Wednesday, August 20, 2014

The Latest Group Of Vehicles I'd Like

The usual things are still drawing my attention, a non running 73 for $2500

and an orange 73 for $3500, maybe the best deal here:
"1973 VW Thing. Cranks, runs, drives. Vehicle was used to ferry my kids around at our hunting property.They are now grown and I prefer to walk. Thing was stored inside for last 20 years. It is complete other than steering wheel ring and sun visors. I have a new top, in the box, from The Thing Shop in Arizona that will go with the car.
It has a noticeable shimmy between 45 and 50 mph and will need ball joints. It pops out of reverse but will go backwards when necessary. Floor pans are 80% or so."

This is rough, for 2000 "1973 vw thing no title but will give bill sale engine is locked up from sitting no water: engine never been removed gas heater complete $2000.00 or best offer"

"Bought this last year and put about 200-250 miles on it (drove great until the carb started acting up). only needs a new carburetor to be fully functioning and to enjoy this summer not a huge project. comes with soft door tops and the top frame(no canvas). Very little rust!! comes with a bill of sale"

This is also a good deal, in my estimation:  also asking $4500, "The car is currently not running but was running when it was put into storage 7 years ago. There is no battery in the car currently as it was removed when it failed. It was running just fine when stored but the transmission was having trouble with 3rd gear.
I drove it for 2 years with this problem by adapting to not using 3rd gear. I acquired a used replacement transmission to replace it, but have not installed it, and it is included with the car."

but, I do have to admit that I have started looking at another old favorite, the MG: These are plentiful at reasonable prices. If I actually owned my Camry (it's in my wife's name), I'd be attempting a trade already....

close to home for $2000:

Also close to home for $3500, "Very good condition, no rust, good tires, 4 speed transmission, Has top and full tonneau cover, new spare clutch still in the box, spare tire and jack, new radiator." 

Cheap at $3000 in town, at prices like these, I need to rethink my Thing obsession:

I'm not gonna bother with pictures, but here's 2 MGs for $1650 one of which will drive today, if you don't mind no passenger seat....

This is fantastic, $3500 but "make an offer?" You have to be kidding, compared to what Things are asking?

Lastly, for $2100. OBO? Seriously? I think my daughter needs one. "1977 mg midget, runs and drives 
things that need to be fixed ..the radio ,horn, the turn signal piece I have a new one to replace it"

I remain interested in motorcycles, maybe moreso now that I have actually had a chance to ride a dirt back (slowly) in my back yard.

a nice Kawasaki locally for $1750 obo

I really like older bikes, the new styling just doesn't appeal to me, nor do I want a crotch rocket, so this 1971 Honda CB 350 asking all of $600 OBO is my style:

Monday, August 11, 2014

Random Monday Thoughts after a long time not posting.

Sitting in church yesterday thinking (during sermon Part 2, the sequel) about the topic, "joy," when I tried to come up with a bumper-sticker-t-shirt-slogan line about the difference between Pleasure, Happiness, and Joy.

How about "Pleasure is eating a cookie, Happiness is sharing cookies with a friend, and Joy is teaching a loved one to bake cookies."
** 8/19 update, thought of a new spin today: "don't seek happiness in pleasure, find pleasure in you happiness."  oooooo, deeeeeep.

I was thinking about a couple of things somewhat deeply as well, most of which is now lost in the recesses of my mind. Some continuations about the conflicts of being a human, which I have mentioned before: we want to be independent, strong, self-sufficient, yet at the same time we want to be taken care of. Makes our system here in America difficult to manage. I'm not the first to think that a truly benevolent dictatorship may be the best system, but that person would get killed anyway, and then it would just be a regular dictatorship. Alas.

Also, it came to me that we are simultaneously part a group (or groups) yet want to be regarded as an individual.

I was actually thinking specifically about the dilemma of inclusive language, and how we shouldn't take everything so stinking personally, but it's hard not to, right? It was pointed out to me long ago that all the God as Father references could be off putting to someone that had a crappy Dad (or Mom, there are those references as well), but if we could all just take a step away and see that it isn't always all about us maybe more would find comfort in the words? I dunno, just thinking out loud.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Pre-Birthday Things

Well, it's been a while, and while there has been plenty to say, I haven't felt like saying it! LOL

More to talk about later, but lets' get started with a Thing or two:

This one has been on the samba for a while, he's lowered the price to $1500, and it needs work, but the price is very fair for a Thing in this shape. "1973 thing rusty floor pans need replaced , motor turns free said by PO ran good years ago . Have top frame . Solid body complete . OG gas heater .OG paint text any ? 8653630944 No Title as of now , may be able to get one.... Dont have to sell this car. there is about 1500 in parts on the car. which reflects the price. Cash at my front door talks ."

Compared to this at $1750, and you'll see what I mean:
"Pretty complete and unmolested. 
Engine turns over and is out of the car. 
HOmemade diamond plate floors. 
Some rust here and there, but this body is doable. 
I do not have nay door or the top. 
I would get a rust free decklid instead of welding this one. 
Pretty much bone stock. 
no seats. 
solid home made floors form back in the day. 

I think I have the Louisiana title! "

See what I mean?

Just for fun, here are the 4 most expensive Things on the first (ugly custom stupid one) is asking $35,000, and the other three are asking $25,000:

Searchtempest is my go-to for craigslist searches, and here's one rather close to me reasonably priced at $5900. "Runs Good Drives Good Very solid floors Needs Top !!" Strangely, I think this is another ad for the same Thing with no hubcaps asking more....

This isn't very attractive, is it? asking $2500, but it runs!

This may be the most amusing Thing ad I've encountered: not one clear picture and asking $15,000. Seriously, why even bother adding the photos?

Here we go: a mystery thing, if you ask me. Been sitting outside as a sign, so how about some actual information like, gosh, I dunno, does it even have an engine?  BTW, it's spelled "volkswagEn" 

Still, that's a great price. $1200

"1974 Volkswagon Thing --------I have used this car as my Antiques sign in front of my shop for years. I can send more pics by text if you are interested. Car is located at 301 W. Franklin St. Sylvester Ga. TEXT me for more information"  

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Ah, The Supremes.... 5-4 is not good enough for some people!

I really just wanted to publish the link to the opinion in the BURWELL, SECRETARY OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES, ET AL. v. HOBBY LOBBY STORES, INC., ET AL.  case.

Here's the dissent as well.

My thoughts are simple, really. The majority opinion holds that as the current laws are written, it's reasonable that Hobby Lobby, et al, should be able to not pay for 4 after-conception birth control methods based on religious beliefs of the 3 named closely-held (5 or fewer voting shareholders?) incorporated companies' owners. The minority dissent disagrees with that opinion, of course. The laws are not plain enough to remove doubt, so the Supremes have to interpret what is in the applicable laws and decide who is more right, and this time the government's position was held to be less credible. That's how it works.

The decision does not take away access, it does not deny coverage, and it doesn't change anything, really, as the HHS has already, by fiat, said that even religious non-profits' insurance companies must provide contraception coverage regardless of what they religious non-profits' policy says or pays for (essentially sticking the insurance company with the bill, although HHS says there is "no net economic burden on the insurance companies that are required to provide or secure the coverage"). No reason (as Scalia notes in the majority opinion) that they can't make for-profits do the same thing, whether we agree with that or not!

Lastly, the stupid comparisons. Viagra treats a medical condition, a medical problem. It's not the same as covering contraception (and I know that birth control treatments are also used for other medical problems, but those uses are almost universally included already, and not a part of the discussion at all). It's also not covered at no cost to the patient, nor are vasectomies: female birth control explicitly is (if covered under ACA, etc.) at no cost.

Only semi-related, I love it when folks that have pooh-poohed the notion of the "slippery slope" regarding things like property rights and the Second Amendment invoke it over whose responsibility it is to pay for birth control.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Antarctic Ice Sheet Melting, But Not Why You Think

Look, folks, the climate changes, we all know this, and no reasonable person is denying that changes occur, but the reasons for the change are up for significant debate and disagreement.

Here's a study (and not some lame news report about it, it's the actual link to the actual study abstract) that finds that the geothermal activity under Antarctica is more involved that previously thought. Read it yourself, draw some conclusions.

Some pull quotes, from the study pdf:
Thwaites Glacier is one of the West Antarctica's most prominent, rapidly evolving, and potentially unstable contributors to global sea level rise. Uncertainty in the amount and spatial pattern of geothermal flux and melting beneath this glacier is a major limitation in predicting its future behavior and sea level contribution. In this paper, a combination of radar sounding and subglacial water routing is used to show that large areas at the base of Thwaites Glacier are actively melting in response to geothermal flux consistent with rift-associated magma migration and volcanism. This supports the hypothesis that heterogeneous geothermal flux and local magmatic processes could be critical factors in determining the future behavior of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet.
and from the press release:
The findings significantly change the understanding of conditions beneath the West Antarctic Ice Sheet where accurate information has previously been unobtainable.
The Thwaites Glacier has been the focus of considerable attention in recent weeks as other groups of researchers found the glacier is on the way to collapse, but more data and computer modeling are needed to determine when the collapse will begin in earnest and at what rate the sea level will increase as it proceeds. The new observations by UTIG will greatly inform these ice sheet modeling efforts.

Again, folks, this is what actual science looks like.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Twenty20 Gallery

Thanks to another local instagramaddict @purposeofenvy, I discovered this site that lets you sell your images.

There you go.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Real Science Works Like This

I happened upon this article in a tweet, and I like it as much for what is shows about a rigorous researcher's methods as the actual content of the study: I actually read a brief article a while ago that said, simply, "if you don't have Celiac's, gluten won't mess you up." As I've said this to a few people, it's nice to have a bit more research to back up that statement!

My non-specific-to-the-gluten-conversation take-aways are these:

Experimental design is vital to getting good results, and good researchers are obsessive about eliminating variables. This is actually a big problem I have with most research about climate change; you can't eliminate the variables to the extent that you can attribute the cause to human activity. The first study was actually very well done, but the guy wasn't satisfied. Wow.

The 'Nocebo' effect is real.

Good research deliberately sets out to disprove it's prior findings rather than confirm them, because it's failing to disprove them when you are rigorously trying to do so that confirms your previous findings....

In 2011, Peter Gibson, a professor of gastroenterology at Monash University and director of the GI Unit at The Alfred Hospital in Melbourne, Australia, published a study that found gluten, a protein found in grains like wheat, rye, and barley, to cause gastrointestinal distress in patients without celiac disease, an autoimmune disorder unequivocally triggered by gluten. Double-blinded, randomized, and placebo-controlled, the experiment was one of the strongest pieces of evidence to date that non-celiac gluten sensitivity (NCGS), more commonly known as gluten intolerance, is a genuine condition.
By extension, the study also lent credibility to the meteoric rise of the gluten-free diet. Surveys now show that 30% of Americans would like to eat less gluten, and sales of gluten-free products are estimated to hit $15 billion by 2016 -- that's a 50% jump over 2013's numbers!
But like any meticulous scientist, Gibson wasn't satisfied with his first study. His research turned up no clues to what actually might be causing subjects' adverse reactions to gluten. Moreover, there were many more variables to control! What if some hidden confounder was mucking up the results? He resolved to repeat the trial with a level of rigor lacking in most nutritional research. Subjects would be provided with every single meal for the duration of the trial. Any and all potential dietary triggers for gastrointestinal symptoms would be removed, including lactose (from milk products), certain preservatives like benzoates, propionate, sulfites, and nitrites, and fermentable, poorly absorbed short-chain carbohydrates, also known as FODMAPs. And last, but not least, nine days worth of urine and fecal matter would be collected. With this new study, Gibson wasn't messing around.

***Update/addition*** This is fascinating:

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Let Me Count The Ways Modern Media Is A Curse (ok, it has some good points, too)

So, my diversions do far today have included this excellent video rant:

I love it when someone takes the media to task. Now, the media does do stuff, but they also are slaves to the need for advertising dolllars, so they do stupid stuff like telling us total bs about how horrible things are. That Cracked article provides lots of links, but here are 3 pertinent ones that make my point. The crime and murder rates are down, yet all we think it's worse. I've enjoyed many Cracked articles lately, here's another one about guns that is fairly honest about what so many people are wrong about, including the fact that it's stupid to say that you need a gun because of rising crime because crime isn't rising. (Ok, it has one of the stupid link-bait headlines that I despise, and the language is pretty strong, but it raises several excellent points).

The major drivers of what gets reported around the country are the wire services and they are horribly biased, you can google it yourself, no need for me to find examples. I will offer some thoughts, though.

The major news media are the ones that are horribly racist, sexist, bigoted, and homophobic. Seriously. At the same time, they are absolutely using racism, bigotry, homophobia, etc., to drive ratings and, therefore, what they can charge for ad time. Seriously. At the same time they are afraid of being labeled as racists, etc.

Let's start with the most recent (and what got this line of thought started on my brain this morning) example, Donald Sterling, the Clippers, and Magic Johnson. "What," you ask, "does Magic Johnson have to do with Sterling, how bleeping racist he is and his team?" I'll tell you, and others have, but you will never see it on NBC, CBS, CNN, MSNBC, ABC, or maybe even FOX.

Why? Because if they tell the tale of Magic Johnson's work behind the scenes to get Sterling out of the league so that his group CAN BUY THE CLIPPERS, they would be accused of racism against poor old, HIV surviving Magic Johnson with his charming smile and all that. Anyway, the thing is that Magic has been angling for a while to get a share of the Clipper with his investment group, and that's one of the reasons Sterling said what he said to his lover: she was fraternizing with his economic enemy (who also happens to be black, which isn't something Sterling is in favor of, either, apparently). Mind you, the other guy in the offensive instagram photo was a Dodger, which Magic's group also owns. Can you see why he was pissed off? This Business Week article hints at this in the last paragraph. This article says it straight out:
Make no mistake: Magic's Dodgers group is angling for a Southern California sports empire. Magic Johnson and Guggenheim had been aggressive in pursuing a purchase of the Los Angeles Lakers – only to have the Buss family make clear to them the franchise isn't for sale, sources told Yahoo Sports.
Nevertheless, this is business and Magic's willing to change colors and make himself a Clipper. Between the Dodgers and Clippers, Magic Johnson could be the face of two championship contenders.
Magic could have it all.
"This is 100 percent Magic's plan," a league official intimately involved in the buying and selling of franchises told Yahoo Sports.

Let me be clear: Sterling is a racist. He has shown that for years, but why now the furor? I'm not the only one pointing out the fake shock about this "discovery."

But now that the storyline has progressed to "Sterling said bad things about Magic," the fact that he actually had a reason to dislike him, and that Magic's business dealings are pretty aggressive (crony capitalism is on every side of the political spectrum) will never see the light of day on any major news story. Take that to the bank, folks.

But, implicit in the stories are the disdain for Sterling's "jewishness." This story also shares the opinion that Magic is not upset by the turn of events.

What does this have to do with the stated thesis of this rant?

The media. The media has a point of view that they are pushing and they aren't doing their actual job (gosh, i don't know, like playing the entire tape showing the full context of Sterling saying the dumb things he said? Maybe investigating V's relationship with Magic as some are suggesting it was all about getting him on tape so that an uproar could be caused, leading to a sale of the Clippers?) It's pretty transparent now that Magic is saying Mrs. Sterling has no place in the ownership, either, but don't expect any reporter to question him on that scary opinion. Seriously, why are they even asking him that question? Why does he get a say?

The media doesn't even think to ask questions like those, just like they aren't bothered by the things we don't know about Benghazi.

Michael Sam is gay, did you know that? He's double protected by the media because he's black and he's gay. I have said 1000 times, "if it's not supposed to matter, why are all the media telling me it should matter that he's gay?" There have been plenty of gay NFL, NBA, MLB, MLS, NHL, etc. players, and as one owner said "we all knew, and we didn't care." Why are we supposed to care so much about it now? There's an answer to that, and I don't think people will like it because it sounds all tinfoil-hat-wearing crazy. It seems to me there has been a shift from "I don't care as long as you do your job" to identity-politics finally infiltrating the NFL (and the NBA, etc.). It reminds me of the Tebow situation. Do you know how many evangelical Christians there are in the NFL? Why was his career destroyed because of his evangelism? He did a great job at Denver, why should he switch positions to kowtow to the religious bigots? He was a championship winning quarterback, not just some random drafted QB, after all. (note: he beat my college team in a bowl game, so I'm supposed to hate him, right? Take that, haters).

How many players were drafted to the NFL? Here's a case in point: I just Googled that, and the first hit was about Michael Sam kissing his boyfriend. Complete with a picture. Point made. He was number 249. How many other players names do you know? How many kissed their lovers, wives, partners? Why is he a story? His abilities on the field have been challenged, but now that he has been drafted, he will make the team, he has to in this modern media world, because if he doesn't, it will be called bias. St. Louis knew this when they picked him, so it's their albatross. I think that this is a true case of a political stance (progressive) being pushed on us via equality as a meme.

This is painful to me, by the way, to point out because I have had so many friends in my life that are gay. Not in the "oh, some of my friends are gay" defensive cliche, I'm serious. I've known that some of my friends were gay before they did. My gaydar is legendary. Good lord, I've been a singer and performer my whole life. This recent trend, though, that all things are about Gay is strange. Again, if it's 2014 and I'm not supposed to care, why are you constantly telling me how much it matters that Michael Sam is gay?

On a side note, I saw some picture of a young actress that came out recently, and thought "oh, yes, brave, as there are no gays in entertainment..."

The show Nashville has a gay character hiding because the bigoted country music fans will care! Crap. It's clearly being written by someone too old to get that music fans don't care about any kind of stuff like that: if they did, how many cds would Chris Brown sell? Country music has become pop, and the fans are all girls wearing short shorts and cowboy boots. Justin Timberlake could come out and it wouldn't hurt his sales a bit. Again, notice who I am criticizing here: the writers.

And the media, well they go for the stories that they believe will bring the biggest bang for the buck. Seriously, take some time to go to your local news stations' sites and critically take a look at what you see, then get back to me.

I think you will see white stories. Both stories that are designed to appeal to white audiences, and stories that shore up white feelings of all kinds: race guilt, fear, whatever. While calling out guys like Sterling, supporting the idea that those that merely disagree with the President's politics are racist, they live in fear of being branded racist themselves, so they don't tell all of any story. Remember Trayvon Martin? His friend that was talking to him during the events leading up to his death said publicly, on tv, that he thought the guy following him was a homo rapist and he was going to teach him a lesson and keep him away from his little brother who was home alone. I bet you didn't know that, or even the little white lie about what drink he actually bought, because if they reported the truth it might make them look racist. The "story" had been decided, so saying he might have actually started the fight (oh no, an angry black youth! watermelon drink!) would get in the way of the narrative. I bet you think I'm racist for pointing it out, but doesn't the truth matter? What drink he bought shouldn't matter, so why change that detail? (Actually, there are reasons to change that detail).

Perceptions matter, of course. But if you watched Bill Whittle's video, you might see that we agree on this: the media (Big Media, if you will) has an agenda that often makes facts and truth irrelevant to them. People will think we're racist if we tell the truth that Trayvon's drink was watermelon, so go along with the crowd calling it "tea." People will think we are homophobic if we treat Michael Sam like any other 249th pick in the NFL draft, so it's wall-to-wall gayness.

Now, Benghazi? That's another kind of bias, the kind of bias that makes calling people "teabaggers" ok in these United States of America. We can't show a story that possibly shows the First Black President as weak, foolish, or negligent (ditto for Hilary), because we might get called racist (or worse, teabaggers), so we avoid it at all costs, to the point that we don't know the basic answers to what should be basic questions asked by Trey Gowdy.

It's fear, isn't it? Rush Limbaugh made the point today that the hashtag war againt Boko Haram is silly: we (ok, Michelle and Hilary) are so afraid of terrorists and what they might do that the most they will do is take a selfie with a hashtag. God forbid we offend the people that want to kill us, steal children and convert them to provide "wives" for their fellow terrorists so they can say they didn't rape them to impregnate them to make more terrorists.

Pathetic, isn't it?