29 May 2005

Danica Patrick

INDIANAPOLIS -- Friday would have been ho-hum, just another day of outrunning every male driver at Indianapolis Motor Speedway for Danica Patrick.

Except that this was the final practice, giving her game, set and match in the mind games leading up to Sunday's Indianapolis 500.

[. . .]

I don't see what the big deal is about her being a woman. Indy car drivers are all women anyway. Buncha whiny bitches.

25 May 2005


[. . .]

Industry watcher Sean Kane, who investigates auto safety issues for attorneys, uncovered at least 20 cases in which old tires, some barely used, have disintegrated causing accidents. The cases led to 10 deaths.

"We suspected for some time that the industry has been unwilling to tell the public how serious a problem it is," said Kane, a partner with Arlington, Va.-based Strategic Safety. "Tires as a commodity should have a shelf life or expiration date on them."

Kane isn't the only one concerned about this issue. Last week a British trade association, the Tyre Industry Council, issued the tire industry's first ever warning on the subject, imploring people to refrain from selling tires six years old or older and to not use any tires 10 years old or older.

In addition three major German auto manufacturers, Mercedes-Benz, BMW and Volkswagen, include warnings about using older tires in their owner's manuals. There is also a concern about spare tires, because they sit so long until needed.

Tires Degrade Over Time [my emphasis]

[. . .]

I can't stress this enough and I don't know how many times I've had this conversation with customers. They look at me sideways when I tell them they should replace tires that don't look bald or worn funny. Sunlight and heat have a deteriorating effect on your tires. So does feeling the curb with the right side rubber as you park. What's even worse is a car that sits for months at a time. Hitting potholes also distorts the steel belts under the tread. 45,000 - 60,000 miles should be the rule of thumb in normal driving conditions (10,000 - 15,000 miles/year), 4 - 6 years if you're like the little old ladies from the neighborhood who just go to church and the IGA. Might be a good idea to get a wheel alignment when you put those new sneakers on too. Your new rubber won't wear out as fast and the car will handle better.

24 May 2005

On The Road Again

Following up on my previous post, I am thrilled shitless to report another unqualified success: Toni's Hawg is wrinklin' the pavement once again!

One thing I've learned in 30+ years of fixing things is: always start in the cheap seats. Here's the rundown on the magic tricks I performed to get this little sucker goin':

1. Installed the correct grade of spark plug.
2. Filled the gas tank with the correct petroil mix
3. Aired up the tires
4. On the theory that you can only do so much to the bike, then you have to work on the rider, I educated her on the correct position of the choke thingie

Since I was leaving on a vacation, I snuck this little jet into her garage and beat feet, leaving her this note:
Offishul Documentation in the case of The Screaming Yellow Zonker aka “Toni’s Hawg”

This moped runs about as well as it’s ever going to. Remember, at 6000 feet it loses about 1/5 of its horsepower. This drops it from about 2hp to 1.6hp. It wouldn’t be as noticeable in a bigger engine.

Truth is, if it were a leaf blower, I'd ask for my money back. In motersickle technical jargon, the thing "don't make enough power to pull a dead whore off a piss-pot". By crawling under the paint, turning my cap around backwards, and giving the beast a merciless caning, I managed to get it up to 27mph on the flat. Trust me, that's spooky fast on that little sneezer, but I'm nothing if not brave in the service of my customers. Mighta got 30 out of it at sea level, but it loads up a little when it's blazin' on the main jet. Trouble is, there ain't much "flat" around here. She has to ride about a mile extra to get to streets the thing will climb to get to our street. She gets to work in two minutes flat, tho', about a mile away.
Make sure the choke is in the up position for runnin’ down the road.

The specification for the gas:oil ratio is 25:1. If you mix your fuel 25 gallons at a time, put in one gallon of good quality two-cycle oil. Otherwise, put 5 ounces of oil (about 2/3 cup) in each gallon. Mix it at home in a gas can as the mixture will be more accurate. Since the tank won’t quite hold a gallon (I’m not going to tell you how I determined that), fill up at gas stations only on long trips (Ha!-ed.). Use 4 gas caps full of oil for each HALF gallon of gas.

I recommend selling this ride and getting an actual small motorcycle, 125cc to 200cc, just because of the hills around here. Getting my lard ass up my driveway required more LPA (Light Pedal Assistance, actual correct term) than I like.

Happy motoring, Ducks

PS: I’ll be back from vacation in about ten days. Make proper arrangements with your banker to settle up!

And settle up she did! Within a half hour of getting home from my trip, she was bangin' on my door with payment. We hadn't discussed price, but I was gonna charge her twenty bucks, and there she stood with a bag with twenty bucks worth of homemade tamales! Square business, I'd say.

Did I mention that she's happier than a pig in shit with all the gas money she's savin'? Not too happy with the last "mechanic" she took it to, tho', who charged her $80 and didn't get it right.

More thrilling tales of mechanical heroism later on, I bet.

10 May 2005


May 9 NEW YORK — Tony Danza got quite a scare when he and NASCAR star Rusty Wallace were racing go-karts during the taping of a segment for the nationally syndicated "The Tony Danza Show."

Danza was leading as they entered the final lap Monday morning on West 66th Street, the show said. After Wallace gave Danza's vehicle a little "bump and run," the 54-year-old talk-show host lost control of his go-kart, which flipped over.

[. . .]

Ha! I laugh. First, because I can't stand Tony Danza. Second, because Rusty's my boy. Third, it serves Danza right for agreeing to race a NASCAR driver. You never want to race a NASCAR driver in anything. Didn't he watch Days of Thunder? Idiot, hope it knocked some sense into ya.

03 May 2005


The 25 year old TV in my office(it was my mom's and was in the house when she passed) suddenly switched to Black & White. And it's staying that way. Looks like I gotta go shopping. I think mom can rest easy knowing she got her money's worth.

02 May 2005

Spring done Sprung

Spring is here! How do I know? The snow is almost all melted? I'm deterring Bluejays from building nests in my eaves? Mais non, mes amis!. Here's how I know:

The first moped has snuck into my driveway for the classic Spring "make run" job!

Its arrival was announced yesterday by my neighbor Toni's 6'3", 220lb teenage son knocking on my door to tell me that his petite (6', hunnert 'n mumble-mumble lb) mom was, at that very moment shoving said prime mover up my driveway.

She bought the thing last Summer to save money on gas and she's rarin' to git 'er goin', what with the even higher price of gas now.

As she explained to me what all it wouldn't do (run above idle) and explained all the tech stuff ("This is the throttle, these are the foot pedals, this is the gas tank") to this 30+ year motersickle mechanic, I thought she had ridden it the three doors from her house until I realized those weren't two-stroke fumes I was smellin', but, in fact, Merlot.

The clue came when she unscrewed the gas cap and showed me the little cup attached thereto for measuring oil into the gasoline: "Just put this much oil in when you gas up!" I tried to ask how much gas she was adding "this much" oil to, and she showed me the gas tank again. I took leave of my senses at this point and swiped my finger in the rear of the muffler. My finger, and the muffler, were dripping oil. I think I'll start by looking for a possibly carboned-up muffler baffle, install a fresh fill of petroil mix and go from there.

The moped itself is a Bombardier-Puch. That's Bom-bar-dyay. A French Canadian/Austrian model. An interesting conglomeration, non? I've never seen one before, and there's no manual. I'm hopin' my career has prepared me for this monster, but I'll give it a shot. Luckily, I think I can put the whole plot on my workbench. Try that with a Hawg!

I hope it doesn't need any parts.

The lovely Toni has made the offer of dinner for me and Mrs. G if the operation is successful. I'll keep ya posted.