Thursday, November 29, 2007

Project Truck Update: 30 November 2007

Not a very big update right now.

One of the things that I really like about this truck is the suspension setup. It's very similar to some of the Mini-Baja cars we used to build in Tulane Engineering. Here are a couple of cool photos from '02-'03 cars:

The truck uses double A-arms in the front and a trailing arm suspension in the rear. The whole setup is accessible, simple, and I am extremely familiar with it.

One of the previous owners decided to lower the front end of the truck. He didn't do it the proper way by installing new spindles and shocks and whatnot. He just loosened the torsion bar all the way out.

Anyway, since I'm not doing any drag races just yet, I want the ride height to be normal. I just tightened this nut (with liberal amounts of elbow grease) and voila:

As a reminder, here's the before:

Speaking of Project Cars, Jalopnik just posted The greatest Project Car Hell ever. Project Car Hell (PCH) is where they pick out a junker that you must spend the rest of your life restoring. Happily. Reminds me of this Mechanical Engineer's project. Ah, the joys of Mechanical Engineering.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Energy News

The Dirty Green Energy Solution. This isn't pie in the sky stuff. It's a very simple, down to earth solution to reduce our energy demand, reduce our dependence on imported oil, and save the environment. The industry terms for what they talk about are CoGen and WHRU's. I've had some exposure to them at work and they work extremely well if you set them up right. The biggest thing holding them back is high initial costs (defrayed by later savings, though) and energy regulations. You might say, well, give tax incentives and deregulate, but remember Enron was a child of the deregulation movement. You've got to be careful how you do it.

Bloggers visit Shell Brutus TLP. I'm absolutely shocked they didn't comment on the food. They did comment on the safety program, which is impressive. Every morning, there is a meeting about safety. The first thing people do is read off all the observed safety issues (usually not wearing proper PPE). Violators are never punished and reporters are always recognized. Those incident reports (near misses, etc.) are fed back to the training facilities who then emphasize whatever seems to be lacking. And then it's time for breakfast. Did I mention the food is really good?

Cheney on the economy. What I found interesting: The budget guys pushed back: Can't we wait until crude prices level off? No, the word came back from Cheney, this was urgent. That was all it took. "He doesn't weigh in on a ton of issues," said a person close to those negotiations. "But when he does... SPR has been the one thing the current administration hasn't played politics with and I applaud them for boosting capacity and installing some very competent people at the top.

Robert Hirsch lays out various oil production scenarios [PDF] Gives you an idea where oil production might head.

Financial News of Note

Countrywide gets $50 Billion bailout from the taxpayers via cash advances on transactions with the Federal Loan Bank. From what Krugman is saying, it seems like a quasi-governmental institution is fronting Countrywide cash on future transactions, which, while not quite a bailout, is almost certain to blow up in taxpayer's faces. One things for sure, though, the subprime mess isn't going away anytime soon. The few companies that saw the subprime debacle coming, are reaping handsome rewards. 1,000% ROI. Hedging against subprimes is now the most profitable single trade of all time. Oh yeah, and remember kidies, you can't call talk about the probability of a recession. You've got to talk about kumquats

New Orleans' top 10 most powerful people and Fortune's 25 Most Powerful People in Business. Some of the bios are way too kind on the executives. For example, Wal-Mart is about to head down the shitter because their entire business model (the "warehouse on wheels") is based off cheap diesel fuel. That's going to kill Wal-Mart, not bad PR for employing slave cheap labor.

Oh yeah, speaking of companies in trouble for outdated business models, Vista, what was supposed to be Microsoft's breadwinner for earnings for the next 40 quarters just got rated as one of the 10 worst tech products of all time. Look who else made the list. Ouch.

If the US was populated with nothing but Macroeconomics professors, this would be the trial of the century.

Tidewater staying in New Orleans. They can say whatever they want, but the real reason they're sticking around is bulk cargo, which depends heavily on a combination of barges, the Intracoastal Waterway, and specialized loading/unloading facilities, is booming big time and guess where the biggest bulk cargo port in the world is.

Time to end the Petrodollar? "The dollar is like the Microsoft Windows of the oil world," said Tertzakian - Now that's a quote that doesn't inspire much confidence! Uncoupling oil from the dollar could infect the rest of the economy like the subprime debacle has.

Warren Buffet calls for return of Estate Tax. Tax my heirs! "Dynastic wealth, the enemy of a meritocracy, is on the rise. Equality of opportunity has been on the decline. A progressive and meaningful estate tax is needed to curb the movement of a democracy toward plutocracy." Is that Warren Buffet talking or Che Guevara? It's actually sort of sad that things have gotten so bad that even the filthy rich are starting to complain about the rich/poor gap.

Naomi Klein lays out how to vaccinate against the Shock Doctrine. Her book in next on my reading list. Right now I'm still working on "The Smartest Guys in the Room" and "The Black Swan."

RIAA continues to sue college students, except at Harvard. Afraid of their big, bad checkbooks? Don't worry, RIAA. Harvard would never make that bad an investment. H/T to Instapundit.

Retire on minimum wage. Actually. Pretty interesting story, except for the ending. A lot of economists say that remittances have done more to alleviate poverty in developing nations than all the foreign aid and World Bank programs combined.

Rich citizens can't escape our poor public infrastructure. Don't enjoy that $25,000 desert too much: if you're lucky, it's full of salt because the cooks only know how to follow directions, not innovate. If you're unlucky it's full of roach droppings because the cooks are too poor to care about cleaning the kitchen.

2008's biggest trend: Washington Insiders vs. Outsiders

One of the things that's been intriguing to me is how, despite the initial media reaction of lumping candidates into "tiers" and dissing the minor candidates, there's been a widespread disgust with the early frontrunners and it goes well beyond that. There's widespread revulsion with the entire political structure. This is a sentiment that comes and goes in politics, but it's incredibly strong now, bordering on violent in some circles.

The most interesting thing in 2008 won't be Democrats vs. Republicans; it will be Insiders vs. Outsiders.

By my reconing, here's how I'm lining everyone up:

* Hillary
* Giuliani (BFF with Roger Ailes)
* Fred Thompson

* Edwards
* Bloomberg (The odds on a Bloomberg run are getting better)
* Ron Paul
* Huckabee (His recent surge in the polls is evidence of the disgust of the base with the babykilling Yankee and the Mormon)

Stradlers: (either they've got one foot in both camps or I don't know where to stick 'em at this point)
* Obama
* McCain
* Mitt Romney

The tension between the Insider camp and the Outsider camp is closer to the surface than ever before. You can see it in their eyes. I especially notice Edwards whenever Hillary speaking; he's practically mouthing, 'you crooked little bastard...' He hates Hillary and it shows. The Ron Pauller celebrate Guy Fawkes day and speak of the Ron Paul Revolution. Even Matt Taibbi thinks Huckabee's heart is with the little guy and against the big corporate interests (there's just that little bit about his brain being on Pluto).

Bloomberg could spawn a new party and/or kill of one of the current parties. I think lots of Democrats would bolt from their party if given a genuine choice. A lot of Republicans had their party leave them and the ones that are left might go if Giuliani is the nominee.

I think the only way for an Insider to win would be more turbulent international times (calling for someone with experience) coupled with a split of the Outsider vote (say, Thompson running against Edwards AND Bloomberg).

Time will tell...

Oh yeah, here's an actual ad Huckabee is running. Too funny not to post:

"Chuck Norris doesn't endorse; he tells America how it's going to be!"

Monday, November 26, 2007

Tom Friedman is dead to me

Obama/Cheney '08?

That's it. I'm sick and tired of putting up for this schmuck. I've defended him way too long. I've been a huge fan of his since "From Beiruit to Jeruselum" and have tolerated his delusions and bullshit for a while. I thought his earlier genius and economic insights would reemerge, but I've now come to the conclusion that he's lobotomized himself.

I remember reading that he was one of the highest paid journalists in the biz. To think that the Mainstream media pays him to live in a palace, while much better writers like Taibbi and Dave Zirin struggle to get their work out there.

Please, NY Times! Put him back behind the pay wall so nobody will read this junk anymore!

I'll let 23/6 handle the rest for me...

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Candidates that care about New Orleans

Ashley posts:
The candidates who endorsed NOLA for a debate were: Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, John Edwards, Chris Dodd, Joe Biden, John McCain and Sam Brownback.

Kucinich is notable by his absence.

If you don't vote for one of the seven (six, now that Brownback dropped out) on that list, then just move. New Orleans is all that matters. Yes, I am a single-button-issue voter, and New Orleans is that issue.

I still think that the only one of those seven that really cares about New Orleans is John Edwards. The other 5 are trying not to piss us off.

I've been thinking this over and there's a lot of truth to what Ashley said, but there's someone he's forgetting about.

Imagine this scenario:

The primaries are winding down. Democrats are disgusted that Hillary was able to win a plurality, despite a major anti-Hillary sentiment. Republicans hate their candidate because it's either the Mormon or the baby-killing homo-lover. Both sides will have a hunger for someone else. Both candidates will be exhausted after debasing themselves to the base.

And then, a major independent candidate comes out...

Imagine the media frenzy. This article got me thinking... what if that candidate was Al Gore.

Don't get me wrong, I've thought anyone who suggested a Gore '08 run was nuts. I thought there was no way in hell he'd do it. The process is too degrading and he's never going to put himself through it again. But then, that's the beauty of waiting. He gets past the never ending barrages of stupid bullshit like the candidate's laugh. He enters shortly before the election hot and ready to rock. He lost 2000 as much as Bush won/stole 2000. Had he run a better campaign, Florida wouldn't have mattered. He still holds the record for most votes for a Democrat. Don't forget he was also a great fundraiser.

I think waiting until just before the election and running as an independent when both parties are disgusted with their candidate, especially with the right running mate, could be the greatest political coup since the formation of political parties in the 1790's.

Oh yeah, lest we forget, he's a major friend of New Orleans:

Al Gore's Katrina Speech.

Just throwing some food for thought out there...

NOTE- Fixed a link.

The iPhone doesn't take the place of your brain

From Planebuzz:
"Oh joy! I can't wait for the next ground delay or long taxi due to weather somewhere to get a smart ass with a freakin I-phone shoving it in my face saying "It's NOT raining there... SEE !" Too late ... already happened to me. We push back, get advised of a ground stop in MEM due to storms in the area. Go to the penalty box and wait. My Captain does the lecture over the PA... not one minute later, we get dinged from the F/A "Some guy with an IPhone says the weather is good, and wants to know what the real reason is for the delay. Is something wrong with the plane?"

I want to tell this clown what he can do with his IdiotPhone - but the Captain does it even better. He gets on the PA and makes the following announcement :

"If the passenger with the IPhone would be kind enough to use it to check the weather at our alternate, calculate our fuel burn due to being rerouted around the storms, call the dispatcher to arrange our release, and then make a phone call to the nearest Air Traffic Control center to arrange our timely departure amongst the other aircraft carrying passengers with IPhones, then we will be more than happy to depart. Please ring your call button to advise the Flight Attendant and your fellow passengers when you deem it ready and responsible for this multi-million dollar aircraft and its passengers to safely leave."

Needless to say, the pax was pretty embarrassed. The F/A later told us the rest of the plane was outright laughing at this dude. What a clown."

Brief Announcement

I just watched 2 girls 1 cup and whatever is left of my childhood innocence is now officially dead.

Carry on.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Restaurant Review: Takumi

Takumi just opened tonight and Candice and I went. The food was excellent. I highly recommend it.

Takumi is on the corner of Washington and Magazine in the building that used to house Table One. The chef is Yuske (sp?), who started Little Tokyo's on Causeway. That was where I first started eating sushi, so it's close to my heart.

The entrees are a bit pricey (high 20's mostly). The sushi is quite reasonable, though. Cheaper than Sake Cafe (next door).

The place is quite fancy. I felt a little guilty wearing just a T-shirt. They definitely strove for elegance. It was great for us, because when we got there, we had the whole place to ourselves.

The first thing they brought out was miso gumbo. Quite interesting. I liked it. It's spicy and has oysters, crab, and shrimp. Oddly enough, the okra and miso complement each other quite nicely.

One recommendation I have for y'all if you go there: try the rice paper sushi. Imagine a spring roll, with sushi inside, dipped in peanut sauce. INCREDIBLE!!!

If I had to summarize, I'd New Orleans now has a fancy Japanese restaurant and Sake Cafe's days are numbered.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Project Truck Update

I'm actually standing on the ground. I'm not cheating by standing on a frame rail

The truck is coming along nicely (at least the mechanical portions).

One of the things that's been bugging me is the water pump. It's been more of a waterfall generator than a water pump, so I've really wanted to change it out. It broke under the previous owners and it happened in an unusual manner. I finally figured out how.

Notice how one of the fan blades is missing. That missing fan blade caused a slight wobble that, over time, tore the bearings in the water pump to shreds. I also noticed two gashes in the inside of the engine and I now know they came from that fan blade. The fan blade went flying while the engine was running!!! Thank God for whoever had the truck at the time the hood was closed. Part of the fan blade even cut the wiring harness going to the headlights.

Anyway, this is what the engine looks like now:

Just for comparison, here's what the engine looked like when I first got it:

The electrical is turning out to be a long, slow, frustrating process. My neighbor isn't helping things by leaving a severed deer's head in the bed of his pickup truck. The smell makes it impossible to get much work done.

Also, I made Stovebolt!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007 Video

Watch it before it's taken down.

My favorite quote from that article:

"I told them, yes, we'd take it down, but our Webmaster is 17 years old and is on a field trip and out of town,"

Monday, November 12, 2007

Democrats in '08

So, I've been mulling over the Democrats and '08. Since I've made a few comments about some Republicans, I need to give the Democrats some love.

First off, Mary Landrieu is coming up for reelection in '08. All in all, she's been the been an excellent representative for the Pelican state and deserves to be overwhelmingly reelected.

Second off, I've been thinking about the presidential candidates. Hillary I respect, but don't like. That respect is slowly eroding, though. More and more, I'm starting to think of her as "change in name only." Or, to put in in more vulgar terms, Bush with a vagina.

I remarked a while ago that Obama sort of reminds me of FDR. He also has a track record for being on the right side before it was politically expedient (case #1: Iraq) [The cynic in me says that's an Al Gore-like trait that will almost assuredly condemn him to defeat]. He is also a great orator, which scores some serious points with me.

I like Edwards when he ran in '04 and was reluctant to take a second look at him in '08, because I wanted to just start from scratch. I remembered thinking a long time ago, 'Oh my God, I'm going to have to vote for him?!?!? [Kerry].' Anyway, I changed my mind after watching this video:

NOTE-It's about 20 minutes long. Edwards starts getting into the meat around 6:30 into the video. Skip the beginning.

Discussion on Kos. Wow. Just wow. Big brass balls. He pours his heart out and practically breaks into tears as he lays it all out. Edwards got some mad props from another local blogger... UPDATE- Make that two.

Both Edwards and Obama have given some kick ass speeches coinciding with Hillary shooting herself in the foot. Yeah for the return of oration and the rise of real change! We'll see how this works out...

Friday, November 9, 2007


I'm going to rip off The eXile and publish a few nasty comments I got with some (deserved) skewering.

Iknow it's popular among some folks to describe Jordan as a "convicted racist," but that's wrong, if for no other reason than the implication that racism is a criminal offense for which one can stand trial. [You are correct. Unfortunately, stupidity is also in the same category.] It's also wrong because if he'd had such irate opposition to the presence of white people, he'd have fired the white folks on his legal staff, but he didn't.

Well Jarvis is he or is he (jordan) not a convicted racist.
[Actually, I've always written that Jordan tried to turn the DA's office into a political patronage position to benefit his mentor, $Bill, but I guess that's too complicated for you and your buddy Jarvis. I thought that Times-Picayune was supposed to be written for 8th graders, but now I realize that's too high a standard for the likes of you.] I guess its hard to admit that your friend is a racist when you think so much like him. [OH NO! Someone else besides Jay Arena knows our secret!] Your true colors were shown in this article now everyone else knows your a racist too. [And now, everyone knows what a dumbass you are.]

If Jordan wasn't a racist and Incompetent why did he resign. I'm sure your next racist article will try to spin it.
[Actually, now that he's done the honorable thing and fallen on his sword, I was going to give him a break, but I might have to go to his house and take a dump on his front porch just for you...]


Royal Alexander hearts Pedophiles
Royal Alexander didn't cover up a damn thing for Mark Foley. It was Royal Alexander and Congressman Rodney Alexander who finally put a stop to it. [Ah yes, he learned about it in 2005 and he had a secret plan to take out Mark Foley 47 Ronin-Style. The plan was still underway when those damned liberal media broke the story! 'Damn you, hippies! You ruined my plan to take over the world protect the cute bouncing buns of little boys!] You haven't a clue what you are talking about. the behavior had been going on for ten years prior to Royal's arrival. [Actually, probably a lot longer than that...] Royal notified the house leadership on four seperate ocassions. the only thing you said that is correct is that Buddy Caldwell has a hard on for Edwin Edwards. [At least he doesn't cover the tracks of people with hard ons for little boys.] I will add that he is slightly harder for Eddie Jordan, about whose extraordinary incompetence Caldwell "doesn't know". [Umm, this might sound hard to believe, but Louisianaians outside of New Orleans don't believe the entire state revolves around the Crescent City...]

Royal could make this whole thing disappear by making all his email and correspondence public, but there's no way in hell he's doing that. He wants this incident to disappear from the public consciousness. He's lucky in that Buddy Caldwell seems to be giving him some slack on that front. From every poll I've seen, he can afford to because he's got a pretty hefty lead. Also, it's a good thing he doesn't have many "friends" like you throwing rocks into hornets nest about episodes he's rather not talk about. Do you really think he wants to be answering questions about what he did or didn't do relative to Mark Foley? No way in hell.


I allow anonymous comments, but some people are abusing the privilege. Keep it up fuckers and I'll start posting IP addresses and fingering the guilty parties...

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Vitter back in the news

It looks like Wendy is going to bare it all in the next Hustler.

Here's the weird part: Vitter thought David Treen was out to get him. Vitter was so paranoid he'd be caught that he didn't allow the hooker to use any scents/oils/lotions and he kept his used condoms! EEEEEWWWW! If you are that paranoid, why were you calling the DC madam from your cell phone, dumbass!

I guess I'll have to buy the next issue of Hustler to find out the rest of the story. I promise I'll only read the words and will black out the photos... Great job at elevating the level of political discourse! You're doing wonders for the state's reputation!

How many days until Jindal takes office so we can be rid of this pervert?



"Small penis. VERY small penis."


UPDATE 2- Poor Vitter just got subpoenaed. Pobrecito. Just don't perjure yourself, whatever you do.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Odds and Ends - Guy Fawkes Day

She used to boink Tom Brady, now she's concerned about the falling dollar. Who knew Gisele Bundchen kept up on economics?

Do you know how Oil started? The early history of oil, ending with Col. Drake's well.

You know what, I rip on insurance companies a fair amount, but every once and a while, you have to feel a twinge sorry for them: Flaming Squirrel Torches Jersey Woman's Car. This insurance claim will go down with "car totaled by falling whale:"

Meet the new chief of Chevron's New Orleans operations. Chevron is putting all of its nickels into Gulf of Mexico Exploration and Production, so she's an important figure.

Oil worker squeeze could lead to supply shortage. Yipee for me. Not so much for just about everyone else.

50 Ideas to Save the Earth (PDF) Some are pretty nifty. Pretty well-rounded article covering a lot of different bases.

Army Corps of Engineers warns of impending dam collapse. The cynic in me says, "Aha, so that's how they're going to pacify Iraq. Worked in New Orleans!"

One in three Lotto winners broke in 5 years. The moral of the story? If you're bad with money you're going to be broke. Even if you win the lottery.

Truckers angry over diesel costs. When a truckers are saying to each other over their CB's, "George Bush is going to go down in history as the president who destroyed America,” you know things are getting bad for Bushie.

Down the Street: New Orleans Chevy Impala. The story behind the French Quarter rust bucket.

No more gasoline leak!

Shortly after I got my '62 Chevy, I tried to gas 'er up. As I'm filling the gas tank up, I look down to see a puddle of gasoline around my feet. Needless to say, this quickly became a top priority to fix. Oh yeah, and I have a new steering wheel:

The old one was a tiny one off a Maserati that looked bad and made the truck almost impossible to turn. It will soon reside on Candice's wall.

Anyway, back to the gas tank. First thing we did was rip out the bench seat:

Once we did that, I found the culprit:

The fuel hose that connects the tank with the filling cap was dry rotted. Gasoline flowing down the tube would flow around the tank and into the cab. From there, the fix was pretty straightforward.

Oh yeah, and if you're curious on what's inside your gas tank, here's a photo:

There was also a paint stirring stick in there. Don't ask me why.

Next week will be replacing the water pump, replacing a burnt out headlight, working on the electrical system, and (assuming I get all of the above done) trying to get a brake tag. Wish me luck on that last one.

UPDATE- Oh yeah, one other thing. It's amazing how much space you have on these old trucks. Also, you need remarkably few tools. All you need is a good socket set, some screwdrivers, and muscle.

"$3.25 million for the old guy?"

Today, the record for (Republican) fund raising was set. It wasn't Hillary. Mitt didn't write himself a check again (the previous record was Mitt Romney writing himself a check at the end of a long fundraising day for a total of $3.1 million).

Graph from Ron Paul as of about 7:30 PM. I decided to post it on Blogger because his server is being overwhelmed. Pay attention to the X-axis of the graph. That's minutes and hours, not days and weeks.

Ron Paul raised $3.25 million and counting today. Someone came up with the idea in reference to Guy Fawkes Day. I was so impressed by the total, I decided to chip in myself. Yes, readers, I'm a Ron Paul fan. At least I have some local company.

Another thing, as much as I know the internet and all the wonderful things it can do, I'm still in awe of its power. It's one hell of an echo chamber, for the right message. Look at Oyster's reporting on Vitter. Look at this Ron Paul fundraising day. Look at Ashe Dambala scooping the Times-Pic on who the next person to be indicted is. None would have transpired just 10 years ago. The most amazing thing is you haven't seen nothing yet. Just imagine the potential 10 years down the line...