Hypocrisy in the Middle East

Hypocrisy in the Middle East
“If honest democratic elections were held throughout the Middle East tomorrow, many countries would elect religious fundamentalist leaders hostile to the United States.”

In six short paragraphs this Congressman has summarized exactly why the US’ actions in the middle east over the past six years have been complete blunders. As Robert David Steele, the founder of the Marine Corps Intelligence Command famously said: “America has begun a hundred-year war on six different fronts precisely because the President lacked intelligence in every sense of the word”

The boobs in the White House have gone off half-cocked in all the wrong directions, over and over again. Completely unable and unwilling to finish what they start. If you recall the initial attacks were to bring Osama bin Laden “to justice”… well they abandonded that after a while and decided to institute a “regime change”… leaving that job unfinished, they then dropped that to win an election at home… something they actually accomplished, but with the message “stay the course.” I kept asking “What Course?” but nobody ever answered that question. Go figure. Now they’ve decided to “bring democracy to Iraq.”

Congressman Paul states the obvious point that I have always made, which is IF we allowed the citizens of these Arab nations actually vote in free elections, they all vote for Mullahs. Mullahs whose campaign promises and platform would all be “Death to America!”

Even a dim bulb like George W. Bush should be able to figure that out, right?

Apparently not.

Christopher’s first email from Chile

The beach was nice, but the pacific seems to be cold no matter where I go whether it be Alaska, Washington or Chile. I religiously applied sunscreen and avoided the sun as much as possible, but I managed to burn the one part of me I didnt expect to get burned or bother to apply sunscreen, back of my damn hands.

We received our first email from Chris in Chile today!

I emailed friends and family with his contact details last week. If you would like them let me know via email. (note: If you READ rather than click the “contact me via email” link over there in the right-hand column you can figure out how to contact me.)

He sounds well, and as I suspected is not quite up to speed with his Spanish language skills, but that will sort itself out naturally as time goes on.


According to my SCM pocket price guide, this car is worth AT LEAST $1,000,000. Yes, that says One Million Dollars. Feel free to hold up a pinky and impersonate Dr. Evil when you say that. Add to that fact a footnote which says “a car with all its original parts and no stories will bring three to four times that of a “bitsa” with only a few authentic parts.”

I had a chance to look over this car very closely prior to this … um… incident, and it appeared to be very original. The car had a wonderful patina and it appeared to be a survivor. Here is what happened as I understand it: On day two of the 2005 Colorado Grand, the owner of this car stopped in Telluride for some morning coffee as the rally left for Ouray and Durango. This was the day that we went intentionally off-route and the little Alfa SZ-1 punctured its gas tank on a chunk of rebar. Yes, two “ouches” in one day! A lady in an SUV backed into the bonnet of this Jaguar while leaving her parking space.

Mind you, only sixteen (though I have also heard the number 18) Jaguar XK-SS cars ever left the factory in Coventry. The XK-SS is therefore probably the most rare and valuable Jaguar car (with the possible exception of the XJ-13, of which only one exists.) A factory fire in the winter of 1957 destroyed all the tooling and remaining D-types which were being converted into XK-SS models. This car has a value somewhere between $1,000,000 and $2,000,000… possibly even more. So imagine what happened to the lady when she called her insurance company to report the “fender bender” or in this case “Bonnet bender”…

“Hello, Biginsuranceco, how can I help you?”
“Hi, I had a little accident.
“Is everybody OK? Can I have your policy number ma’am?”
“Yes, I’m fine, nobody got hurt. My policy number is (blah, blah, blah.)”
clickety-click “OK, here we go, I have your file. So tell me what happened.”
“Well, I stopped at Starbucks and climbed back into my Tahoe and started to back out of my space. I swear I didn’t see this little tiny car anywhere in my mirrors.”
“Alright, what happened next?”
“Anyway, I just barely tapped this eensy-weensy little sports car’s front side. It is barely a scratch! I swear, men are so hung up about cars… you would think the guy was going to have a heart attack, or cry or something. I apologized, but jeez!
“OK Ma’am, can I have the make and model of the car you hit?
“I didn’t HIT it, I barely scratched it!
“Sure ma’am… the make and model please?”
“I think he said it was a Jag-yooo-war.”
“clickety-click “OK, Jaguar. What model? XK8?”
“Something like that… XK-something… hold on, I have it written down, in fact it said it right above the scratch…”
“Take your time ma’am.”
“Here it is! XK-SS.”
clickety-click “I don’t have the model in my computer.. I have XK8, XKR, XJ, even XKE, but those are real old. Did the owner state what year it was?”
“Um, yeah… hang on… 1956”
“OK, bear with me, I have to do a special query for anything older than 1967. Just a moment…” clickety-click
“Is this going to take long? I have to pick up my children from soccer practice.”
clickety-click “Just a moment ma’am, we’ll have this wrapped up as soon as possible.” clickety-click
“That guy was so annoying… you would have thought I ran over his kid… “
clickety-click “uh-oh”
“Pardon me?”
“I said ‘uh-oh'”
“What do you mean… ‘uh-oh’?”
“I don’t know how to say this ma’am, other than… you just hit a car worth over one million dollars.”

Imagine what her premiums are now? Will anyone even insure her? Did her husband leave her? The possibilities are endless. Discuss…


I’ve been searching for this particular part, manufactured of pure Unobtanium, for well over a year. I’ve scoured eBay for the past year+ looking for one of these, which to the uninitiated is a stock air cleaner cannister for a Series 1 Jaguar E-type. They are available from the usual suppliers but I would have to mortgage my home, or sell of a child to slavery in order to purchase one. I prefer to remain out of debt, and the kids are a bit dear to their mother, so I’d risk a lot by selling one off.

So I turned to eBay. As I noted before some guy seemed to be buying every single one that came up, always outbidding me… even on fairly tired looking ones that would take a lot of effort to restore. I had a eBay search query that would email me whenever one showed up, and I’d dutifully place my bids (via a client’s excellent sniping service BidNip.com) and no matter what, somebody always had a higher proxy bid than me. I finally gave up about two months ago… for one life got too busy, but I was also pretty worn down after losing around seven consecutive auctions. Tired ones or incomplete ones seemed to sell for between $80 and $100. Really good ones sold for between $140 and $200.

The eBay search query was in retrospect redundant, because the guys over at the E-type mailing list on Jag-Lovers.org inevitably informed me when one showed up on eBay. Everyone knows I’ve been looking for one, though I hadn’t informed them that I had given up. So late last night Bruce Cox up in Vancouver emailed me and let me know about this auction.

This air cleaner cannister is decidedly NOT stock as it has been polished to within an inch of its life, but I’m OK with that. At least it won’t require a lot of “freshening up” like the plenum and trumpets I found on eBay seemingly two centuries ago.

Now my next trick is to find a Dyno. I can FINALLY lay to rest the never ending Great Air Filter Horsepower Debate, whereby the stock vs. K&N crowd can all finally STFU. 😉

The Truth About Cars | At some point in the not-so-distant future…

The Truth About Cars | At some point in the not-so-distant future…
“At the moment, car dealers’ profits increase in direct proportion to their ability to screw their customers and bilk the manufacturer.”

Farago does it again… distills the ills of an entire industry into one sentence. This is one of the reasons TTAC is by far my favorite “car” site on the Internet. The editorials and commentary are the most insightful and entertaining reading to be found on the subject. Anywhere.

Update on our downed tree.

If you recall, back in December we had a fierce windstorm that brought down a 103′ tall Douglas Fir in our backyard. We subsequently removed all the branches, and the top 30′ or so of the trunk to repair the fence. Since then life has been quite busy and complicated. But with Christopher finally away, we found ourselves a free weekend.

My friend Shawn Hammer, who grew up working for his dad’s logging company has the skills and experience to deal with this sort of thing, and he volunteered to assist. Armed with a chainsaw, he deftly had the tree down on the ground, and the bifurcated trunk separated. From there it was just a matter of slicing the trunks into fireplace sized chunks for me to later split.

Above: Shawn works his way along the first trunk.

Above: One down, one to go.

Thanks Shawn!

Now my backyard is filled with small Tootsie-Roll proportioned wood cylinders. Nick & I will have to gather them all up and move them to the driveway, and as soon as the sun comes out, I’ll have to start splitting and stacking them. At some point this spring I need to rent a back-hoe with a box blade to fix our gravel driveway, and I’ll take that opportunity to right the root ball.