Sunday, October 11, 2015

The steel wheels on some old Chevy Astro Vans and GMC Safari Vans may be hiding dangerous rust-through damage

At a distance (with one of the abandoned lakefront OMC buildings as a backdrop) the wheels on this 16-year-old >178,000 miles (AKA "Clunker") GMC Safari Van look acceptable.

Close up, for the most part, they still look okay.

Now lets remove that durable, non-removable, chrome facia (it is mounted to the steel wheel with an industrial-grade adhesive) and see what is hidden from view.

 Yep, on all but one wheel, the steel is rusted clean through in some very critical structural areas.

Not all of the wheels on all of the Chevy Astro Vans and the GMC Safari Vans were made the same way and not all of them have had 16-winters of exposure to road salt, but these wheels certainly do look to be a high-speed-pothole away from causing a serious situation.

The tires on this van are 5-years-old but have less than 15,000-miles on them; there is plenty of tread left.  Because of some slow leaks, earlier this year I had the beads on all tires cleaned and sealed; I also had the valve stems replaced.  The point being is that a well known, highly respected tire outfit missed the fact that all of the wheels on this particular vehicle were unsafe at any speed.

Although the old tires were salvageable, I decided to order 4 new tires to go with the requisite 4 new wheels.

Monday, October 5, 2015

The Beretta Cheetah 84 FS .380 ACP is top quality, old school, made in Italy elegance.

Caliber .380 ACP (aka 9mm Kurz, 9mm Corto, 9 Short, 9x17mm)
Double action / single action
Barrel length = 3.8''
Magazine capacity = 13 (10-round available for those suffering triskaidekaphobia)
Pistol height = 4.8''
Pistol length = 6.1''
Pistol width = 1.4''
Sight radius = 4.9''
Weight = 23.3 ounces (unloaded)
Frame = alloy

The 84 FS does kinda look like a shrunken version of the Beretta 92 FS. 

If asked to choose a half-dozen models of .380 ACP pistols as my favorites above all other available models of .380 ACP pistols, I would have to decline the request.  Of all the different models of .380 pistols that the market has to offer, I have affection for only a very few, the Beretta 84 Cheetah being the most recent (and likely the final) addition to my small but eclectic .380 collection.  The Cheetah is intended to be a shooter (as opposed to a "Safe Queen") and a carry piece once I feel comfortable with it at the range, and subsequent to logging substantial time carrying it inside appropriate holsters.  It may take up to a year for me to see if this pistol suits me like I believe it will.

Each of the three .380 pistols in the above photo will fit into the side pocket of all brands of my bluejeans.  Simply fitting into a pocket does not make a handgun a practical pocket carry. The easiest pocket carry is obviously the Seecamp, followed by the PPK.  The Cheetah is akin to pocket carry of the chubby little Glock 26.  If the pocket bulge is going to be equal I would likely opt for the 11-round capacity of the more powerful 9x19mm G26 over the 14-round capacity of the 9x17mm Beretta 84. However, for knock-about shoulder holster carry or IWB carry, the Beretta suits me a bit better than does the G26. The Beretta also fits my hand far better than does the G26.

The thumb safety on the PPK flips UP to fire.  The thumb safety on the Beretta 84 FS flips DOWN to fire. That would be confusing during a life threatening situation; it is unwise for me to carry both of those pistols at the same time or to frequently alternate carry between those two.  The Seecamp has no external safety; it is a simple point-and-click self-defense device.  The Seecamp internal safety blocks the trigger when the magazine is removed.  The Beretta Cheetah internal safety "disconnects" the trigger when the magazine is removed.  The PPK has no magazine safety.

Capacity of each (with a full mag and a round in the chamber):
Beretta 84 FS = 14 rounds
Walther PPK = 7 rounds
LW Seecamp = 7 rounds

The most felt recoil is with the Seecamp and the least is with the Beretta (although, unloaded, the steel frame PPK and the alloy frame 84 FS Cheetah weigh about the same).  As far as getting the most velocity out of the .380 ACP, the longer barrel of the Beretta should lead that race followed by the PPK and then the Seecamp.

The Beretta has a bit more sight radius than does the PPK.  The Seecamp has no sights whatsoever but many shooters find the stylish little last-ditch-self-defense belly-gun capable of adequate accuracy at surprising distances.

In the above photo, the Walther PPK is stacked on the side of the Beretta 84 FS Cheetah.  The Cheetah is a bit longer and a bit taller than the PPK.  Sized to fit the 13-round double-stack magazine, the grip of the Cheetah 84 is far thicker than that of the PPK.  Although it is a bit more difficult for me to conceal than is the PPK, the added ammo capacity is an attaction and the Beretta is far more comfortable in my hand.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Another project for this year is complete. After many years, we can again park a car inside the garage.

That photo of the snow covered Chevy Cobalt is from the 2015 Super Bowl Sunday Blizzard.   I made a promise then that I would clear enough crap out of the garage so we could park at least one car inside before the next winter.  Not all of the crap in the garage was ours.  Some was storage for an evicted next-door neighbor (from 4-years-ago), some was from my Daughter's family when they moved to a new house that has no garage or basement.  Most of the crap, however, was mine.  It took some doing, but I got it done.  When will our two car garage again fit two cars?  Ahem, well, that will take further effort and engineering.   Perhaps I can have it done by the end of next year.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Come on Mr. President!

Fair is fair.  You just needed one bad day of fate during your youth and it would have messed you up forever.  You were only one choom session or "doing a little blow" from being THIS GUY instead of growing up to become the POTUS. 

PLEASE RELEASE non-violent drug users of all colors and cultures from our prisons.  Wholesale Presidential Pardons are in order.  You want a legacy like no other in history?  THIS IS IT!

Monday, September 7, 2015

... but ... but ... but ... THAT'S AGAINST THE LAW!

The badguys get their guns from where?  Seriously?  Golly, I never would have guessed.

Politicians need to pass a law requiring people to obey the law ... or sumpin' like dat.  I thought that the skinny little New York billionaire and all of his mothers had this figured out already.  Disobeying the law should be against the law; that's just common sense.

In the meantime, what we need are more better signs!

Saturday, September 5, 2015

This blog post contains gratuitous photos of pure filth

(Obviously, the replacement filter is on the right)

I finally got around to changing the cabin air filter in my 10-year-old Chevy Cobalt.  Actually, until recently I did not know that there was a filter anywhere in there; over the years, most all of the maintenance of the car was done by a dealer and never once was there a mention of a cabin air filter.  Live and learn.  I was researching something unrelated when I ran across the video for changing the filter.

We bought the car brand new in 2005 and I figured we would put around 10-years on it before we started shopping for a new one. Since I reckoned that we only had a couple of more years left on this car at the most, initially I was going to just remove the filter rather than replace it.  Once I saw how much crud it had filtered out over the years, I decided that replacing the filter was likely worth the small amount of money and bother.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Actually many types of signs do save lives

(Source )

STOP SIGNS, for instance, do save lives if obeyed.  Ummmmm, however I do believe she is wrong about the NO GUNS signs.  IMHO, other than as a hollow political statement, signs declaring NO GUNS are worthless; the gun-toting bad-guys will ignore them and the gun-toting good-guys may just take their business elsewhere.