Five for fightin’

ted | junk | Saturday, March 3rd, 2007

Per the theme, Roninspoon asked and I shall answer.

1. Beer or Liqour?

Good question. I view them both as tools in a tool chest. Which one you use depends on what you want to get done. On a hot summer day one could enjoy either a couple cold beers or a pint glass of gin and tonic – both would help cool you off nicely but they do so different. Beer helps you out with much needed carbohydrates for long lasting energy, delivered by that wonderful elixir of hops, malt & barley. The gin and tonic, however, would not only help you with the extract of juniper but also to ward off malaria and muscle cramps with quinine.

On a cool, rainy fall afternoon, I think nothing beats a few fingers of single malt irish whiskey with just a splash of water to wake it up. Make the weather a bit cooler and nastier and I’d opt for something heavier, such as my preferred scotch, Laphroaig. It’s heavy peaty smokiness delivers more flavor than any beer could muster.

Lookin’ to nail some trailer park queen resplendent with bleached blonde hair and jet black roots? Bring out the shitty tequila. Bust out some Hennessey if Dr. Dre is over. Few things can help say “job well done” after a couple hours of wrenching on your car or bicycle better than a couple tall beers, plus you can use the tab to help get the grease out from under your fingernails.

If at a party, I may opt for beer since it helps keep something tasty in your belly and that the buzz is fairly self-regulating; by the time you’re gettin good and puzzled you’re pissing every three minutes and have reached stasis. But if i’m looking to get popular and naked quick, I pull the Wild Turkey 101 out of the freezer and start passing the bottle around.

All drinking philosophy aside, the best answer is a simple “Whadda ya got?”

2. Which is a greater source of pollutant emmisions, individually owned automobiles, or container ships and tractor trailers?

Depends on what you consider pollutants. In the overall scheme of things, individually owned automobiles do us more damage than freight vehicles but on a more invisible scale. Particulate emissions from gasoline powered light vehicles are particularly insidious as they’re the ones that are more carcinogenic and penetrate much deeper in your lungs than what comes out of the exhaust stacks of ships, trains & trucks.

As far as CO2 and NOx goes, I’m still sticking with passenger autos. Freight vehicles typically run on diesel (trains & trucks) or heavy bunker fuel (ships) and their engines are designed to take advantage of these particular fuels. They don’t have to worry with being perceived as being underpowered by fickle consumers. Freight vehicle engines are typically tuned for maximum efficiency at their steady-state operating output or use the internal combustion engine to generate power for electric motors – full torque at zero RPM is a beautiful thing. Passenger vehicles are grossly overpowered for 99% of driving. Cruising down the road at 60 mph may only take 6 – 10 horsepower yet people scoff at the prospect of purchasing anything with less than 150 hp.

On the basis of pollutants per unit of real utility, SUVs, cars and light trucks are far worse than any decently modern freight vehicle.

3. Low wages for off shore production facilities are frequently cited as examples of corporate irresponsibility. Would it be more responsible to create an artifical middle class in an unprepared economy by inflating wages dramatically above the mean?

Much like foisting democracy on cultures that do not want it, cramming the American way of life upon another economy is yet another example of the arrogance and misunderstanding that most knee-jerk reactionaries exhibit.

I think the real way to use low price offshore workers would be to hire them as upper management. Hey Mr. CEO that made $22M plus benefits last year, guess what? You’re being replaced by a triple MBA in the Ukraine who’ll do your job and that of three underlings for $60k/year. Repeat for the rest of those that have cushy chairs in winow offices and you’re starting to save some real money. How many new workers could you hire with that kind of savings? How much new equipment? What sort of new processes could you start running in your new manufacturing plant? Seems like a far better cost/benefit relationship than bringing in parts made in a sweaty Quonset hut in Chongqing so the investors can make 25 cents a share more and you can yuk it up with your buddies on the golf course.

4. A Smurf and a Snork get in a bare fisted fight. Who wins?

As a quick refresher course, Smurfs are sky blue, live in the forests of Europe, have footy pants and a shapeless white hat. Snorks live in the water (presumably the ocean) and are yellow with a snorkel used for propulsion sticking out of the tops of their heads. Neither seems to have any real fighting skills.

Unfortunately both characters are from Belgium, which has some sort of history with making cartoons. This, however, leads to the inevitable fact that while Snorks are uniquely Belgian, Smurfs are Franco-Belgian. For this fact alone, if confronted with fisticuffs, the Smurf would immediately run away as if the Snork had just pooped an anti-tank missile out of its snorkel.

Not to mention that Smurfs are terrestrial while Snorks are aquatic, Snorks seem much bigger in relative size and have seen fit to adapt human technologies to their underwater homes. There’s no reason to think they would not have adapted boxing techniques or Jeet kune do as well. Smurfs seemed perfectly happy with virtually zero technology, living in mushrooms in the forest and gang-banging Smurfette (off camera).

Snork wins, hands down.

5. The Jeep Rubicon AWD bicycle. Awesome technical innovation or overly complicated crap?

It’s an interesting application of technology but fairly worthless. Half the fun of mountainbiking is having to balance rear wheel tractive effort with picking a good line, clearing obstacles and keeping the front wheel firmly planted for steering and braking. If you can also transfer some of the power to the front wheel you no longer have to be as careful or skillful a rider to take on interesting terrain. Perhaps I’m a purist, but I used to hit the trails in North Georgia on an all-steel rigid framed bicycle. Keeping up with those that had hardtails or even full suspension bicycles took no small amount of skill and considerable effort but in the end I had just as much fun as they did on a vastly simpler and cheaper machine. If it’s really for mountainbike use it’s going to have to be bulletproof especially under a so-called Clydesdale like myself. The shaft-in-a-tube design doesn’t lend itself well to the natural flex of frame tubes. Since it’s full suspension, I assume they designed the frame itself to be as rigid as possible and just let the shocks take all the abuse. I would be suprised if it would last as long as a hardtail at half the price if actually used for its advertised purpose.

I don’t see this as anything special, just as another thing for Jeep to throw their name on to have sheep buy and let languish in the garage.

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