This tag is associated with 9 posts

In need of a GUFFAW today!

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(and how his reflection somehow became his wife’s!)

I Drive A GM Car

Not by choice.

My beloved ’89 Isuzu Trooper (Molly’s Trolley) gave up the ghost in 2002.  I traded in her carcass for the only ‘decent’ car I could then qualify for.  A 2000 Oldsmobile Intrigue.

Which I still own and sometimes drive.  In 2015.

Because my being on disability means I just squeak by, and cannot afford car payments.  My last significant repair cost over $700, which I borrowed from my roommate and paid back @ $100/month.  Plus my rent.  Ouch.

I’ve oft had fantasies of getting some extra funds.  Paying off long-overdue bills and maybe getting a slightly newer car.

And, considering the questionably available maintenance and longevity of the Olds, she still runs.  Sometimes.

So, why not a GM car?

Here’s why (from Say Uncle):

First, I (and you) foot the bill for their mismanagement and union kowtowing. Now, this:

Automakers are supporting provisions in copyright law that could prohibit home mechanics and car enthusiasts from repairing and modifying their own vehicles.

In comments filed with a federal agency that will determine whether tinkering with a car constitutes a copyright violation, OEMs and their main lobbying organization say cars have become too complex and dangerous for consumers and third parties to handle.

Good thing Dave-the-genius-mechanic is moving out-of-state!  Wouldn’t want him to get in trouble for tinkering with my car.  After all, he just repairs Airbus A320s for U.S. Air American Airlines!

Guess I will now always need a G(overnment) Motors –  approved shop!

And the sad part (aside from Dave leaving the State!:-( ) is of all the beater cars I’ve owned, THIS is the one who lasted the longest!

Red Light – Green Light

red lightRemember that game growing up?

John Lott gives us yet another perspective:

From the Wall Street Journal:

The Chicago Tribune delivered the “first-ever scientific study” of the nation’s biggest camera program. Researchers commissioned by the paper found little or no safety benefit: Mid-intersection “T-bones” declined, but rear-end collisions sharply increased as drivers slammed on the brakes to avoid a ticket. Most damning, the Trib cited the city’s “long-standing reliance on using the lowest possible yellow light time” to maximize revenues even at the cost of encouraging more accidents. . . .

Apparently, the message is getting out as the company that have made these cameras are slowly exiting the business.

With Redflex losing money in North America, its Australian parent company recently instructed him to “de-risk the business” by diversifying into electronic toll-taking and traffic management. Nonetheless Mr. Saunders remains keen to rescue the reputation of photo enforcement, even if that seems like a Hail Mary at this point. . . .

My ex lived in Philly for about 10 years, and they had a government contractor maintaining the traffic signals so poorly that both turned green.  And her new car was totaled.

And there was no one to answer for it from the government works.

Yes, my friends, government works for the common good!

NO…stop a minute!




not my car, same color

…well, more problems with my 2000 Oldsmobile Intrigue!

I was running an important errand for roommate J. evening last (well, going to a soft ice cream emporium for pumpkin pie blizzards appropriately healthy treats!), when I noticed the car was running kinda doggy.  And the battery light on the dash lit up – as did some other miscellaneous lights.  And even seeing the lit dashboard was becoming a challenge…!

All this while in line at the DQ!

Fortunately (or perhaps, unfortunately) this is about 1/4 mile South of our residence.

So I limped her home in the dark, lights and engine in various states of fail, praying for her not to die in the street.  And for no constables to be patrolling nearby.  And my prayers were answered!


I was able to coax her to just outside our respective marked covered parking spaces.  Emphasis on the just.

And there she died.

I attempted to physically push her into my space, being the fat cripple I am, and failed miserably.  And the area directly behind the parking spaces is a private drive – a road – wherein traffic has been known to travel.  So I couldn’t just leave her there!  The H.O.A. would have her towed probably before my key hit my lock.

So, I called J., my roommate, landlady, and friend, who was lounging inside awaiting her Blizzard healthy snack.  Thank the gods for cellular telephones.

She responded tuit suite, and together we pushed my Intrigue into my space.  Again kinda.

She’s difficult to maneuver with no power steering, and two persons-of-our-vintage with various physical issues don’t help much, either.  J. had to retreat because of her asthma and move HER car to a different space so mine can sit comfortably – albeit diagonally – across our two allotted spaces.

Next, the problem of diagnosing what exactly is wrong, and coming up with the money to fix her.

SIGH – it’s always something!

At least she’s not on the street!  🙂

AND, about an hour later, there was enough juice to close the driver’s window and secure the vehicle!  HUZZAH!

“It’s Never As Easy As It Looks!”

When I was a P.I., working the Bob H. at T.E. & A (enough initials for you?), I remember getting cases that had little information with which to start, but soon, all fell into place.  And others that appeared to be a slam dunk, only to get mired in something complex and nerve-wracking.

I remember sharing my observations about all this with Bob, and he responded, “It’s never as easy as it looks.”  I told him we should have a sign over the squad room with that very saying.

Fast-forward from 1981 ’til today.  Here I am, post car repair.  My 2000 Olds Intrigue has been rapidly deteriorating over the past couple of months, in need of new front brakes and some-kind of engine-repair, minimally, just to keep her road worthy and safe.  (She also needs two tires, and A/C repair, but, those will have to wait. 😦  )

I just don’t have the funds.  I live paycheck-to-paycheck on my disability.

My dear roommate offered to front me some funds to get the necessary repairs done!  We got the car into a local garage of good reputation, and waited.  Turned out the engine problems were the result of the old ignition switch failing.  We opted for the generic switch over the factory ($300 difference!) and this gives me one key for the door, a second for the ignition.  No big deal, right?

Well, not exactly.  These are not your grandfather’s ignition switches.  Seems they are having difficulty getting the security of the key to match the security programmed into the car.  Or something.

It’s never as easy as it looks!  And all this to make a 15 year old beater drivable again.


(Update – I got my car back, ignition switch now working, and engine running better than before, but not like new.  The brakes have been replaced, but the dashboard brake light comes on after about 20 brakings and stays on until the car sits for about 20 minutes(!)  Of course, it’s SUNDAY, and the earliest I can get back to the garage is Tuesday.)

It IS never as easy as it looks!


(Update Two – I bought two ‘gently used’ tired for the front, as the ones I had were paper thin.  Good news – they hold air, and are balanced!  Bad news – my right front wheel has two partly stripped lugs.  So I’m running on four instead of six.  It’s always something.)

(Update Three – my SESservice engine soon – light went on when I dared drive FIVE miles, yesterday!)

“I’m from the government, and…

…I’m here to protect you!”

NHTSA to require backup cameras on all vehicles

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration issued a proposed rule Monday (two weeks ago) requiring all new light vehicles — including cars, SUVs, trucks and vans — to have “rear-view visibility systems,” in effect, requiring backup cameras.

The rule — which would be final in 60 days — would start phasing in on May 1, 2016 models and be at 100% May 1, 2018.

Yes, my friends, the almighty government is saving us once again.

It is to be ultimately a NERF™ WORLD!

I thing JayG said it best:

The problem isn’t that drivers can’t see the people behind them, it’s that the drivers aren’t looking. The video that plays in the accompanying story is a very sad one indeed – a woman out for a walk was backed over by a teenaged driver. It’s terrible, certainly, and 100% avoidable. But to think that a backup camera would make a teenager pay better attention? REALLY?

Driving, not unlike carrying a firearm, is an inherently dangerous act!


h/t MArooned

♫ You’ve Got To Have Friends…♫

I’ve been known to be self-centered.  It’s one of my character defects.  Not to make excuses, but, I’ve had many bad things happen in my life.  I need to remember many other people have things much worse.

I own a 2000 Oldsmobile Intrigue.  Not my first choice, but the 1989 Isuzu Trooper gave up the ghost @ 170,000 miles.  In 2002.  And I didn’t have many choices, due to my financial condition.

All things considered, she’s been a good car.  Very reliable, except batteries (an Arizona heat constant) and failing engine sensors – something I’m told starts happening around 125,000 miles.  She has 137K.  And her A/C stopped working three or four years ago.  Not a big deal in much of the U.S., but in Arizona, a big deal.  115 degree Summers, and all.

I’ve been blessed with a cadre of terrific friends, who have given their time, money, effort and moral support over the years.  Two of these friends are Ms. T. and Mr. K.

I met them when I worked @ TMCCC.  T was a co-worker when we were doing credit card fraud investigations.  K later joined the department.  Both were going to school to further their educations and employment opportunities.  T now teaches at the college level, and K is an engineer at a major aircraft firm.

K became aware of my Intrigue’s air conditioning problems when he and T helped me move last Summer.  And said he would check into it.  I know he’s busy, so I didn’t push him.  After all, it’s been years.

Last week, T called and asked if I were available.  K was making his auto-mechanic rounds among friends and wanted to stop by to assess my car.  I said please.

In short, after some analysis and addition of new coolant (including some with stop-leak) my Olds’ air conditioning is now working!  And, as she’s not quite fully charged, he asked me to check back with him in a month and advise if she’s losing coolant, so more could be done.

I’m speechless.  So I’m writing.  🙂

I could go on and on about having a 14 year old car.  Or losing my home last year.  Or being on disability and barely making it.  Or having numerous medical ‘issues’.

But, that’s the wrong attitude.  K is one of those men who just gives.  And is uncomfortable when he is thanked for his doing so.

♫You’ve got to have friends.♫  

Thank you, regardless, K.  And T.  For all you do and have done.  You’ve got to have friends!

‘Of all the vehicles I’ve loved before…’

The lovely Tamara had a recent post regarding personal vehicles, with political stickers there-a-fixed.  The consensus among correct-thinking-folks is to maintain a low profile.  No longer is a pro-gun, gun rights or even a libertarian rear plaque or bumper sticker deemed appropriate.

At the very least it’s considered non-tacticool.  Don’t want to alert potential auto-burglars of the Glock possibly stuffed under the seat in our absence!  (One of the Bob’s had one stolen outside a coffee shop in broad daylight!)

In my callow youth, I owned a number of nondescript cars, mostly with libertarian bumper stickers attached.  Never had a problem.  One did read ‘Question Authority‘.  Never had a problem during traffic stops for not current registration.

But, as the 90s appeared, and political clouds foretold of personal liberties being trashed (the Clinton Assault Weapon Ban, for example), I opted to be less visible.  Not concerned with the bad guys (criminals) as much as the bad guys (government).  And I attached fewer stickers.

After the accident, I acquired my dream vehicle – a 1989 Isuzu Trooper.  Molly and I had been looking at them, as the ‘gee, perhaps one day’ car to take us to the desert to shoot.  She never got to see her, but she paid for her.

She was christened Molly’s Trolley with a dash placard.  And once my time payment Life Membership to the NRA was paid off, I affixed an appropriate sticker on the driver’s wing window.  Remember those – wing windows?

But no other defilement was allowed.  Low profile, in a silver 4×4 with a cammie spare tire cover.  Yeah right.  And many trips were made to the desert, and to friends in New River.  And other places.


My youthful dreams of joking magnetic door signs reading ‘ANFO Distributing‘ never happened.  And I never even considered the ubiquitous gun show sale bumper sticker, ‘Vote From The Rooftops‘.

I did see (once, during the Nixon years) a sticker on another car reading, ‘Where is Lee Harvey Oswald When You Need Him?

I don’t think that would fly, today.  No one remembers who he was.

h/t Siddhartha, Tam

“This is my Cah Gun.” Part Two

A while back (in that other software platform) I wrote about cah car guns.
What kind of firearm?   Is it readily accessible or in a lock box?
Which brings us to Part Two:  Is it somewhere in the vehicle or on your person, AND, can you access it with speed should the need arise?
Not only that, but, does it live in the cabin, visible from the outside, when you are not present?  And, if not, but it does stay there, how is it secured?
I’ve a couple gunnie friends who lost their firearms to auto burglaries, even though they weren’t visible from the exterior and there we no gunnie-type stickers (e.g. Security by Smith & Wesson) to alert burglars attention.
Serendipity for the burglars, I guess.
Can you access it safely (even if there are passengers) and quickly while driving?
Being left-handed, at least I’ve an easier time shooting from the driver’s side.
Brigid keeps hers thus.And who knows what else she carries…
Mine’s on my side.
Whatever works!

"Round up the usual suspects."

In Loving Memory…