Monday, May 30, 2011


It was 92 degrees when I started this ill-advised bicycle trip, and 95 when I got back. Only about ten miles, and I had plenty of water (and ice!) but it was hard going. The new kevlar-lined tires worked fine. Stopped under a shade tree, rested and downed an icy cold soft drink, then headed home.

Last week this bike and I were touring the wilds of the Monon Trail in deepest, darkest Broadripple. Around here, though, you make the best of the sidewalks and parking lots.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Grand Prix in Blu-ray

It's finally here! The 1966 movie Grand Prix is finally available in Blu-ray, transfered from original 65mm to 1080i. And it is beautiful. Particularly the first 20 minutes or so, at the Monaco Grand Prix. That's American driver Richie Ginther below, probably in the "camera car", a real Formula One car with a 65mm Super Panavision camera.

Lots of great "extras" on the disk. The director, John Frankenheimer (who also directed Ronin), describes how he was shown the door at Ferrari, when he came to ask for their assistance. Mr. Ferrari didn't want anything to do with the movie and wouldn't allow the Ferrari "prancing horse" logo to be shown, or any mention of the word "Ferrari" to be in the movie. So after the Monaco footage was shot, Frankenheimer begged for the opportunity to show a rough-cut of the footage. Mr. Ferrari was so impressed and enthusiastic that he gave the film makers complete access, even allowing them to film in the Ferrari factory, an absolutely unheard-of concession. In the snap below, Enzo Ferrari (on the right) is meeting actor Adolfo Celi, who played Senor Manetta, a thinly-disguised version of Mr. Ferrari.

In another "extra", someone recounts a conversation between a young Jackie Stewart and the legendary Jim Clark. Stewart and Clark were discussing how to handle a certain corner.

“I lost it at the Station hairpin,” Stewart said.

“Did you shunt?”

“No I recovered, caught it and didn't hit anything.”

“How'd you do THAT?” Clark asked.

At first, Stewart was pleased that he had impressed the great Jim Clark, but as he gained more experience he realized that he had profoundly misunderstood. Clark was asking why Stewart wasn't driving at 100%, right on the edge, where there is no recovery, but where a driver has to be if he wants to be World Champion.

But it's the race footage and the editing that makes this movie so special. The plot, involving the love lives of three or four drivers, is ridiculous and hackneyed. But Yves Montand is good, and so is Antonio Sabato. Even Toshiro Mifune does well, although his audio bothers me. It looks dubbed or looped in, and badly.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

When In Indianapolis...

A two-hour tour of Fry's Electronics is de rigueur in Indianapolis.

But you should also try the food:

The banana walnut coffee at Cafe Pretentiu, or their vegan Bloody Mary.

The Reuben dog at King David's Hotdogs (just across the street from Morton's).

The chili cheese etouffe at Yat's.

The cheese quiche at Taste that was as fluffy as egg custard.

Morel mushrooms from Locally Grown Gardens, sauted in Irish butter.

And the guns:

The Darne shotgun at 500 Guns, 20-gauge with case coloring as beautiful as I have ever seen - like woodgrain in steel; or the Enfield Mk. 4 Trainer in original .22LR.

The Savage Navy side-hammer revolver at Beech Grove Firearms, with two triggers, one to rotate the cylinder and one to trip the hammer.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Further This Respondent Sayeth Not

Overheard at the outdoor flea market at the Dayton Hamvention:

Turk: "Check out that great-looking 19" Bud equipment cabinet."

Roberta X: "I wish I had a rack like that!"

Turk: "#%*?@!"

Monday, May 23, 2011

Super Bee

Indiana State Fairgrounds.

Dodge Daytona

As red as red can be!

Indiana State Fairgrounds.

Breakfast Of Champions

Hash browns, fruit salad, a side order of bacon and a cuppa Joe.

At Taste.

Blood Orange Vinegar

At Locally Grown Gardens.

Sunday, May 22, 2011


Having wonderful time, wish you were here!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Dayton 25

Dayton 24

Swiss Enigma machine.

Dayton 23

Big tubes!

Dayton 22

Manual Microstatic Frequency Modulation.

Dayton 21

A genuine BC-AG-229!

Dayton 20

More tubes!

Dayton 19


Dayton 18

Just. Stuff.

Dayton 17

Air Chief!

Dayton 16

Tiny transmitter.

Dayton 15

Command sets, still available.

Dayton 14

Keys! Uh-oh!

Dayton 13

Audio mixer.

Dayton 12

Acres and acres of cool stuff!

Dayton 11

Biggest knife switch yet!

Dayton 10


Dayton 09

Smallest key EVER!

Dayton 08

Crypt on!

Dayton 07

Don't bug me!

Dayton 05

Flea market.

Dayton 04

Military sets.

Dayton 03

Portable power?

Dayton 02

This doesn't do SSB does it?

Dayton 01

Giant heat sinks!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Jaguar XK-150

Beautiful car sitting in the parking lot of the Best Western in Zanesville, Ohio.

Makin' Tracks

On my way to Indy, I make it a point to stop at Tari's Cafe in Berkeley Springs, WV for lunch. Today's lunch special was a prime rib sanwich on panini bread. Delicious!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Selling Gold To Build Slums...What a Deal!

With the United States poised to slam into its debt limit Monday, conservative economists are eyeballing all that gold in Fort Knox. There’s about 147 million ounces of gold parked in the legendary vault. Gold is selling at nearly $1,500 an ounce. That’s many billions of dollars in bullion.

“Its just sort of sitting there,” said Ron Utt, a senior fellow at the Heritage Foundation. “Given the high price it is now, and the tremendous debt problem we now have, by all means, sell at the peak.”

More at WaPo

The federal government’s largest housing construction program for the poor has squandered hundreds of millions of dollars on stalled or abandoned projects and routinely failed to crack down on derelict developers or the local housing agencies that funded them.

Nationwide, nearly 700 projects awarded $400 million have been idling for years, a Washington Post investigation found. Some have languished for a decade or longer even as much of the country struggles with record-high foreclosures and a dramatic loss of affordable housing.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, which oversees the nation’s housing fund, has largely looked the other way: It does not track the pace of construction and often fails to spot defunct deals, instead trusting local agencies to police projects.

The result is a trail of failed developments in every corner of the country. Fields where apartment complexes were promised are empty and neglected. Houses that were supposed to be renovated are boarded up and crumbling, eyesores in decaying neighborhoods.

Also at WaPo.

Why stop there? I wonder how much the Chinese would pay to own Area 51? Enough to wipe out our trade balance and then some, wouldn't you say?

Friday, May 13, 2011

The Great Game

Let's say, just for the sake of argument, that Pakistan's ISI (or someone or some cabal within it) knew where OBL was hiding out. And let's say that the CIA, knowing that the ISI was playing a double game, inserted a source within the ISI to keep the CIA advised on what was going on within the pro-OBL faction. And let's say that the CIA learned from this source where OBL was probably hiding. But the ISI couldn't strike, because OBL would be tipped off by his ISI insiders. And the CIA couldn't strike either, because doing so would cause questions to be asked that would expose their source within the ISI.

What to do?

Well, a cover story involving an elaborate job of sleuthing and a CIA safe house in Abbottabad would explain how the CIA knew where OBL was, without threatening their source within the ISI.

OK, conspiracy mode OFF.

Lost Posts

Blogger crashed and lost a couple of my posts.

Probably I'm not the only one.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Obi-Wan Kenobi Is Dead, Vader Says

Outstanding NYT parody with impeccable attention to detail.

You can see the original here:

Maps and GPS

Last week I had a flat tire on my bicycle and had to walk home. This simple task was complicated by the layout of the suburban streets hereabouts. I could get to within 100 yards of my home, but could not reach it without crossing private homes and climbing backyard fences. The shortest alternate route was a two-hour walk, which I did.

It seems the local pols have had a policy of closing streets and erecting fences to limit motor vehicle traffic in residential areas. And it also prevents bicycle traffic and sometimes even foot traffic.

At the time, I asked my GPS to find me a quick route home, but the suggested route directed me to pass through a barricade at a closed intersection. This barricade even had a chain-link fence with a narrow right-left-right pedestrian chicane, to prevent folks from bringing bicycles through!

Here's the view from Tom-Tom:

I was at the intersection of Mathews and Grayson and I wanted to get to the little "home" icon. But no, the road is closed, as shown on this view provided by Google Maps:

Silverwood Lane is a blocked-off alley, with dozens of small trees growing there, and completely impassible.

Tom-Tom does allow users to make "corrections" to their maps and now when I call up the same intersection I see this:

Here's a closer look:

Silverwood Lane is still there, but Tom-Tom will no longer try to route me through this intersection.

Today I bicycled 2 miles to the local Starbucks for breakfast and I crossed over I-95. As I did I noticed that the northbound lanes were jammed but the southbound lanes were moving well:

Facing south, with northbound traffic on the left and southbound traffic on the right. The two center lanes are the reversible HOV commuter lanes that drove Jay G so crazy when he was here a couple of weeks ago: "They go one way in the mawnin', and the other way in the awftahnoon! Those Vahginyuns ah wicked crazy!"

And here's the traffic view from Tom-Tom at the same spot:

The orange arrows on white background indicate a traffic jam to be avoided. And only in the northbound lanes. My Blackberry using Garmin GPS could not differentiate between the lanes and simply reported the whole highway as jammed, even if traffic in one direction was moving normally.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Turning Mushrooms Into Gold

Two Canadian "wilderness hippies", Shawn Ryan and Cathy Wood, were eking out an existence picking mushrooms in the Yukon Territory. A government geologist encouraged them to bring back soil samples from their treks deep into the wilderness in search of mushrooms.

Now they control vast gold mining claims and are worth millions.

Wonderful long magazine story in the NYT.

Saturday, May 7, 2011


On sale near the National Archives in Washington, DC.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Indianapolis Blogmeet, Sunday May 22 at 3 PM

At the Broadripple Brew Pub

It's official.

From 2008: Old Grouch, Turk Turon, Roberta X, Brigid, Tam, Rob D and the Usual Suspects:

At the picnic table at Locally Grown Gardens (2009) with Shootin' Buddy, Shermlock Shomes, Roberta X, Old Grouch, Shermlock, Jr (aka Hagbard Celine), Joanna and Tam:

And from December, 2008 in the aforementioned Brewpub:
Yes, that IS Wolf Blitzer in the upper left corner.
There's lots of room! See? Please come.

And at Brugge in 2010:

Special guests have included Frank W. James, Og The Neanderpundit, Caleb, Red, PA State Cop, Rob D., Wayne, Nathan, Carteach0, Breda, Mike, Thirdpower and many others, too numerous to mention.

You'll be smilin', too!