Friday, February 22, 2008


Okay, Munson, I’ll play ball, and provide my own free sample of the “blog” we’ve all been sparing one another, at least until a few days ago.

Or how about “lurb,” as a contraction of web-blurb? Maybe it will catch on! Well, wasn't that sarcastic.

I heard on the radio today that 41% of the cars on the road are at least eleven years old. In my own stable, that figure is more like 33%, down from 50% about a month ago. Does that make me a “new car guy?” I hope not. My philosophy on car ownership is to get a quarter of a million miles before relinquishing my grip on the steering wheel. For many folks intent on saving the planet, [gasoline not burned] seems to trump [old cars left to rot] plus [energy and resources expended building replacement cars]. Personally, I feel worse about the indestructible and/or toxic car parts going into the ground forever, and try to put one there as rarely as practical. By the way, I wonder where all the five-year batteries from the hybrids are going to go? Not that I worry much about it. New propulsion technology is sick :{

Maybe someday Don and I will convert the Sonex to electric.

Anyway, my new road machine has seven seats, and on its maiden voyage to Laguna Hills (five seats occupied) we managed approximately 26.8 mpg. That’s over 130 occupied-seat-miles per gallon (about 41% better than my station wagon). Not bad! (insert link to Unocal video.) I plan to take good care of this behemoth (or “urban assault vehicle,” as Victor labeled it), as I don’t plan on replacing it until I’m ready for a two-seater for visiting the kids at college. I have never actually achieved the quarter million figure (miles, anyway), though our 1976 Caprice Classic hit 205,000 before we loaded it on the junkyard truck. Classic. Lotta Stickmen stories involving that car. One on this site, I think!

One on, one off.

One of the sky pilot’s nightmares is the dreaded box-canyon 180. That’s degrees, for those of you who care passionately about units, like I do (though angle measurements are actually dimensionless). Anyway, with canyon walls closing in on both sides, how do you fly back the way you came? A column I read today by my favorite aviation writer, Barry Schiff, proposes that for a practical minimum radius turn in a typical lightplane, you should add a notch of flaps, bank 60 degrees, and pull two g ... at 41% above power-off stall speed. At that bank angle, load factor doubles; stall goes as the square root. It's a bad idea to go any slower.

And no, the song “April” does not refer to a Chevy Caprice. It was a Chevy Nova, and on second thought, no laws were broken that I am aware of, unless you count laws of gettin’ it on (we didn’t). You’re welcome.

And no, that song is not on my iPod. While Munson is getting messy in the boys’ room*, my own stall work-dodge of the day featured Woody Guthrie’s “Grand Coulee Dam” from 1944, and Nirvana’s 1993 cover of Leadbelly’s “Where Did You Sleep Last Night.”

That’s at least as cool as humming Enya in a Home Depot. Guys?

But the real excitement was in my 2001 Impala, where I started listening to Matt’s unwanted CD collection. Very good stuff. Over the coming weeks, I will be digging into his extensive cache of REM maxi-singles and Smiths radio sessions. I also think I found my missing copy of Blood Sugar Sex Magic from twelve years ago. Surprisingly, the music still holds up. Turns out it was produced by Rick Rubin, which kind of explains things. Also, Norah Jones, which whizzed by while I was starting a family. Vic once quipped that her music is “jazz for the attention-defecit-disorder crowd.” The single is pretty cool. The next track kind of blew, and that’s as far as I got. Kinda proves Victor's point.

Munson has everything he needs burned to his iPod. Call me old fashioned; I still like to hold the printed artifact in my hands. I recognize that I’m swimming against the tide, but listening to Matt’s CD collection is good compensation. Kind of makes me wonder why I want to record a CD, if no one listens to them anymore. Did a quick Google search and found that Warner Music Group’s digital revenue is now $141 million, or 14% of total sales. That’s up 41% over the same quarter in 2006.

* Matt has been baiting me for weeks with lurid stories of lapses in personal cleanliness, waiting to see when I will spill the beans to my extensive readership, which is to say, him.


Don's Drums said...

The funny thing about ipods and mp3s is that they prove that sound quality is important to only a small percentage of people. It's almost as if quality went up from the old phonograph cylinders, peaked at the CD, and then went back downhill.

Swamptooth said...

I feel better about my CD collection when I consider that a lot of people are still stuck at vinyl. I wonder if anyone is still set up to press 78's or even cylinders? I mean, if no one is going to listen anyway, who cares if it's an inconvenient format?