Sledgehammer's Cycles

Sledgehammer's Cycles
Sledgehammer's Performance and Custom Cycles

Friday, November 28, 2014

Most brain-dead PR team ever

That's one top-notch new media team, right there:
MALAYSIA airlines has been slammed for its latest tweet that promotes its end of year specials. The tweet was criticised for its poor choice of words, which read, “Want to go somewhere, but don’t know where?”

Critics say the tweet was insensitive, following a devastating year for the airline that saw them lose two planes resulting in the deaths of hundreds of passengers.

Flight MH370 disappeared between Kuala Lumpur and Beijing on 8 March with 230 passengers on-board including 6 Australians. The plane is still missing.

Flight MH17 was shot down four months later by rebels over the Ukraine killing all 298 of its passengers. It was carrying 36 Australians.
Other than that, Mrs. Lincoln - how did you like the play.  Sheesh.

You can only rent beer

May as well cut out the middle man ...

Lileks, The Bleat, and The Institute of Official Cheer

 I should have already added to the blogroll. He has a website full of all sorts of things that make it hard to describe. It has an element of humor, a lot of it is old ads, travel pictures, cookbooks, matchbook covers, etc. all with commentary that gives a sense of the absurd. For example, here's an ad campaign for Sunbeam bread from the 1940s.

The Gobbler, the promotional materials for a groovy motel from the 1960s, is another winner.

The best of all is The Gallery of Regrettable Food. Pictures and comments from Mr. Liliks. Start with Meat, Meat, MEAT! and remember, vegetables are for commies.

I bring up James because I just discovered he writes a newspaper column now. Featured in the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, here's his latest, Black Friday Tips and Tricks. It's Q&A to help you get through the madness of the day. Here's one:
Q: If the media reports that Black Friday sales were less than the previous year, should I be afraid?
A: Yes. The entire consumer culture lives or dies by the next few weeks, but don’t worry. If there’s a story about a “slow start” to the shopping season, there’ll be a story about “Last Minute Bargains Lure Shoppers” and made the “cash registers ring.” Then there’s the post-holiday sales, which will have even better bargains. It’s almost as if they have this planned in advance.
Stay out of the stores. I have the day off. I am going to the range this afternoon and to the dojo later this evening. 

Richard Scarry's 21st Century jobs

Heh.  I local the Climate CHange Denier and NSA collection van.  But no community organizer?


Thursday, November 27, 2014

Ghosts of Thanksgivings past

Summoned from the depths of memory.

Me, I remember when I was in High School.  I was on the winter track team, and was thin as a rail despite going back for fourths.

I remember when we lived in England, and took the day off.  Everyone at the office knew what this was about, but only intellectually.  They had never really been to one of these celebrations.  I thought that was quite a loss - it would go quite a long way to counter the myth of the "Ugly American"* if they really thought on how this day is all about gratitude from sea to shining sea.

I remember Thanksgiving dinner with the family of #1 Son's best friend.  They were from China, but lived next door.  The idea of going around the table saying what they were thankful for was new to them, but was a wonderful experience.

Me, I'm grateful that my view today isn't this:

I hope that this day gives you something to be thankful for.  Gratitude is good for the soul after all, and the Feast is not just to nourish the body.

* My experience is that Americans are much nicer tourists than anyone from Europe, and that the "Ugly American" trope hasn't been true for 30 years, if it ever was.

Postscript to reader Renee: Your email made my day, and is something else that I am thankful for.  Thank you for sending it.

Family Thanksgiving

There's family you're born into and family you choose. Today, we will be celebrating Thanksgiving with three other families in our community. We are all at different points in our lives. We are not related. We do not go to church together. It is not because we are all at the same stages in our lives. It is not working together.

 The oldest is living alone. He recently had to put his wife in a care facility because of advance Alzheimer's.

Mrs. ASM and I have no children at home, although the one that still lives locally will be joining us. He is friends with these people in his own right.

The third couple has one son. He is a college freshman and does live at home.

The fourth couple, the ones who will host our Thanksgiving, have three children. They have a set of teen-age twin boys, both with autism, and in a display of hope and love that I am in awe of, they have a one year old.

So what is it that brought us together? That puts my 26 year old son in a position to say he is friends with a 75 year old and a couple of other middle age guys?

All of us met each other because of the shooting sports. I met one when I was looking for advice about buying a rifle. One met me a few months later when he was looking to buy a rifle and he got directed to me because it was the same type and model I had recently purchased. The third I met at the range. He was my son's mentor for his senior project, where he researched and then built a muzzleloader.

That was the beginning of the basis of our friendship. It grew from there. Support and labor to help each other. Time spent on shared projects. Time spent at the range. Our wives know each other. We are involved in each others lives. We are family and we will gather later today to give thanks and share a meal.

Among other things, I am making the rolls.

How about a "Reset Button" for relations with Australia?

I guess that this is more of that "Smart Diplomacy", or something:
Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop criticises US president Barack Obama for a speech in Brisbane last weekend in which he claimed climate change threatened the Great Barrier Reef. It is highly unusual for an Australian foreign minister to openly criticise a US president. Ms Bishop also said Australia currently had no intention of committing extra forces or resources to the mission against Islamic State, even though the White House had discussed it with the Abbott Government. –Radio Australia, 20 November 2014
I can't remember the last time that a US President gave an address in another country that was immediately rebuked by that country's foreign minister.  Man, it sure is a good thing that we don't have a cowboy in the White House making the world hate us ...

A Thanksgiving prayer

May the blessings of this day shine most especially on those who stand a post far from home.  The food is the least of their sacrifice.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

1967 -- 2014

Detroit burned in 1967. After 5 days, there were 43 dead, 1,189 injured and 2,000 buildings destroyed. That was only the beginning. Ten of thousands of people sold or abandoned their homes and left. The burned out businesses never rebuilt. New businesses did not move in. Other businesses closed or relocated outside the city center. The ripple effects of the '67 riots still go on.

The city is still in freefall. There's no tax base, no industry. The population is a third of what it was. Abandoned buildings and homes predominate.

It isn't going to matter why the people in Ferguson burned and looted those businesses. They are gone. It isn't going to matter what sort of justification people had or made up for their actions. All that is going to matter is that the businesses are gone and will not come back. The people of Ferguson will now look to government to fix things.

My guess is that the government will promise big and deliver just like they did in Detroit.

Chrysler Is Now FCA

FCA, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles. As part of this they are doing away with the Chrysler pentagon star logo, commonly called the Pentastar. The logo has been around since 1962.

This has prompted a movement to save the logo.

I suppose if you had fond memories of Chryslers like this one, there might be some nostalgia for the old logo.

My memories of cars that carried the Pentastar will always be tainted by the K-Car era and Lee Iacocca. In case your memories of this time have been mercifully wiped, here's Lee and the 1982 Chrysler offering. His last comment, "If you can find a better car, buy it.", is exactly why we have so many Nissan and Toyotas on the road.

Quote of the Day

About those riots:
The unseen winners in the aftermath of the shooting of Michael Brown, and now of the refusal to indict his shooter, are those middle-class and upper-class people who approve of the riots but who of course are not affected adversely by them. It is not their neighborhoods that are being trashed. It is not their neighborhoods that will go into decline as businesses leave. No, but they believe that they are doing the right thing in supporting the rioters. Maybe they even have a nice job in the media or as a professor in which they can propound their views for all the world to hear while calling anyone who disagrees a racist.

But there’s a nasty little joke about stock brokers who lose their client’s money that can be adapted here: the broker made money, and the firm made money, and two out of three ain’t bad. So, how about this? The media representatives didn’t have their neighborhoods trashed, and the ivory-tower theorists didn’t have their neighborhoods trashed, and two out of three ain’t bad.
But remember - those people are smarter and nicer than you or I.  They keep telling us that.


3-Gun on Saturday at the local club. Here's the message.

We will have 5 stages that will challenge your shooting skills. There will be rifle on all 5 stages with shots from 5 yards to 175 yards! Round count shakes out something like this....

30 shotgun
54 pistol
102 rifle
That's a high rifle count for us. Should be fun. I may get out to the range Friday and do some practicing. I have just the target to ensure I know what I'm doing.

I hadn't realized there was so much money to be made playing games

The computer gaming world is facing a cheating scandal:
Over the weekend, Valve had a little autumnal clearout of their suspected Counter-Strike: Global Offensive cheater list. In among the script kiddies and third accounts being handed Valve Anti-Cheat (VAC) bans were some familiar names to those who follow pro CS:GO. None other than Titan’s Hovik “KQLY” Tovmassian and Epsilon’s Gordon “SF” Giry were banned, just hours before their teams were set to fly out to DreamHack Winter in Sweden, forcing both the tournament to drop the teams and the teams to drop the players.
The tournament prize purse is something like $6M, so it's not really a surprise that some people are cheating.  Still, that's a lot of money, and it's only one tournament.  I guess this is where you insert a joke about a parent encouraging his kid to spend more time playing games ...

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

How Long Does It Take?

In 1950, two Puerto Rican nationalists attempted to kill Pr. Harry Truman. Truman was living in Blair House at the time while the White House was being renovated. They attacked at 2 PM, opening fire on the guards. Training, tactics and weapons were not really adequate, but the Secret Service and White House Police managed to prevail.

One officer was killed, two others wounded. The gunfight lasted about 40 seconds.

I found the a write-up of the events on the Family, Friends and Firearms Forum. If you scroll down in this link, the full article by Massad Ayoob from American Handgunner Magazine is posted. His review and assessment of the events is worth reading.

When things go wrong, they go all the way wrong, and it happens very fast.

UPDATE: TheAxe left us a comment recommending a book about the assassination attempt, it's called American Gunfight, Stephen Hunter is the author.

Remember how Obama was a super smart, super cool technocrat?

You know, one who would set policy based on the smartest analysis, rather than the way it was done by Chimpy McHalliburton?  Yeah, me neither:
President Obama completely fumbles when George Stephanopolous asks him how he’d respond if a future president takes the same action on taxes that Obama has taken on immigration. Incredibly, Obama responds as if he’d never heard or thought of this argument before, stumbling blindly along immigration talking points without answering the actual question.

Stephanopolous asked: “How do you respond to the argument, a future president comes in and wants lower taxes. Doesn’t happen. Congress won’t do it; so he says ‘I’m not going to prosecute those who don’t pay capital gains tax.’”

“The truth of the matter is George,” said the President, haltingly, “The reason that we, have to do.. uhm prosecutorial discretion in immigration, is that we know, that we – are not even close to being able to deal with the folks who have been here a long time…” Obama then pivoted to immigration talking points, without addressing the original question.
Nice crease in the trouser leg, though.

The silence of the antivirus industry

A public autopsy of sophisticated intelligence-gathering spyware Regin is causing waves today in the computer security world.

But here's a question no one's answering: given this super-malware first popped up in 2008, why has everyone in the antivirus industry kept quiet about it until now? Has it really taken them years to reverse engineer it?


For one thing, it doesn't operate like conventional spyware: Regin doesn't form a remotely controlled botnet – suggesting its masters really didn't want it to be found – nor does it harvest personal financial information.

Instead it collects intelligence useful to state spies. Coupled with the fact that virtually no infections have been reported in the US, UK or other Five Eyes nations, some to suspect it's the work of the NSA, GCHQ or their contractors.
The NSA's fingerprints look to be all over this.  Of course, they've been all about intelligence gathering for, well, forever. 

It is interesting that it's taken 6 years for the antivirus industry to catch this, but it's plausible that the unusual behavior and small number of infected devices explain that.

Whether it's good politics to spy on our allies like this is another discussion.

Monday, November 24, 2014

What You Can See Coming

If the President Leader can ignore laws, the Constitutional system, and his own Oath of Office to grant amnesty to people who entered the country illegally, and Congress responds to this by adjourning for the holiday, what's to stop him from do the same thing with any other pesky issue that gets in the way, like gun control?

No, I didn't see that coming

One Million Steps

Here's a book recommendation. And here's an interview with the author, Bing West. Mr. West was an infantry officer in VietNam, served as an assistant Secretary of Defense under Pr. Reagan, and authored a series of books. I think this one is his best work.

This book is about a platoon at war. Really at war. This isn't nation building. This is small unit patrols, IEDs, and casualties. Day after day.

One Million Steps should be mandatory reading for every citizen who wants to understand the reality of the war we are in with those who would destroy our civilization and kill us. It is a stunning, sobering, and brilliantly written book.”—Newt Gingrich

Basil Hayden

My new favorite bourbon.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

For Jay G, The Chevy 789

 Jay G posted up some Friday Car Pr0n and he questioned how well a retro '57 Bel Air or Nomad would do in the market and whether it would get done right.

Here's one answer, the Chevy 789, taking features from the '57, '58, and '59 Chevrolet, grafted onto the body of a C5 or C6 series Corvette. The body is hand done. The engine is replaced with one a number of high performance options. There's a theme to them, but each one is unique.

They look like this.

It's a Grail Car. With the starter car for this project being a late model Corvette, and the cost of the mod, one of these will set you back at least $140,000.

It's been a long time

... since I've made Mickey Mouse pancakes.

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Saturday, November 22, 2014

The Forgotten War

No, not Korea.

The forgotten war of the 1920s and the 1930, the Banana Wars.

Haiti --1915 to 1934.
Dominican Republic--1916-1924.
Honduras, where the term "banana republic" was coined to describe the use of U.S. Marines in support of the United Fruit Company--off and on between 1903 and 1925.


And since I like stories about Marines, here's one.

Christian Frank Schilt, one of the early pilots in the Marine Corps, received the Medal of Honor for actions taken in January of 1928 in Nicaragua. Here's the citation:
During the progress of an insurrection at Quilali, Nicaragua, 6, 7, and 8 January 1928, 1st Lt. Schilt, then a member of a marine expedition which had suffered severe losses in killed and wounded, volunteered under almost impossible conditions to evacuate the wounded by air and transport a relief commanding officer to assume charge of a very serious situation. 1st Lt. Schilt bravely undertook this dangerous and important task and, by taking off a total of 10 times in the rough, rolling street of a partially burning village, under hostile infantry fire on each occasion, succeeded in accomplishing his mission, thereby actually saving 3 lives and bringing supplies and aid to others in desperate need.
Christian Schilt went on to serve in the Pacific in WWII, then was commander of the 1st Marine Airwing in Korea. He retired as a 4-star in 1957. There were not many times during his career that the gates to the temple would have been closed.

Old People Remember

Where were you?

I was six. In first grade. The custodian came into the room and put black cloth over the American flag. The teacher announced what had happened, then sat down at her desk, put her face in her hands, and cried.

I got back on a motorcycle today

Cowboy up.

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Breakfast of (Kentucky) Champions

Hot Brown and Ale 8. And a birthday party. Been quite a while since I've been around small kids. It's as fun now as it was then.

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