a promising career in human-mythical beast relations.

Even now I get dizzy spells when I see depictions of that slaying and I have to take medication for my nerves. That is why I am taking legal action (on a no-win, no-fee basis) for compensation from the Government.

I’m not doing it for myself, but for my grandmother and all the great great grandmothers before her. (It is significant that members of our family have always had a soft spot for reptiles; I myself had a terrapin for many years.)

In our celebrations of Dragon Awareness Day we are pointing out that it was not even a fair fight. Close examination of most of the pictorial evidence shows that St George cynically used his horse to trample the dragon then sneakily plunged his lance into its exposed underside.

It was George who snatched all the glory and the sainthood, while the poor horse was almost certainly as traumatised as my maiden ancestor. No doubt she did her best to comfort it before George galloped off again.

It is a disgrace that the un-named horse had no choice and was forced to take part in this unjustified attack and we believe it would now be appropriate if Her Majesty, as a horse-lover, could give this poor animal some posthumous recognition and the Government could make a sizeable donation to an equine charity.

We are also demanding that the cave where the atrocity occurred should be named a national monument and visitor centre to remind people that it must never happen again.

As part of today’s demonstrations, members of Friends of the Dragon will be chaining themselves to the Reptile House in London Zoo and will be picketing selected Chinese restaurants as a protest against the demeaning of dragons in oriental festivals and celebrations.

We will be joined in a candlelit vigil by leading members of the League of Misunderstood Fire-Eaters and by the honorary secretary of the Chameleon Owners Club of Great Britain.

Ever since St George callously attacked that defenceless beast we descendants of the maiden have never been given the chance to come to terms with that terrible event. As we demand compensation we are making it clear that our suffering is not a myth.


Posted by Drew458   United Kingdom  on 04/23/2008 at 06:25 AM   
Filed Under: • EditorialsHumor •  
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On St George’s Day, EU wipes England off map

By Robert Winnett, Deputy Political Editor
Last Updated: 1:58am BST 23/04/2008

The Manche region as mapped
by the EU:

England has been wiped off a map of Europe drawn up by Brussels bureaucrats as part of a scheme that the Tories claim threatens to undermine the country’s national identity.

The new European plan splits England into three zones that are joined with areas in other countries.

The “Manche” region covers part of southern England and northern France while the Atlantic region includes western parts of England, Portugal, Spain and Wales.

The North Sea region includes eastern England, Sweden, Denmark, the Netherlands and parts of Germany.

A copy of the map, which makes no reference to England or Britain, has even renamed the English Channel the “Channel Sea”.

Each zone will have a “transnational regional assembly”, although they will not have extensive powers. However, the zones are regarded as symbolically important by other countries.

German ministers claimed that the plan was about “underlying the goal of a united Europe” to “permanently overcome old borders” at a time when the “Constitution for Europe needs to regain momentum”.

The Tories are drawing attention to the plan today, St George’s Day. Eric Pickles, the shadow secretary of state for communities and local government, said: “We already knew that Gordon Brown had hoisted the white flag of surrender to the European constitution.

“Now the Labour government has been caught red-handed, conspiring with European bureaucrats to create a European super-state via the back door.”

The disclosure of the European map comes as a YouGov poll commissioned by The Daily Telegraph showed that one third of people want England to have its own parliament.

Twenty per cent want England to be an independent country and for Britain to be broken up.


Posted by Drew458   United Kingdom  on 04/23/2008 at 05:50 AM   
Filed Under: • InternationalOutrageous •  
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calendar   Tuesday - April 22, 2008

Michael Yon: Moment Of Truth In Iraq

You shall cross the barren desert, but you shall not die of thirst.

You shall wander far in safety though you do not know the way.

You shall speak your words in foreign lands and all will understand.

You shall see the face of God and live.

Be not afraid. I go before you always;

Come follow me, and I will give you rest.

From a prayer card I found on a base in Anbar Province Iraq

Baqubah Iraq, June 19, 2007: By the time you read these words, we will be in combat. Few ears have heard even rumors of this battle, and fewer still are the eyes that will see its full scope. Even now - for the battle has already begun for some - little news of it reaches home. I have known of the plans for a month, but have remained silent.

Thus opens Michael Yon’s new book, Moment of Truth In Iraq. Amazon is selling them; the book rocketed up their bestseller list to #8 in just a few days until it sold out. Not to worry, they’ll get more. I got mine today, so if you don’t hear much from me over the next few days you’ll know why. I’ve been following Yon’s posts - dispatches he calls them - from Iraq for several years now. Just like many of you have. This book does not appear to be a glue-up of his posts; it’s new writing.

From the jacket flap:

Brutalized by Saddam for decades, Iraqis hungered for strength entwined with justice and tempered by mercy. The American soldier delivered.
But Iraqis also discovered that these great warriors are even happier helping rebuild a clinic or a school or a neighborhood. They learned the American soldier is not only the most dangerous man in the world, but the best man too.

via BlackFive I learn that the NY Post has done a review of the book too, written by JR Michael, the milblogger from over at Mudville Gazette:

“We can win this war,” Yon declares. “And if we do it will be a victory of the same magnitude as the fall of the Soviet Union. It will not be a victory for the Republican Party. It will not be a victory for America and Great Britain and others ‘against’ Iraq. It will be a victory for freedom and justice. It will be a victory for Iraqis and for the world, and only then will it be a victory for us.”

I’ve got reading to do.


Posted by Drew458   United States  on 04/22/2008 at 03:03 PM   
Filed Under: • War-Stories •  
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Don’t tell me this is going to be a DAILY column!!

Arrgh, Pirates! Tuesday Edition

Now Somalia has joined the Get The Pirates game? But, but, how, since they usually ARE the pirates?  tongue wink

MOGADISHU, Somalia - Security forces in northern Somalia stormed a hijacked ship carrying food Tuesday, rescuing hostages and arresting seven pirates, officials said. The seizure was the latest in a spate of pirate attacks off the increasingly lawless Somali coast.

The Dubai-flagged ship, called the al-Khaleej, originated from the United Arab Emirates and was seized Monday, said Abdullahi Said Samatar, security affairs minister in Somalia’s semiautonomous Puntland region. It was not immediately clear how many people were on board. Puntland officials announced it had been seized only after the boat was rescued.

“Our forces rescued a small commercial boat hijacked on Monday off the coast of Bossaso town,” Samatar told The Associated Press. “Three were injured in the operation and seven others will be brought to justice.”

Piracy is rampant along Somalia’s 1,880-mile coast, which is the longest in Africa and near key shipping routes connecting the Red Sea with the Indian Ocean

Hmmm. A real rescue of a real hijacking, or just some Show ‘n Tell to get the UN off their backs? Because the UN is about to be on their backs - France and USA are pushing for a big anti-piracy resolution that would enable much stronger and swifter retaliations against pirates. Glad to hear this.

The push by key U.N. Security Council nations to tackle the issue follows an alarming increase in piracy by well-armed bandits, prompting international demands for better protection of the world’s shipping lanes.
According to a report from the International Maritime Bureau, piracy is on the rise, with seafarers suffering 49 attacks between January and March — up 20 percent from the period last year.

Pirates boarded 36 vessels and hijacked one, the report said. Seven crew members were taken hostage, six were kidnapped, three were killed and one went missing. Most of the attackers were heavily armed with guns or knives, the report said.

Nigeria ranked as the No. 1 trouble spot. India and the Gulf of Aden tied for second, with each reporting five incidents. Nearly two dozen piracy incidents were recorded off the coast of Somalia since January 2007, according to Andrew Mwangura of the Kenya-based Seafarers Assistance Program.

image imageThis is one of the pirates that Somalia is claiming to have captured. I like the rolled up pants leg ... it’s like he’s getting ready to have his wooden leg installed. Aarrgh that one, matey. (does anybody know what the shar’ia punishment for piracy is? One leg, one arm? How about one head, so they can’t even think about being repeat offenders?)


Posted by Drew458   United States  on 04/22/2008 at 09:52 AM   
Filed Under: • Pirates, aarrgh! •  
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calendar   Monday - April 21, 2008

Do it yourself and save!!

My car was badly in need of an oil change. The local shops want $29.95 plus tax for the job, and for that you get a no-name filter and some no-name oil, with the hope they match your proper viscosity. I used to do all my own car repairs but I got out of the habit. Sooner or later you get tired of the skinned knuckles, the ruined clothes, and the gritty dirt that gets ground right through your skin. So you pay somebody else if you can afford it. Well, I can’t afford it anymore. So I got out the tools - an adustable wrench and a rubber strap wrench, and did my own oil change.

For the same amount of money as the shops charge I was able to get a quality filter, a 5 quart jug of Mobil 1 Extended Performance synthetic oil, and a drain pan. And thanks to the internet I found the “easy” way to change my filter - jack the car up, turn the wheel to the left, take off the front passenger tire and pop out the plastic fender liner. Then I could reach right in and grab the filter. The only other way to get at the thing is to put the car up on a lift.

Total time - 1 hour. Oil spilled - 5 drops. I hardly even dirty. Amazing. I’ll take the old oil down to the gas station. And I’ll see if this synthetic oil stuff gets me any better mileage. Regular is going for $3.35 a gallon here, so suddenly I’m really interested in more efficient operation. Time to check the tire pressure too.

Next up is cleaning the EGR module and doing the brakes. Then it’s time to replace the oxygen sensors. That’s expensive, but they’re 12 years old now, and new ones are supposed to get you 15% better mpg. Plus they’ve been giving me those annoying Service Engine Soon engine codes, so I know it’s time to do that job.


Once a geek, always a geek. You don’t think I just went to the store, bought whatever, and slapped it on the car did you? Ok, actually I did. But then I did my research afterwards so I’ll know better next time.

Good luck trying to figure out what a “good” oil filter is these days. Just try and find the Multi-pass “Beta Ratios” and the result of all the other
kinds of certification tests they all claim to have passed. This is hard to do.  If you can find out who actually built the oil filter - and there seem to be only 6 or 7 companies worldwide that repackage them for everybody, AND you can research up the Beta Ratio, what you’ll
probably see is something like “2/20=21/37” which is nearly meaningless. If your engine is built to 0.001” tolerances, and most are built AT LEAST that close these days, then a 25 micron particle of dirt
can get jammed in that 0.001” gap. Give a little room for the oil film that sticks to the metal surfaces, and you should be looking for a Beta test that uses a particle half that size - 12 microns. Tolerances
of 0.0005” are not uncommon, which implies a filter that can stop 6 micron sized particles. So you would like to see test results using pretty small particles.

Actually catching the dirt would be nice too. Or most of it. A beta ratio of 2 means that only 50% of the dirt bits of the tested size or larger get caught, while a beta ratio of 10 means 90% get caught and a beta ratio of 20 = 95%.

So what the “2/20=21/37” data means is that the filter catches 50% (Beta value = 2) of particles 21 microns in diameter, and 95% (Beta Value = 20) 37 microns and larger. Well, isn’t that special? No,
not really, since the particles are too large and the capture percentage is too low. This data was from a premium filter too.  The one on my car is the size of an On The Rocks glass. When I was first driving an oil filter was almost the size of a 1lb coffee can (and you got a whole pound of coffee in that can too!).  Since the filter technology hasn’t changed very much in the past 30 years, these mini-filters can not last as long as the old big ones. One more reason you have to change your oil more often.Bottom line - most oil filters are crap.

I think my takeaway here is that cars are designed to wear out. Yet the big tractor trailer trucks last for millions of miles. A big part of it must be that they have multiple oil filters, because those engines
are made out of the same metals car engines are, and they use motor oil just the same way. And they’re all diesels, often with turbos, so they run at much higher pressures too, which ought to wear out
rings and valve seals faster. But even though they get run all day every day, and get hotter, they last 10 times as long. Better filtration. What else can it be?


Posted by Drew458   United States  on 04/21/2008 at 03:43 PM   
Filed Under: • Miscellaneous •  
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Zimbabwe - Chinese Arms Shipment Update

After several days of legal wrangling in South Africa, the courts there decided that it was Ok for the Chinese freighter to unload the cargo, but that is was not Ok for the cargo to be transhipped to Zimbabwe. Pretty slick legal hair-splitting I think. Faced with this decision, Captain Sunaijun upped anchor and took the ship An Yue Jiang towards Maputo, Mozambique. Protestors vowed to try and block offloading and shipment from there as well. I have also read that the court had decided not to allow the ship to unload. Mozambique would probably allow the arms to flow, as their leader Armando Guebuza is good buddies with Robert Mubabe. They were both young communists together back in their freedom fighter youth.

The 77 ton arms shipment is valued at $1.27 million, and contains 3 millions rounds of 7.62x39, 1500 RPGs, and several thousand mortar rounds with mortar tubes.

In addition to these 6 containers, the other 30 container aboard the ship are said to contain explosives for the mining industries in South Africa and Botswana. It is not known if any of these were offloaded in the SA port of Durban.

The An Yue Jiang may also be experiencing radio problems, as the ship’s transponder did not seem to be working Friday evening.

So we’ve got a small ship with no radio and a small crew slowly sailing up along the coast of Africa, with a cargo full of explosives and enough weaponry to start a small war. Gosh, I sure hope there aren’t any pirates along this piece of coastline.

RUMORED: “According to the South African Department of Transport, the An Yue Jiang is not going to Mozambique, but to Angola.” That’s on the west coast of Africa, so the ship would have to go around the horn. Delivering arms to Zimbabwe from Angola could be a problem, unless they were flown over.

imageHere’s a linked list of links:


Posted by Drew458   United States  on 04/21/2008 at 12:37 PM   
Filed Under: • Miscellaneous •  
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Can Barack Obama survive his remarks?

But maybe those voters would never have gone for Obama anyway - certainly not if they had studied his voting record in the Senate and fully taken in his plans to refashion the American economy on the European stagnation model.

By Janet Daley
Last Updated: 12:01am BST 21/04/2008

When I left America last week, it was looking very much like the end of the road for the Great Female Breakthrough: time had run out for the first woman whom people expected to reach the highest rung of US public life.

But then, of course, there was Hillary Clinton, who was still slugging away unbowed.

Barack Obama’s remaks have alienated, perhaps irrevocably, those known as ‘Reagan Democrats’

The woman whose career aspirations seemed to be definitively crashing was Katie Couric, the first female anchor of a network television evening news programme.

Her appointment as the face of CBS’s main nightly news had pushed the show’s ratings into freefall and the media, being as self-obsessed over there as over here, were almost as interested in the fact that Miss Couric had tanked as in Mrs Clinton’s chances of survival.

The two phenomena may have been unrelated, but somehow you felt that the one did not bode well for the other. In about 48 hours, we will know whether that other formidable female pioneer has gone down in flames.

The primary in Pennsylvania has got to be the last stand: not only has the state always been one where Mrs Clinton should, if she was to maintain any credibility at all, have had a strong win but it is now going to be a telling indication of how much damage has been done to Barack Obama by his disastrously misjudged comments about small-town, working-class Americans.

If you do not have the advantage of having been born and raised in America as I was - that is, if you are familiar only with British cultural assumptions - you may not fully appreciate why Mr Obama’s remarks caused the political earthquake that they did or why they have been subjected to even more detailed exegesis than his previous most important utterances after the Rev Jeremiah Wright debacle.

So bear with me while we look again at precisely what he said: “It’s not surprising that they get bitter, that they cling to guns, or religion, or antipathy to people who aren’t like them, or anti-immigrant sentiment, or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.”

In Britain, such sentiments about working-class people are expressed every day by politicians of all parties. They are the common currency of the patronising Left-wing snobbery that pours out of every orifice of the BBC.

Indeed, in the terms that Mr Obama gave to them, they would be seen as the kinder paternalistic version of the disdain that takes really visceral forms in more robustly contemptuous circles (for which organs such as the Guardian speak).

He clearly believed himself to be offering a sympathetic account of why Americans in (or out of) blue-collar jobs turned into gun-totin’, Bible-bashing, benighted bigots. And given that he was addressing what was supposed to be a closed fund-raising meeting in San Francisco, we must assume that he believed himself to be among friends who would all discuss the redneck issue with frank loathing: by their standards he was being pretty gentle.

Since the Sixties, when a diluted and incoherent Marxist ideology took hold of higher education, and university became a Left-liberal sheep-dip through which every middle-class professional had to pass, respectability in America has generally involved contempt for precisely the people Mr Obama characterised as being so ignorant that they could not even understand the causes of their economic disadvantage.

In her analysis of this farrago, the Wall Street Journal’s Peggy Noonan has written: “To rise in America is to turn left, unless you are very, very tough or protected by privilege of the financial or familial kind.”

In other words, if you are somebody who came up from poverty, you cannot afford to buck the intellectual hegemony of right-thinking people (which is to say, Left-thinking people).

So yes, the US has discovered bourgeois guilt. It now has an educated class that believes, in the face of all the comparative evidence, that Big Government and enforced wealth redistribution must be the answers to poverty and that the wealth that is created by free markets is somehow tainted.

To hold on to socially or economically conservative views in this climate is to risk appearing backward - common, vulgar and comically downmarket.

While there is certainly a flourishing intellectual movement of the Right in America, it still takes real nerve to risk any association with the opinions of those who (as the old redneck joke goes) think that a family reunion is a great place to meet girls.

But all that is unsayable in the official public discourse of American political life. Mr Obama, as we have noted, thought he was at a private meeting where he could talk the liberal lingua franca.

Unlike in Britain, where the opinions of ordinary people are held in pretty much open contempt, at least insofar as they do not conform to the acceptable limits of what might be called BBC received orthodoxy, in the US (which takes mass democracy very seriously indeed) they are treated with immense, electorally significant respect.

That is why Mr Obama’s remarks were jaw-dropping stuff in the course of a presidential election: no politician with serious ambitions ever, ever insults the great mass of small-town, working-class America.

It is regarded not only as the economic motor of the country but as its true heartland, not to say the starting point of the next generation of snotty educated professionals whose aspirations will take them away from their provincial roots.

What Mr Obama did was to alienate, perhaps irrevocably, the constituency known as “Reagan Democrats”, which is made up of much the same sort of voters who made it possible for Margaret Thatcher to win three election victories: working-class people who understood that their best interests were not served by Left-wing paternalism or class war but by the freeing up of economic opportunity.

But maybe those voters would never have gone for Obama anyway - certainly not if they had studied his voting record in the Senate and fully taken in his plans to refashion the American economy on the European stagnation model.

So is there a lesson for Britain in any of this? Maybe, maybe not. Certainly, ordinary people here are much more inured to being insulted and condescended to by their political class and even by their unelected bien pensant broadcasters, but that does not mean that they are incapable of the same outrage as their counterparts in America.

Are they going to find their voice and take their revenge? For the moment, it’s an open question.


Posted by Drew458   United Kingdom  on 04/21/2008 at 10:44 AM   
Filed Under: • EditorialsPolitics •  
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Your Weekly Arrgh, Pirates!

Here’s today’s news on the latest misadventures on the high seas. Once again TWICE again we’ve got pirates attacking ships off the coast of Somalia. One got away, one didn’t. I think I might have to make this a regular column; it seems we’ve got something here every single week. I think it might be time to involve the UN. Because you know how amazingly effective they are at solving international crises and bringing the weight of the free world to bear against rogue states and semi-organized groups of thugs. Sure, maybe I’ll live that long, right? In the meantime, this looks like a situation that could be cured by good old fashioned naval gunfire. Sink their ships, raze their villages, drumhead trials for any pirates captured, then hang them. Enough already. A huge amount of the world’s wealth sails past the coast of Somalia and the Gulf of Aden. And every country with a navy has ships in the area. It’s time for some multi-national cooperation and some pirate stomping. Arrgh.

An unidentified ship fired on a Japanese oil tanker Monday off the eastern coast of Yemen, leaving a hole from which hundreds of gallons of fuel leaked, the ship’s operator said. No one was injured. The 150,000-ton tanker Takayama was attacked about 270 miles off the coast of Aden in southwestern Yemen while it was heading for Saudi Arabia, its Japanese operator, Nippon Yusen K.K., said in a statement. None of its 23 crew members _ seven Japanese and 16 Filipinos _ was injured, the company said. The tanker had left the South Korean port of Ulsan on April 4. Nippon Yusen spokeswoman Yuko Tsutsui said the attack left a 1-inch hole in the tanker’s stern which was temporarily patched after hundreds of gallons of fuel leaked. She said the tanker was heading to Aden for repairs, and its itinerary could change depending on the extent of the damage.

Yukio Yamashita, a Transport Ministry official in charge of crisis management, said the area is considered prone to pirate attacks. He said the unknown attacker had left the scene.

Kyodo News agency said the tanker was hit by a rocket fired from a small boat.

We heard one big boom at first and then we were chased by the group for about an hour,” a crew member told Japanese public broadcaster NHK. “We were attacked on the left and the right sides of the ship at least four times.”

The attack occurred in international waters some 440 kilometres (275 miles) east of the Yemeni port of Aden, Japanese officials said.

“We have received information that the tanker was attacked by a small pirate ship with weapons like rocket launchers,” chief Japanese government spokesman Nobutaka Machimura told reporters.
The ship suffered small punctures and leaked a small amount of oil, said Shousuke Hamada, who manages the ship’s operations.

“The tanker felt a big boom at around 4:40am as it was attacked by some kind of firearms. After that, it was attacked on the portside and starboard, about twice on each side, while it made a zigzag escape,” Hamada told a news conference.

MADRID, Spain - Officials say a Spanish fishing boat with a crew of 26 has been hijacked off the coast of Somalia.  The Foreign Ministry says there are no reports of injuries in the seizure Sunday.  The ministry says in a statement issued Sunday night that a Spanish military vessel that was in the general area has been ordered to head toward the scene of the hijacking.

So we’ve got two attacks, and it’s only Monday. What if that rocket had actually gone off? (I’m guessing it was a dud. A 1” hole is not much damage, almost small enough to be caused by plain old bullets. But if the “rocket” (was this an RPG we’re talking about?) had exploded, then it’s likely this small tanker would have gone down in flames.) Is that what’s it’s going to take to focus enough attention on this plague to demand a solution?


Ok, THIS might be enough to get the powers-that-be to pay some attention:

this morning the 150,000-ton tanker Takayama was attacked about 270 miles off the east coast of Yemen while it was heading for Saudi Arabia causing oil to spike to a record $117.40 a barrel.


Posted by Drew458   United States  on 04/21/2008 at 10:35 AM   
Filed Under: • Pirates, aarrgh! •  
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Not that very many people ever read this far down, but this blog was the creation of Allan Kelly and his friend Vilmar. Vilmar moved on to his own blog some time ago, and Allan ran this place alone until his sudden and unexpected death partway through 2006. We all miss him. A lot. Even though he is gone this site will always still be more than a little bit his. We who are left to carry on the BMEWS tradition owe him a great debt of gratitude, and we hope to be able to pay that back by following his last advice to us all:
  1. Keep a firm grasp of Right and Wrong
  2. Stay involved with government on every level and don't let those bastards get away with a thing
  3. Use every legal means to defend yourself in the event of real internal trouble, and, most importantly:
  4. Keep talking to each other, whether here or elsewhere
It's been a long strange trip without you Skipper, but thanks for pointing us in the right direction and giving us a swift kick in the behind to get us going. Keep lookin' down on us, will ya? Thanks.


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Oh, and here's some kind of visitor flag counter thingy. Hey, all the cool blogs have one, so I should too. The Visitors Online thingy up at the top doesn't count anything, but it looks neat. It had better, since I paid actual money for it.
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