Sarah Palin is the reason compasses point North.

calendar   Monday - May 26, 2014

the essential garden tool you have to make yourself

If you play in the dirt, sooner or later you’re going to need one of these.

Separating the wheat from the chaff is child’s play compared to separating the dirt from the rocks. Until that little lightbulb goes off in your head and your brain says “hey, if we had a bit of really heavy duty screen, it would catch the rocks and the dirt would go on through.”

And you’ve just come up with the concept of a soil sifter.

Not mine. Too fancy pants a design for me.

One of a million instructional pages on how to make a soil sifter. Good grief. Come on. Whack together a wooden frame, then stick some steel mesh on it. Done. Instructions???? Please. But there are just as many different pictures of them out there, so Google a few of those to help focus your idea and your actual needs. Don’t forget: we’re sifting dirt here to get the rocks out, not mining for gold or diamonds. Do it cheap, do it quick, get back to work.

While the tool is little more than a bit of steel mesh stuck onto a simple wooden frame, everyone makes theirs differently. Some folks screw on handles. Some folks cut the long side boards way too long and carve handles into them. Some folks add some swing out legs to one end. Other folks size theirs to fit a wheelbarrow, some going as far as nailing on some extra boards as tabs to hold the sifter just so on the wheelbarrow.

Steel mesh? Yeah, the stuff used to be called Builder’s Cloth, but these days it’s called Hardware Cloth. It’s actually rebar screen, that gets used when masons build a sidewalk. You’ll find it in the concrete area of your local big box hardware store. Or else it will be over in the garden area, next to the chicken wire. But trust me, this stuff ain’t chicken wire. You want the 1/2” galvanized mesh, of as heavy a gauge (usually 18) as they sell. You don’t want plastic coated mesh. You don’t want 1/4” mesh right now, but you might want some of that later. The size of the roll for sale is going to limit the size of your finished sifter. You can get the stuff in 4’ wide rolls, often 50’ long. Big purchase. You can also get the stuff in 3’ wide rolls only 5’ long for $9. Ah ha, somebody at Big Box has her thinking cap on. Smart. Sell you $1 worth for $9 and you’re happy you didn’t have to spend $75 to get the big roll.

Mine is going to be made from 2x4, because that’s what’s out in the garage. 2x6 would be fine too, probably better, or even 1x4 for a lightweight bucket top sized model. If I have spare wood, I’ll put some pivoting legs on one end.

Ok, cut your boards and then nail your frame together. I’m using decking screws, because I have some and I know where they are. Angle irons for the corners? Sure, if you’ve got them. Cut the mesh about 2” wider than the outside measurements of the frame. Tin snips will cut the stuff. So will wire cutters. Genuine aviation snips will go through it like butter, but make sure you buy the heftier tool that can handle 18 gauge steel. Lay the mesh down on the garage floor or driveway, center your frame on it, and use a red Sharpie marker (or some duct tape) to mark off the little corners you have to nibble out so you can fold the mesh up around all 4 sides of the frame. Do that, fold up one of the long sides, then attach the mesh with some lineman’s staples or (best way) use a big bunch of short nails with really large heads. Like roofing nails. Galvanized steel ones are best, but use what you’ve got. Put the thing back on the garage floor mesh side down, kneel on it, and bend the other side up and tack it in place. This keeps the mesh tight, and by nailing it on from the side the nails will never pull out. Do the short ends too.

We had one of these sifters when I was a kid, and we put in a swimming pool on a slightly sloped yard. Much digging ensued. They work like magic. I like the kind of sifter with sturdy legs on one end, so I can stand it up like an easel and throw shovels full of dirt at it. And watch all the rocks and bits of gravel roll down the screen and pile up in the bottom.  If you do a set-top design to fit a wheelbarrow, a hefty Roughneck storage bin, or even a 5 gallon bucket, you’ll probably have to scoot the dirt around by hand a little to work it through. Or shake it about with the handles. Some folks make fancy frames with bungee cords and chains so they can make a sifting station where they can shake and wiggle their sifters like mad without fear of tipping the wheelbarrow. Nice, but a plain old pair of cheap work gloves works just as well. Great work for a smaller “helper” type person.

Oh yeah ... the 1/4” mesh.  If you’re really picky you don’t want any stone bits at all in your garden soil. So build yourself another sifter and use 1/4” mesh this time. Take the dirt you ran through the 1/2” sifter and work it through, and you’ll get out every last pebble, nail, and tiny twig. But don’t waste your time trying to throw raw dirt through this one. It will take you forever, and you’ll probably wind up wanting some kind of secure frame with chains and bungee cords and probably a motor with an eccentric drive rod to do the job. Much easier and cheaper just to have 2 sifters.

You also need a place to hide these things. You’ll only use them once or twice a season, maybe, and they last forever. Actually the uglier they are, the longer they last. So find other uses for them. Like a washing off platform for your entire crop of carrots. Be inventive!


Posted by Drew458   United States  on 05/26/2014 at 03:14 AM   
Filed Under: • Miscellaneous •  
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calendar   Sunday - May 25, 2014




Posted by Drew458   United States  on 05/25/2014 at 11:28 AM   
Filed Under: • CommiesDemocrats-Liberals-Moonbat Leftists •  
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calendar   Saturday - May 24, 2014

I may have found the perfect candidate

He Even Has Good Hair

Self-made businessman David Larsen is running for Congress here in New Jersey, entering in the primary in hopes of unseating incumbent “Republican” Leonard Lance. I’ve met the fellow twice now, he came around to my door doing his hustings. And we’re going down to his open meeting next week. I have to pinch myself to make sure I’m not dreaming.

Here he is, his platform as a Reagan Republican. Which is how he introduces himself. Oooh, be still my beating heart.

Dave Larsen on the Issues

Congressional candidate David Larsen doesn’t hesitate to explain where he stands on the issues. “A man is defined by how he keeps his word,” says Larsen. “If elected to Congress I will be asked to take the following oath of office: ‘I do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter: So help me God.’ I intend to uphold that oath every minute of every day that I am in office.”

PRO-LIFE: Protect the sanctity of innocent human life from conception to natural death.

FIREARMS: Protect the Second Amendment right to bear arms and defend our families and property. Promote our strong sporting heritage.

GOVERNMENT: The size and scope of the federal government ought to be reduced to those powers and responsibilities specifically enumerated in the Constitution and the federal budget reduced accordingly.

NATIONAL SECURITY: President Reagan correctly pointed out that no nation was ever attacked because it was too strong. One of the prime responsibilities of our government is to defend our nation.  At the same time, we must not sacrifice our Constitutional rights in the pursuit of greater security. David Larsen will work to make sure we maintain our military supremacy.  We must also remember and take care of those that fought and sacrificed on our behalf.  We must stand with those nations that stand with us and are aligned with our beliefs. We must not cede any aspect of our sovereignty to an outside entity.

CUT SPENDING: Over the years, numerous studies have been commissioned on how to cut wasteful spending and balance our budget.  Time after time, little or nothing is done after these commissions post their reports indicating ways to save billions of dollars.  The first place David Larsen will work to end wasteful government spending will be by pushing these cuts Congress already knows about. He will vigilantly oppose wasteful spending by both parties and work towards the enactment of a balanced budget amendment where taxes cannot be raised without the approval of a super majority in both chambers of Congress.

CREATE JOBS: David understands that government does not create productive jobs and subsidies do not drive innovation.  From the Victrola to Compact Discs to the iPhone, technological developments that improved our everyday lives came from individuals and companies that had an idea, took a risk, and worked to make their vision a reality. They did not come from a government bureaucrat deciding which products or industries should be favored over others. The United States did not become the greatest nation in history by adopting the kind of five year plans used by the old USSR. Today, regulations and mandates stifle innovation and drive jobs overseas.  Many of the shackles government has placed on the free market must be removed. This will unleash Americans’ natural creativity and industriousness. We must also allow the successful to reap what they sowed. Punitive taxation and rules that create artificial limits must end.  Once the business climate becomes more accommodating, the jobs will become more plentiful.

REFORM TAXES: David Larsen will fight for a just and simplified tax system that does not discourage innovation or encourage the government to gamble with American’s hard-earned money, but a policy that fuels productivity and fosters American Prosperity for All.

ENERGY INDEPENDENCE OPTIONS: Our nation has been blessed with abundant natural energy resources. Unfortunately, some who believe they know better have placed much of these resources off-limits. I believe all paths towards providing the energy we need must be facilitated. However, there should be no subsidies. The marketplace will determine which companies and businesses are viable and which are not, which are better, and what is the fair price for their goods and services.  Energy independence is essential to America’s future as an economic world leader and critical to its security. Exploring and utilizing our native resources will not only lead us to energy independence, but it will create many jobs directly and indirectly.  Additionally, our nation will benefit by reduced costs since there is an energy component to the price of virtually all things. Lastly, exploration on federal lands will produce a revenue stream via royalties that can be used to pay down our mounting debt.

REPEAL & DEFUND OBAMACARE: I strongly oppose any and all health care reforms that take away patients’ ability to make their own health care decisions and rob business of the ability to create jobs. If the U.S. Supreme Court upholds Obamacare in whole or in part, I will work to eliminate any vestige of it that exists in our tax code or regulations.

IMMIGRATION: Stop illegal immigration through enforcement of immigration laws and better control of our borders.

THE FEDERAL RESERVE: Since its creation, the Federal Reserve Bank has devalued the American dollar.  In recent years, the policy of Quantitative Easing has been used by the Fed to print trillions of extra dollars, creating an imminent threat of hyper-inflation.  This policy of government created inflation is a hidden tax on the American citizen, silently robbing Americans of their wealth by diminishing the value of their savings.  At the same time, the Fed has resisted all attempts by Congress to audit its books, in order that it be made accountable to the American people.  It is time to audit the Fed and, if necessary, to dissolve the Federal Reserve Bank and return the power of printing money to the Department of the Treasury, under the supervision of an elected Congress.

I embrace the governing principles that our Founding Fathers staked their lives, their fortune, and their sacred honor for so that we might live as a free people. Unlike today’s politicians, these were men of politics – as well as philosophers and visionaries. The limited federal government our Founders established created a civil society governed by the rule of law and unleashed, for the first time in history, the incredible potential of man through the mechanism of the Free Market.  Working with limited constraints, it took just over 150 years for Americans to create the greatest economic force in the world. Our explosive growth, fueled by technological innovation, raised the standard of living far beyond anything previously envisioned or experienced, anywhere.

But all of that has changed: in the past four years alone, the federal government has expanded the scope of its power, the size of its bureaucracy and the amount of its debt to levels that defy comprehension. Americans today are literally being regulated to death as business shut down and people lose their jobs.  Regulations and taxation are roadblocks that discourage the efforts of entrepreneurs and investors. They cause unnecessarily high costs for products and services leading to a slowdown in demand and, ultimately, lost jobs. Today we outsource our jobs…tomorrow we may end up outsourcing the future of the American workforce – our own children.

For most of our short history as a nation, we have enjoyed the benefits of a limited federal government. The American people were free to pursue life, liberty, and happiness as they, themselves, defined it.  Our economy flourished and our society was considerate.  It can be that way again. American history shows that there is no greater force for economic expansion than the absence of government interference.

He’s also in favor of term limits too. And English as our official language.  And marriage being a thing between a man and a woman. And in reasonable environmental rules but not at the expense of liberty. And a strong foreign policy supporting our traditional allies and friends. And having secure borders. And having a selective immigration policy, not the blind open door model we have these days. And in making efforts to get those recent immigrants to assimilate and become new Americans.

Oh, and he has the endorsement of plenty of big name Conservative groups and talking heads, from Gun Owners of America to The American Conservative Union to Michael Reagan and Conservative Talk Radio host Steve Malzberg to several Tea Party groups and PACs in the area.

Find out more ... David Larsen for Congress dot com.

It’s not that NJ doesn’t have real Republicans ... we just have trouble getting them elected. Steve Lonnagon was 10 times the Conservative that Chris Christie is. But he pretty much managed to get my vote, and my wife’s vote, and that’s about it. Larsen doesn’t seem to be bringing any of Teh Crazee to the table at all.

And Lennie Lance has got to go. For a “centrist Conservative” he seems to vote in lock step with Obama’s policies nearly all the time. RINO much?? chaa!!


Posted by Drew458   United States  on 05/24/2014 at 08:45 PM   
Filed Under: • RepublicansThe New Conservatives •  
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tired now

Digging and digging in the garden today and yesterday, trying to get these edgers in. Crivens, where the “soil” isn’t broken limestone, it’s roots. Does anyone live in a place where you can actually drive a shovel into the ground with your foot and lever up a whole scoop of dirt? That’s never been my experience. I grew up in Rockland County ... a very appropriately named place. There, you couldn’t push in a tent peg, much less a shovel blade, without hitting hard stone. At least here in my corner of NJ, I’m hitting junky broken limestone. Soft rock. You can bash your way through that. Mostly.

Alrighty then. The sun is playing hide ‘n seek with a few frisky rain clouds, so the weather is changing by the minute. Sun, rain, clouds, rain, sun, and around again. I’ve been out here with a shovel, a level, and a tube of stone glue long enough for one day. Time for a break and then I can go do my weekend job.


Posted by Drew458   United States  on 05/24/2014 at 02:10 PM   
Filed Under: • Miscellaneous •  
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calendar   Thursday - May 22, 2014


Typical Uighur Behavior

Multiple Bomb Terrorist Attack In China Kills At Least 31

At least 31 people have died and 90 have been injured in an attack on an open-air market in the capital of Xinjiang province in western China Thursday, the latest in a series of violent incidents that the Chinese government has blamed on radical Muslim separatists.

China’s state-run Xinhua News Agency said that the assailants plowed through crowds of shoppers in off-road vehicles and threw explosives out the window before crashing head-on in the attack in the city of Urumqi. The agency said one of the vehicles then exploded and quotes an eyewitness as saying there were up to a dozen blasts in all.

“I heard four or five explosions. I was very scared. I saw three or four people lying on the ground,” Fang Shaoying, the owner of a small supermarket located near the scene of the blast, told the Associated Press.

The Xinjiang regional government said in a statement that the early morning attack was “a serious violent terrorist incident of a particularly vile nature.”

It was not immediately clear who was responsible for the attack. Recent violence has been blamed on extremists seeking to overthrow Chinese rule in the region, which is home to the native Turkic-speaking Uighurs but has seen large inflows from China’s ethnic Han majority in recent decades.

The death toll was the highest for a violent incident in Xinjiang since dayslong riots in Urumqi in 2009 between Uighurs and Hans left almost 200 people dead. Thursday’s attack also was the bloodiest single act of violence in Xinjiang in recent history.

In Beijing, Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said the incident “lays bare again the anti-human, anti-social and anti-civilization nature of the violent terrorists and deserves the condemnation of the world community and the Chinese people.”

“The Chinese government is confident and capable of cracking down on violent terrorists. Their plots will never succeed,” Hong said.


Posted by Drew458   United States  on 05/22/2014 at 03:42 PM   
Filed Under: • War On Terror •  
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actress speaks her mind on Hollywood war movies, west shows itself in too much good light

A wee bit of mindless blather from an actress.
Well, you know. Out of the mouths of babes …

Not a whole lot, but her brief statement shows how little she knows and how young she is.

Actress Bernice Bejo (The Artist) is in Cannes and has said as follows.

“War film are too reliant on Westerners.”
She has accused Hollywood war films of “an over reliance on Western heroes always saving the day.” She continues with, “ In films on war, it’s always Westerners who save everybody else. It’s the Westerners who know.”
She doesn’t tell us exactly what the west knows but she must be blind to history since ’45. 

No, she isn’t from the middle east nor is she a muzzie.

I couldn’t help but wonder what sort of war films she wants Hollywood to make. If any.

She most likely supports games where nobody wins so nobody loses.

Bejo, was born in Argentina but now lives in France, said Westerners were invariably portrayed as the all-knowing heroes, parachuting in to save suffering communities.

She has now launched her latest film, The Search, in which she plays an EU representative sent to Chechnya during war.
It drew very bad reviews at Cannes this week and was even booed at its debut.

In a totally different story.

Germany complains and questions, and a father says the death of his son was due in part to American gun culture.
Sure thing pops.
Oh btw.  Any idea what your offspring was doing in someone’s garage?  Someone he never met and did not know. Home owner exercises gun control as he hits the target.

Apparently there’s some new fad I’ve just been made aware of. “Garage Hopping.”
One piece I read said that the kid (victim was 17) might have been looking for booze.

Here’s the article.  Can’t say I blame the home owner even if he did (as suggested) tempt a burglary by leaving his garage door open.  In my wild and flaming yoot, I passed by more than one open garage door and on occasion a few front doors that looked wide open.  But we were never tempted to peek inside another’s property without being invited.  We weren’t boy scouts by any means. But some things just were of no interest and criminal to boot.  Of course back then, nobody had any “rights” to be bothered about.

Montana man charged with homicide in teen shooting

By Associated Press

A western Montana man has been charged in the shooting death of a 17-year-old boy after prosecutors said he set a trap in his garage to catch any would-be burglars because he was frustrated over recent thefts.

Markus Kaarma, 29, of Missoula made an initial appearance in Justice Court on Monday but did not enter a plea to the count of felony deliberate homicide filed in the death of Diren Dede, an exchange student from Hamburg, Germany.

Kaarma’s attorney, Paul Ryan, said his client feels terrible about the death of the young man, but he was also was disappointed that the Missoula County attorney filed the charge.

Court records said Kaarma and his wife, Janelle Pflager, had set up sensors outside the garage, a video monitoring system in the garage and left the garage door open. Pflager said she put personal items that she had cataloged in a purse in the garage “so that they would take it.”
Early Sunday, the sensors went off, and Kaarma and Pflager looked at the video feed and saw that someone was in the garage.

Kaarma went outside with his shotgun. He told investigators he heard a noise that sounded like metal on metal, and he was afraid the intruder would come out and hurt him. He said he did not see anyone in the darkened garage and did not communicate with anyone before sweeping the garage with four shotgun blasts. Dede was struck in the head and arm and died at a Missoula hospital, court records said.



Posted by peiper   United Kingdom  on 05/22/2014 at 01:28 PM   
Filed Under: • Guns and Gun Control •  
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Mr. Sneaky Builds a Garden


Wall? What wall? That’s a plinth, not a wall.

Still waiting to hear back from the   Politburo   I mean condo park homeowner’s association landscape committee. I figure I’ll probably get an answer sometime next winter. So in the meantime, I’m going to build the garden in the pre-approved manner, using my wall stones as edger blocks and setting them in on their sides.

The main reason I wanted to build a low wall was to hold back a quarter ton or so of topsoil, which I’ll need to fill in the area that’s going to become a raised garden bed. But since I most likely won’t be allowed to build an 18” tall wall, the best I could hope for would be raising the lower end the length of one of the stones, which is 11.5”. And honestly, that’s probably enough to take out most of the slope and to give me a decent depth of soil.

But if I just set a few stones on end at ground level, they’ll topple over when I fill the area in. So I came up with a solution. I’m going to set those stones in just below ground level, but they’ll be glued together and glued to a flat plinth underneath. So I get 10.5” of raise, the plinth is invisible below the soil, and it carries 4"x33"x10.5" of soil, which is about 50lb. That adds even more mass to the 208lb unified block, and I’ll probably sneak a plinth under the next 3 uphill vertical edge stones too, and then glue them to the assemblage on at the corner. No way that will ever move, and the raised bed area will be almost 2 feet long at the deep end. After that the next 3 stones will just go on edge, but be a stair step up, then another step up for the next 3, etc., as I work my way uphill alongside the patio. It goes mostly flat then for about 9 feet, then the land goes steeply uphill. So my plan for that steep part calls for individual stones to take steps up. No plinths needed, just dig a hole and tamp a bit of gravel and sand level in the bottom of it.

I need to go buy more stones. It’s actually takes less stones to build a low wall than to set a line of them on edge, especially if I use 6 of them as plinths.


Plinth? What plinth? I don’t see no plinth.


Posted by Drew458   United States  on 05/22/2014 at 11:33 AM   
Filed Under: • Daily Life •  
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I got sidetracked by eye candy

Once ,,, In love,, with Amy ,,, Always in love,, with Amy

Til a few days ago I never saw her or read the name.  Now all of a sudden she’s visable three days in the paper and on line




Posted by peiper   United Kingdom  on 05/22/2014 at 10:01 AM   
Filed Under: • Eye-Candy •  
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calendar   Wednesday - May 21, 2014

America puts one away …. after a 15 year delay thanks to slobbering rights lawyers


That it took America to jail Hamza, damns our politicians, police and MI5

Hamza used London as a ‘safe haven’ in which to use ‘poisonous rhetoric’
Britain showed ‘failure to act’ in the late Nineties when he came to attention of authorities
Hundreds of young British Muslims since lured to their deaths in Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya

By Deborah Davies

So the Americans have finally done what the British intelligence services, police, courts and successive governments failed to do in 15 years — they’ve incarcerated Abu Hamza for good.

You can draw a direct line from Britain’s failure to act in the late Nineties, when he first came to the attention of the authorities, through to 52 deaths and more than 700 injuries in the London bombings in 2005.

In addition, hundreds of young British Muslims have been lured to their deaths in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and Syria by the warped, poisonous rhetoric of Hamza and others, who used London as a safe haven in which to preach, recruit and raise money.

It’s a shameful catalogue of inefficient policing, political blindness, legal weakness and limited intelligence — in every sense of that phrase.

Our security services appeared neither sharp enough to see what was going on nor willing to share what little they did glean.

Why on earth didn’t the police and intelligence agents simply open their ears and eyes to what was happening all over this country?


Britain’s shameful incompetence: Hook’s family CONTINUE to live off the State and have cost taxpayer £3m in upmarket housing and benefits… and we can’t expel his sidekick because of human rights laws

The hook-handed cleric is expected to die behind bars
Federal court in New York found him guilty of aiding the taking of hostages
Three Britons died in the Yemen attack 16 years ago
Hamza delivered sermons outside Finsbury Park mosque during the 1990s
Ex-DPP Lord Ken Macdonald said action should have been taken sooner

By James Slack

David Cameron and other politicians welcomed the fact that – 16 years after three Britons died in the Yemen attack – the hate-preacher had finally been brought to justice.

for more on the subject


Posted by peiper   United Kingdom  on 05/21/2014 at 12:57 PM   
Filed Under: • Daily LifeDIVERSITY BSmuslims •  
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jail break jamboree

Lock the barn door and be quick about it. The horses have just run off.

Not much in the way of breaks really. Just walked calmly away or didn’t return from their day off.

The Mail reported earlier today how prisoners with a history of escaping will no longer be placed in open prisons, after a violent convict dubbed the Scarborough Slasher went on the run from a minimum security jail.

Great system they have in place. Innit.  Killers on day release?  So now authorities say no more, things are to change. No more open prison for baddies who just can not keep a promise to come back to their prison. 

Total (so far) is five.

Two more dangerous convicts escape from open jail - the fourth breakout in two weeks - as police warn public to shut windows

Anthony Peloe had been in jail for possessing firearms with intent to harm
He and robber John Arnold absconded from Thorn Cross in Warrington
Prison officials discovered the pair were missing at 10.30am yesterday

It’s after Damien Burns and Dean Jackson fled jail in Doncaster on Monday
Earlier this week, a murderer who escaped from open prison was arrested

Arnold Pickering, 44, who stabbed blind man to death, found in Oldham

It comes a fortnight after Michael ‘Skull Cracker’ Wheatley also fled prison
He allegedly robbed a building society before being caught four days later

Justice Secretary has ordered ‘urgent’ changes to tighten up the system

By Mark Duell

Arnold Pickering, 44, who stabbed a blind man to death, was held for being unlawfully at large at an address in Oldham.

The killer was recaptured by Greater Manchester Police after failing to return to jail on Saturday afternoon.




Posted by peiper   United Kingdom  on 05/21/2014 at 12:03 PM   
Filed Under: • Daily Life •  
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sweden goes nuts …. another editorial from Pat Condell

The latest from Pat.

I guess he won’t be visiting this place any time soon. They’d arrest him.


Posted by peiper   United Kingdom  on 05/21/2014 at 10:43 AM   
Filed Under: • PAT CONDELL •  
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calendar   Tuesday - May 20, 2014

Driven, Then Driven Away

ZOOM ZOOM? No. But not PUTT PUTT either.

Come Spring, I said over the Winter, I’m getting me a new car. Boy howdy, I want that new Mazda 6. Sexy sexy sexy, and I can get it with a manual.

So today I finally get down to the Mazda dealer and try a few of their cars out. They managed to locate the one Mazda 6 on the lot with a manual transmission, and off we went for a test drive. Wow. My goodness. And never mind.

Coming from a long history of driving tiny little cars, the new generation mid-size Mazda 6 is roomy and smooth riding to us. The clutch is glass smooth, and the transmission shifts gears with all the difficulty of a warm spoon moving through melted butter. Flick, flick, flick, flick. You can barely feel it. This is the nicest manual I’ve ever played with. Gosh. It took me about 1/2 mile to get used to the car, and within a minute it was completely natural. It doesn’t ride or handle like a “big car”; the 6 stays fairly tight and firm, but not too deep into Official Sports Car Land, the way the VW Passats from the mid 2000s did. No, the 6 is comfortable first, sporty second. And it gets great gas mileage. Because it doesn’t have an engine.

No, seriously, it does actually have an engine. But the Mazda 6 is so large, and relatively so heavy, that even the 190hp 4 cylinder engine, which is whisper quiet and very smooth, is barely up to the task. I found myself bouncing the tachometer needle off the rev limited 6000rpm bumper repeatedly. Oh, the car moved along Ok I guess. But I was looking for some of that “Zoom Zoom” the company is based on, and the new Mazda 6 hasn’t got any. It’s a perfectly adequate engine and a well done one, and it helps this good sized car achieve mini-car mpg ratings, and it will be fine for 90% of the driving population looking for a mid-size family hauler that still has a bit of sexy style and some slight pretensions of driving elan.

For now though, I’ll pass. I want more than just slight pretensions of elan. I want medium pretensions. Drop the turbo charged 260hp 2.3 liter in here, or better yet make a practical 2.5 liter turbo tuned to about 300hp and 300 lb/ft of low end torque. Which is exactly what the HO diesel engine gives you, low end torque, but somehow Mazda can’t manage to get it’s little oil burner under the hood and across our borders. And don’t forget the stick. “Zoom zoom” becomes “swish swish” when you swap in the slushbox. Even worse would be killing your entire line by forcing CVTs down every throat, like Nissan is doing. Bad Nissan, bad bad bad. The last iteration of the Mazda 6 had a nice perky little V6 available, which was a much better engine than the lumpy iron boat anchor Ford V6 under the hood in 2003 the last time I took this model out for a drive. Heavier vehicles need more torque, period.

So, the Mazda 6 comes up short on the Goldilocks score of 0-60 times and tire smoking torque.  Short? No, it doesn’t even play that game. No porridge at all. But hey, they’ve got a smaller car, the Mazda 3, that comes with that same engine! And smaller usually means sportier, right, with greater amounts of Zoom Zoom-ery? So you’d think.

I had the salesman bring out a Mazda 3 with the 2.5 liter engine. It’s the same mill as they put in the Mazda 6, and it’s the “big engine” in the 3, the other option being a little 2.0 liter 4 banger. Phooey, I’ve been driving a 2.0 liter 4 banger in my Saturn since 1996. And even though the Mazda engine in this displacement makes 25hp more than my old mill, while pushing a bigger car around faster and getting better mpg ... I want the “zoom zoom”.  So off we go in the Mazda 3, with the 2.5 under the hood.

Funny thing. This iteration of the smaller Mazda was so optioned out that it cost more than the moderately optioned but far larger mid-sized Mazda 6. Both cars can push the price sticker into the upper $20s, very low $30s. Which means that a top end Mazda 3 has more swanky bits and gee-gaws than you can even notice. It was sweet. Black leather everything with red stitching. A backup camera on the rear license plate with ranging lines built in made going in reverse a simple joy. Blind spot monitors somehow can tell if you’ve got an idiot hanging out to either side. The sunroof retracts or slides back into the roof, but there’s still plenty of headroom. Shoulder room is at least 3 inches wider than in my Saturn or her Sentra. The power driver’s seat goes quickly from one adjustment to another, and I think it even has power lumbar adjustment. And of course lights, cup holders, and cubbies everywhere.

And then we come to the navigation / communication / entertainment control center. Actually, I’m not going to go there much, but I will say it took me about 20 seconds, no instructions, to learn that the joystick works almost exactly like the mouse on your PC. Flick it left or right to move across the icon groups, then push it in once to select that group. Within a couple seconds, you’ll be able to stream your own music into the stereo, take a phone call, see what your tire pressure or current MPG is, change from the CD playing to the AM radio, etc. It was dead nutz easy to use. Unfortunately, the display screen is begging you to break it. Seriously. It’s a nice size screen, I’m guessing 7-8”. It’s perched on the top of the dashboard, on it’s thin bottom edge, right over a little dent or niche exactly the same shape and size. It looks for all the world like it’s supposed to fold down, or even retract into a slot. You WANT to push it down, closing the thing like the lid on a cigar box. But it isn’t built that way. It doesn’t move at all.  Somewhere else, above the top of the gauge cluster, is a little plastic rectangle. It’s an HUD speedometer, a Heads Up Display like the gunsight on a fighter jet. It doesn’t seem to adjust either, neither by angle or by brightness. And this is the ONLY speedo ... so if you’re not looking at just the right angle, you can’t tell how fast you’re going. BAD BAD BAD BAD Mazda 3. Take 2 ASBOs and go sit in the corner. ( a well designed instrument cluster with analog gauges will put big solid high contrast needles on the tach and the speedo, so that when you’re busily involved in your own personal “zoom zoom” mode, you can tell your speed and RPM nearly by feel: you can read the gauges without having to look. You can not do this with this joke HUD speedo. Honestly, it’s gimcrackery. The one on my mom’s 1998 Pontiac reflects onto the back of the windshield, and is location and brightness adjustable. So this is not even close to new tech. It’s nearly 20 year old tech, so it’s utterly inexcusable to get it wrong here in the 2nd decade of the 21st Century.

Yeah, but what about driving the damn thing Drewwww?? Alright, fine. The new Mazda 3 with the 2.5 engine rides smooth, corners with amazing flatness, seems to be glued to the road even though it has a much higher center of gravity than the smaller cars we’re driving ... and that 190hp engine provides almost all the motive power and torque any normal person will ever use. It goes just fine, thank you very much. It goes pretty damn good actually. Another 25hp and it would actually be fast. And that’s with the automatic transmission, which not only has a manual shift mode, it also has a “sport mode” button, which does something. Not sure what, but it does something. And ... but ... you CAN’T get a manual transmission in the Mazda 3 with the 2.5 engine. Not. For. Sale. W.T.F.??? Seriously, it simply isn’t available. The 2012 had it, the current Mazda 6 has it, it’s a wonderful combination ... and YOU CAN’T GET THERE FROM HERE.

Real bottom line: if you want “ZOOM ZOOM” in the new Mazda 3 look elsewhere, or wait for the HO diesel or the Mazdaspeed turbo to arrive ... some year. If you want “Zoom Zoom” you’re SOL. The automatic is really nice, very tight, and shifts on command, but it’s still a hydraulic pump. The best it will give you is “Zoom zoom”. The manual transmission in the Mazda 3 with the smaller engine, or any engine/transmission combination at all in the Mazda 6 won’t even get you “zoom zoom”. 

Mazda has built themselves two sexy, beautiful, snappy handling cars (oh, did I mention that both models have awesome brakes and seem to stop on half a dime?), both with a smooth ride, plenty of space, nifty options, a sense of being very well made ... and pretty small balls. The Mazda 3 needs 200hp and a manual trans, the Mazda 6 needs 250 and any trans. That would make them worthy of the “Zoom Zoom” slogan the company built it’s name on. If either car was equipped with a manual and the HO diesel, both would become racing tanks. TOOORQUE! shift, TOOOORQUE! shift, TOOORQUE! shift, etc. Imagine that: two sports cars where you don’t want the gas engines. Alas, that engine isn’t coming here this year, in any Mazda vehicle.

Most people will never notice the lack of power, because most people are garden slugs, especially behind the wheel. They wouldn’t know what a fun driving experience was if you told them. The ones with money buy BMWs with 300+hp engines (and automatic transmissions), then drive around at 10 under all the time. The ones with less money probably don’t buy cars at all, sporty or not. SUVs and mommyvans, and that suits them just fine.

But I want to enjoy driving, and I don’t have the cash to buy a BMW or an Audi.


Posted by Drew458   United States  on 05/20/2014 at 08:27 PM   
Filed Under: • planes, trains, tanks, ships, machines, automobiles •  
Comments (6) Trackbacks(0)  Permalink •  

I found them!

Wonder where all the missing unemployed folks have gone? I found them! They’re all on disability these days!

CNS NEWS: Nearly 11 Million on Disability Benefits

The total number of disability beneficiaries in the United States rose from 10,981,423 in March to 10,996,447 in April, setting a new all-time record, according to newly released data from the Social Security Administration.

The number of Americans receiving disability benefits continues to exceed the populations of Greece, Tunisia and Portugal, and is approaching the population of Cuba, which according to the CIA World Factbook is 11,047,251.

The 10,996,447 total disability beneficiaries includes 8,942,232 disabled workers, 153,475 spouses of disabled workers, and 1,900,740 children of disabled workers.

None of those individual categories of beneficiaries set a record in April, but the combination of all three was the highest it has ever been in the history of the disability program.

The number of disabled workers peaked at 8,942,584 in December—with 352 more workers receiving disability than in April.


This is completely unexpected! [/sarc]


Posted by Drew458   United States  on 05/20/2014 at 04:08 PM   
Filed Under: • Economics •  
Comments (3) Trackbacks(0)  Permalink •  

strictly speaking, not eye candy but nice person. which counts a lot.

From time to time I think we all say something that may well be true, but that can be hurtful to someone innocent or undeserving of our negative comment. Things just happen.  Sometimes a comment is blurted out without any thinking.  It just happens.

And so it happens that a sportscaster, tired and he says, not feeling well on a long shift, blurted the opinion that a tennis player he was watching on the court would, in his words,

“Never be a looker.”

It happened last year, and of course his remark “sparked outrage.” Wish I had a buck for every time I have seen that tired and overused phrase in the papers or heard on air in newscasts.  There is always a person or group of persons who are, “outraged.”
Just pick a card, any card.  Or any subject, and someone will be, “outraged.” There are millions of ppl out there, all waiting in line to be, “outraged.”

So our sportscaster, John Inverdale , was accused and pilloried for committing the politically incorrect sin of making, a Sexist remark.  I suppose if the subject of his accurate observation were black . Or black and a lesbo too. OMG! Total criminal act.
Fined, fired and maybe jailed?

She will never be a looker is, sexist?

This all happened a year ago. Why is it in the news again?
Because he did an interview with Radio Times and was asked and so he told the interviewer, his lapse was due to the pollen count. He had terrible hay fever and just wasn’t thinking. He was he said, filling time on air.  There was no script or anything written down.  I guess he didn’t want to commit the sin of dead air.  Something I can well relate to coming from a radio career.

So then … lets take a look at the unfortunate young lady.

Marion Bartoli


Not too flattering, wouldn’t ya say?

So to be fair, with hair down and a bit of makeup, she doesn’t look too bad.  She just won’t be any competition for Hollywood ‘A’ list beauties.  Bet she’s a nice person tho.



Posted by peiper   United Kingdom  on 05/20/2014 at 05:30 AM   
Filed Under: • Miscellaneous •  
Comments (2) Trackbacks(0)  Permalink •  
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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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GNU Terry Pratchett

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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