A Sabot in the Gears?

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People sometimes accuse me of being a technophobe or even a Luddite because of my critiques of modern vehicles. But it’s not fear of technology that drives me.smash technology pic

It’s cost-benefit analysis.

Increasingly, the costs of all this technology are of little benefit – to me.

I don’t feel the need for six (or even one) air bag, so I’d rather not have to buy them. I find it annoying that – as in several new cars I’ve test-driven recently – merely to place a small package (such as a Subway sandwich) on the front passenger seat is sufficient to arouse the ire of the air bag sensor – which triggers an obnoxious “safety” chime urging me to buckle-up the sandwich.

And, no – I am not making that up.

It also annoys me that the radio cuts off – and a back-up camera advising me to “watch for safety” (Really? Where is he?) comes on the flat screen display I do not want whenever I put the car in reverse. My eyes work fine – and they’re free.  bluetoof

Since I am fine with my $12 plug-it-into-the-wall phone, I certainly feel no need for a Bluetooth-enabled touchscreen LCD display in my car. I am not a surgeon; lives do not depend on me. I do not need to be “reachable” wherever I am. Nor do I feel an urge to constantly gabble on – or peck at – a “device.”

But I digress.

One of the claimed superiorities of modern cars is that the pre-computer-era stuff is not viable for daily driving/regular use.


The truth is that any number of vehicles (cars and bikes) from the ’70s can be a daily driver – or rider – today. Indeed, with a few simple upgrades, you can have almost all the tangible, functional advantages of a modern car without the needless complexity, the excessive cost (the debt) or the frustration.overcomplex pic

My ’76 Kz900 Kawasaki, for instance. I’d not hesitate to ride this bike anywhere, including cross country. It is as reliable as any modern bike – arguably, more so. Because if something does go wrong with it, it is almost certain to be something I can deal with myself, with basic tools, right there by the side of the road.

There is no ECU or drive by wire throttle to fritz out. If a cable snaps, it’s both obvious – and easy to fix. Pretty much anything that might go wrong with the carburetors is something that a can of Gumout and a screwdriver can address. They might need cleaning and adjustment every now and then – but carburetors don’t just stop working – as electronic fuel injection sometimes does.

The old bike’s ignition system is simple, rugged and very durable. A modern bike’s is rugged and durable. But not simple. If something craps out – and there are many possibilities – look out. Not so with the Kaw. I replaced the original points with a breakerless system, but otherwise, it’s just two coils (one for each pair of cylinders) that typically last for decades (the ones on my ’76 are original; that is, they are almost 40 years old), a few wires, a simple charging system and very little to go wrong.saaaaafety

The engine has no “sensors” – so no worries about weird/intermittent/inexplicable problems. There are no “trouble codes,” no “check engine” flags. There is a tachometer (mechanically rather than electrically driven) a speedometer (again, mechanically driven) and an oil pressure gauge that I added because the bike originally came with just an idiot light for that.

This bike is not far from a half-century old – and it’s not only still running, it’s running reliably and cost-efficiently. (It gets about 40 MPG – and can still out-accelerate almost any new car.)

My ’70s-era Trans-Am is another case in point. No air bags, no computers, no TCS or ABS. Hence, a wiring harness that’s simple, durable – and most of all – cost-effective to replace, if it ever becomes necessary. So far – after 40 years – it has not been necessary.

I read an article recently in Hot Rod magazine about replacing the carburetor of an old muscle car – it was an early ’70s Hemi Charger – with a self-learning fuel-injection system. My eyes widened and jaw dropped as the article went on – as the writer (briefly, for obvious reason) sotto voiced the price for this “upgrade.” It was more than $2,000.


Now, I’ve upgraded my car with an overdrive transmission – which cost a bit less than the Hot Rod article’s fuel-injection system. This was a cost-effective upgrade.

Unlike the HR project car’s cash-burn festival.

But even so, either upgrade will yield tangible benefits – immediate, easy starting; the ability to precisely meter the fuel (in the case of aftermarket fuel-injection) and modern car “highway legs” (low engine RPM at high road speeds) and superb fuel economy, in the case of the overdrive transmission.

Without air bags. A black box narc. Annoying buzzers that will gradually drive you Abu Graib insane.air bag pic

You’ll end up with a better car, arguably. It will certainly be lighter (see my recent article comparing the weight of the new Camaro vs. the weight of my ’70s-era Pontiac) due to the lack of all the “safety” crapola that’s folded into the design of a modern car. And not just that. It will be less fragile – because it will not have flimsy, tinfoil-thick fenders and hoods that crumple beyond repair in even minor impacts; nor rubber/plastic front and rear “fascias” that tear beyond repair in minor impacts.

It will be simpler – and so easier to fix (yourself). And most of all, it will be yours to command, as opposed to a modern car’s commanding (and controlling) you.

The new stuff is by no means all bad. There’s a lot about it that’s very good. It’s just not what I want. Maybe you agree. And, like me, you’d rather not pay for what you don’t want – much as the government wants – no, insists – that you have.

Throw it in the Woods? 

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  1. Here’s a new study from the UK:

    More drivers shun seat belts: 180,000 are caught not wearing one as number given fixed penalties rises 17% in five years
    Motorists charged £8.2 million in fines for not wearing seat belts this year
    47 per cent say they didn’t know they could be fined over seat belts
    Six per cent of those surveyed say they don’t wear seat belts
    19 per cent of those killed in crashes last year were not wearing seat belts

    By Daily Mail Reporter

    The number of drivers being pulled over for not wearing seatbelts has soared.

    Nearly 180,000 fixed penalty notices were issued for seatbelt offences last year – a 17 per cent increase on the figure for 2009.

    More than 80,000 drivers have been penalised so far this year for not wearing a belt and have been charged £8.2 million in fines, according to LV car insurance from 28 of the 45 police forces in England, Wales and Scotland.

    Nearly 180,000 fixed penalty notices were issued for seat belt offences last year – a 17 per cent increase on the figure for 2009

    Nearly 180,000 fixed penalty notices were issued for seat belt offences last year – a 17 per cent increase on the figure for 2009

    In a survey also from LV, 47 per cent of motorists were unaware they could be fined for not wearing a seat belt.

    Of 1,578 drivers polled, 6 per cent of drivers admitted they did not wear a seat belt and one in ten said they don’t wear one when they are a front-seat passenger.






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    Almost a quarter of those surveyed said they do not always wear a seat belt when sitting in the back, and 42 per cent said they don’t wear one when travelling by taxi.

    Among those not wearing belts, older drivers said they were too restricting while younger motorists said they sometimes did not comply on short journeys

    Of 1,578 drivers polled, 6 per cent of drivers admitted they did not wear a seat and one in ten don’t wear one when they are a front-seat passenger

    Of 1,578 drivers polled, 6 per cent of drivers admitted they did not wear a seat and one in ten don’t wear one when they are a front-seat passenger

    A third of drivers aged 65 or more who did not wear seat belts said they were afraid of getting stuck in the car if they had an accident.

    LV said government figures showed that 19 per cent of people killed in car accidents last year were not wearing seatbelts. It added that of these, safety experts estimated that half would have survived if they had been restrained.

    LV managing director John O’Roarke said: ‘Wearing a seat belt can drastically improve your chances of survival in an accident, even if it’s just for a short journey.

    ‘The research shows that too many people are still taking unnecessary risks when driving or travelling as a passenger. There is only so much you can do to prevent being in a car accident but wearing a seat belt costs nothing and it may save your life one day.’

    Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2775792/More-drivers-shun-seat-belts-180-000-caught-not-wearing-one-number-given-fixed-penalties-rises-17-five-years.html#ixzz3F4b5WTJW

    • Hi Charles,

      It’s busybody-ism run amok.

      The state has no more business using force to compel people to wear seat belts than it does using force to compel them to eat their veggies.

      In both cases, the rationale is “reduced risk” (or limiting “costs imposed on society”).

      Well, if that’s to be applied fairly, it must be applied generally.

      Equal treatment before the law, right?

      It’s discriminatory to target the unbuckled while leaving the obese free to go about their business.

      Simple logic.

      So, the choice is:

      Either a busybody society in which anything we might do (or not do) is everyone else’s business – and subject to micromanagement.

      Or, we fucking leaver each other alone – unless what we’re doing is causing or immediately threatens to cause tangible harm to another person.

      A real person. A specific victim.

      Not “society” or the “public.”

      I’ll take option two, thanks very much!

  2. You want to talk ‘old’ movies – well, at least semi-old.
    To Sir with Love – one of ‘Sir’s’ male students says he will not be in class the next day. Asked why, he says he has to help his uncle with his cart. Pressed for further explanation, he says he needs to decide what type of cart he wants to get upon graduation. He is scornful of the idea of getting a job instead of being an independent cart owner.
    Granted, I noticed none of this the first time I saw it, in the ’60s.

    • Ah! Thanks, Phil/Bruce! I will give that movie a look. Love them old movies- the only kind I’ll watch!

      When i was a kid, it was my dream to have a clam boat. I actually did it- with $500 when I dropped-out of high school! Didn’t make much money- but it was one of the best experiences of my life!

      I’m 52, and have worked at a 9-5 job for a total of maybe 10 weeks out of my life. Ain’t rich…but i sure am happy- and have spent my life doing things that i love, with no regrets or compromises.

      Sadly, too few these days can say that.

      I’d rather be mowing lawns [Actually…I did used to mow lawns…in my 20’s!] than being one of those people I used to see on Long Island, getting on the train at 7AM, and coming home at 9 or 10PM….. So they make $100K a year. Big deal- most of ’em are living paycheck to paycheck- their property taxes alone are $10K.

    • And speaking of old movies…if you ever get a chance to see the 1939 version of A Dog Of Flanders (Likely only found in a library with a very old VHS collection!)….it’s an amazing snippet of life from a different era.

      If only the young’uns would watch old movies- they’d get a hint of what life actually used to be like, before the state and pop-culture took over!

        • Mith, Same basic story- and with Theodore Bikel in it, ya’d think it’d be good- but I found a clip of that version on Youtube, and it’s nowhere near the quality of the ’39 version- it seems rather, that this version is aimed at children. 🙁 I haven’t been able to find the ’39 version anywhere (I’d really like to see it again)- I only know of it, because I found it quite by accident at a library in NY in the 90’s.

          Seems like a lot of good old movies have not been carried over to DVD- Like “Conrac” and “Where were You When The Lights Went Out?” and a favorite of mine (available from private sellers on the net, as the copyright has been let expire) “The Incident” (1967) -a very well-made low budget B&W with a cast of great old-timey actors

          Ooo! I see that The War Between Men And Women with Jack Lemmon has finally made it to DVD!

  3. Not sure what to name this cult.

    Growing up all I heard from adults, was about giving back. About God and the world rewarding you for your good deeds. And worrying about my soul and being a good person.

    Now from those same adults I hear only maybe you’ll win the lottery. I wish I had it as good as my pet dog or cat. They still give to causes but it seems to be because they feel forced to. That they don’t want to get a bad reputation as someone who doesn’t give.

    As far as my generation. There’s no one for us to even talk to about such things. Those who need others more capable than they just want things told to them. They don’t want to do the work to learn how to do these things themselves. If you don’t give them what they want, they move on to the next person and try again.

    There’s staring blankly to their devices and having conversations with friends who are somewhere else. Or passing devices back and forth about things that are funny or that each of them has to see. Once in a while they have something for you to see, but they’re aware you aren’t as interested in these things as people their own age.

    The advice I got was okay at first and got worse every year from my elders.
    Now the only elders for today’s generations are the ones on a screen. No one wants to hear you saying “the same thing over and over” or whatever else they’ll claim to justify their not listening to you or any other elders whatsoever.

    Carlin and Hicks Tell It Like It Is.

    • Ya know, Tor, for a good part of my life, I always had an elderly friend or two. I loved that they were of so much better moral character than those of my generation; and I loved their stories about the past; and their wisdom.

      Unfortunately, the elderly aren’t like that anymore. Lately, they’re as corrupt as most from my generation; just as foolish; and an old man I met in the store one day, sums up their stories of the past, now-a-days- He was bragging of how had boinked someone else’s wife on a trip to FL years ago.

      This is why I am a loner. I get absolutely nothing out of social interactions with the vast majority of people. I don’t want to know them; I don’t want to be with them; I want to get away from them.

      Don’t let the corruption of people at this brief point in history distract you from the ultimate truths, though. God is real. His Kingdom will come, when He will rule this earth. Don’t let the false gods whom they have invented and given Biblical names deter you from the real.

      • A couple years back, I attended a couple of Tea Party gatherings. If you want a downer pill, do this. I felt myself reeling listening to a buncha greedy geezers – all with their got-damned flags, of course – wailing about taxes and “welfare” while demanding that “their” Social Security not be “touched.”

        • So true, Eric! I had the same reaction! They’d bitch about Obozocare….but DON’T dare touch their Medicare! They’re fine with communism, as long as it benefits them, and someone else pays for it.

          I’ve had a few instances where I’d email someone from a forum or a CL car ad- and they’d start spamming me with Tea Party lit. I’ll never forget one douche,- a “prepper” who had no problem racking-up credit card and not paying it, because the “shit was going to hit the fan soon”. (Apparently, TSHTF relieves one of their moral obligations? :D)- “Nice” lady! NOT!

  4. Dear Leader Xi China Chimp and his daughter Xi Mingze. She been enrolled in Harvard under a pseudonym since 2010.

    China Chimp revisits Iowan family he stayed with as a young Communist Party leader

    Joint US-China Collaboration on Clean Energy
    Chinese presidents master plan “Chinese Dream.” Even in China, clean energy and the China Smart Grid Cooperative is claimed to be the fondest dream of every chinaman. This campaign to reimagine prosperity and reshape consumerism is all they can think about, I’m sure.

    Schoolchildren in China especially love “A New Way to Eat” where they learn culturally relevant eating habits in order to consume school lunches in a way that educates all students to eat responsibly..

    “JUCCCE’s Eco-heritage Tourism program additionally leverages connections to official government training academies to introduce a win-win path to protecting environmental and cultural assets while creating local jobs and investing in the community.”

    Moochelle and China First Lady Peng

    Don’t be fooled by the Hunger Games. The Capitol is a world wide institution, there are only a few of them that aren’t interchangeable, they’re nearly all in some kind of royalty alliance with each other and against us commoners.

    • That pic is a live wire, isn’t it?

      Tapped into the collective unconscious hate that sane people feel for the “workplace” of today.

      Like The Godfather, it never gets stale.

  5. I’m only 35, but I feel like I can remember a better time in this country too. I hate the police state that this country has become……..but living in Idaho-which I believe to be a police state hell-must not be near as bad as some of the places where some of you live. I never wear a seat belt and my 08 Tundra hasn’t been registered in 3 years come November. I have never received a seat belt ticket. I have been pulled over several dozen times. After they get done listening to my berating, the last thing on their minds is a seat belt ticket. I have received one registration ticket in the past 3 years- much cheaper than 3 years worth of registration.

    I refuse to be a sniveling little pussy like many from my generation are. Some of our freedoms are in the confines of our minds. When we choose to exercise them, there is always the possibility of a taser or bullet from an out of control porker……but that;s a chance I take.

    • Ditto, Ancap.

      Lately, I have been riding my bike without a helmet.

      At first, I only did this within a local orbit, just a mile or so from my house.

      But the other day, I rode into town – 15 miles down the road – without the fucking saaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaafety beanie on.

      Got-damn, it felt good!

      And: I never wear a seatbelt.

      Not on government roads, anyhow.

      Only on privately owned race tracks. And because I decide to.

      • Eric,

        I am for leaving individuals free to decide for themselves regarding helmets or other safety equipment.

        For me, based on photos of road rash I have seen, I think it is not prudent go riding without a helmet and other appropriate gear.

        Others can make there own cost/benefit analysis but for me it is ATGATT.

        I do agree that it does feel good to ride without a helmet. Youth & ignorance of potential risk. I am immortal for a limited time. 😉

        • Hi Mith,

          I put on gear (riding suit, boots, etc.) sometimes. Other times, I ride with just a helmet. And lately, sometimes without even that.

          With full awareness of the risks – and also that risk cannot be eliminated from life, without choosing not to live at all.

          But more deeply: I despise both the arbitrary/selective way that some risks are deemed “too risky” (such as being told I must wear a helmet while riding) while other risks – arguably more risky (such as being a disgusting fat slob who never exercises) are not punished/controlled in any way at all.

          There is something despicably ironic about a guy who works out almost every day, still has the same waist size he had in high school, who never smoked, etc. – being punished for electing not to “buckle up” (or wear a helmet) by a 30 pounds overweight donut eater.

      • Lucky you. The quest for petroleum and the ensuing clog of traffic has born countless TxDOT units lately. The only thing good is they really don’t know what they’re doing, but can give out tickets for no working windshield washer, no washer fluid, no tractor brake lights, turn signals, back-up lamps(hey, that’s really important with 45 feet of trailer lit up like the Milky Way and they focus on tractor lamps hidden from view). The new guys don’t even know to check brakes and all that entails. They go for the soft stuff, something they can understand. Distances between axles determining load capacities is a long dead thing even though it’s still on the books and any DOT enforcer would look for those types of things along with various brake applications if they really wanted safety.

        Every time I back up with a trailer you’d have a very hard time getting under between the trailer and tractor, I have my heart in my throat thinking Eric might be under there, you know, just hanging out and after going hundreds of miles, simply not expecting me to ‘back up’. And those brake lights too, as if you could see them. I’ll admit you need them when you’re bob-tailing but that’s nearly never and should only be addressed ‘WHEN” you’re bob-tailing. More and more insane laws, seatbelts included in a big rig. Why in hell would you want to be in one in a roll-over or some such bad accident? I’ll take my chance of getting thrown free and just recently saw the effects of that when two big rigs collided, one swiping the cab off the other and knocking that driver a hundred or so feet out of the cab down the road into the fenceline….as if it made a shit(he was dead, one way or the other). One big rig running through the cab of another and the seatbelt is the defining factor? What a crock. One of the most painful things about driving a truck is wearing that damned seat belt and especially when the going is rough. Gotta go manana, I gotta run a lease road so rough that 10 mph is almost more than you and the rig can stand. The safety nazi’s are out in force(not officials, company guys)to make sure you’re compliant. I can guarantee on about 6-7 miles I won’t be….compliant. I even have to stop and pee before attempting these roads. Insanity, plain and simple. Hope to see everyone tomorrow but no guarantees.

  6. You are a lot more free in India to get what you want versus the United States. It’s a complete disgrace. I would consider moving if I could find a job.

    • Hi Swamp,


      Arguably, the individual is more free (less interference with his choices) in China or Russia than in the United States.

      Check the metrics.

      Hell, I bet you can still buy lawn darts – and I’d be willing to bet you don’t have cops threatening you at gunpoint over “seatbelt violations.”

      • That is precisely the objective of the PTB – to turn the rest of the world into mindless consumers of debt and overpriced trinkets – so the vampire corporations have more cattle to milk and slaughter. Countries like Russia and China need to be brought to heel for this agenda to succeed.

      • Dear Eric,

        True. Less micromanagement of one’s daily life than in the USSA.

        Last time I checked, taxes in Russia and China were lower than in the Land of the Free.

        According to KMPG and Forbes:

        Here’s how the fourteen countries in the study measured up, from least tax burdened to most:

        United Kingdom
        United States

        China and Russia came out ahead of the US, as less burdened by taxes of all kinds.

        Of course if one decides to stage a political protest at Tienanmen Square, that’s another matter.

        But then again, these days if one attempts to make a U turn in front of the White House, one might well be gunned down in a hail of bullets.

        • That study is messed-up if they think Canada has low taxes…

          Who was it that said “The power to tax is the power to enslave”? That’s where we are at in the US (and have been for a long time)- We’re all slaves.

      • Eric, my daughter moved to Shanghai last year. A few months later, she remarked that it was so liberating to live without feeling like someone is watching your every move. Yeah, if you’re going to be openly critical of the government, the USSA is still preferable, but for everyday life, the limits of your choices are much less proscribed in China. btw, she is making a decent living there, which I suspect is not the case for many 2013 college grads who stayed in the USSA.

        • Yup.

          It is literally nauseating to me to hear people prattle about “our freedoms” – especially on the most degraded day of the year (4th of July).

          “Our freedoms.” Really?

          Hey, did ya notice that you can’t even buy a freaking ladyfinger to celebrate “our freedoms” anymore? That you had to go through a “safety” checkpoint to get to the parking lot where you were allowed – under close supervision – to watch someone else light the freaking fireworks?

          Jesus Christ!

  7. Its pretty freaking bad,you cant even opt out of health insurance now,even if you are reasonably healthy(even if you have insurance you are scared to use it,had a spider bite a couple of weeks ago{elbow is still killing me} but I was scared of the horrible copays and unecessary tests.
    I want a new car I can sign off on without all that useless govt mandated garbage,I want the best of modern tech,but not this nanny crap.
    In about 20 yrs this country will be unreconizable-Kevin

    • Hi KM,

      I’m in my mid-40s and the country is already unrecognizable to me. What goes on every day today would have been regarded with shock and disbelief (and outrage) when I was in my teens and early 20s.

      America has gone nuts.

      The Safety Cult and the Security Cult will be the end of us all.

      • The only ones to whom this country would be recognizable, would be a Soviet-era Russian or a Nazi-era German.

        Hey Eric, dunno if it’s true (but it wouldn’t surprise me) but I heard that as of 2015 model year, new cars are mandated to come with real-time Tire-Pressure Monitors (TPM)?

        Numerous airbags…traction control…ABS…back-up cameras…anti-theft features…black-boxes…emission controls…TPM now- it’s getting to the point where gov’t mandated BS must now account for at least $10K of the price of a new car.

        I freaking hate what this country has become! (And I refuse to spend the rest of my life here!)

    • “In about 20 yrs this country will be unreconizable”

      I lived through the 1950s and 1960s — this country is ALREADY unrecognizeable, and has been for some time.

      • Being born in the early 60’s, I’m thankful I got to see a glimpse of the “old world” in the 60’s and 70’s- when a good percentage of the people were still sane and cared about morality and the rights and freedoms of themselves and their neighbors; and when people lived their lives and dealt with the consequences or rewards of their own decisions/actions, without the gov’t dictating everything we do. It was truly a different world; a much better world. I think about it daily, and long for it.

        To think, half the people alive today have never known such a world- and think that the current pathetic state of affairs is the norm. 🙁

          • Wow! Simple, but very powerful pics, Bevin!

            It’s interesting to me, how the pigs here have gotten so bad, that a decent minority of people are starting to realize it now. The amazing thing is that the pigs have been building to this point for quite a long time- but like most decaying institutions of America, no one seems to notice or admit it until it gets to the extreme.

            Haha! Your experience with them as a child was markedly better than mine! In the 1970’s, when I was 13, I took a train from Long island into New York City by myself, to meet my aunt, whom I was going to stay with for a few days. I missed my stop, and ended up getting lost in the heart of NYC, at Penn Station. I saw some cops on the street standing around, and gabbing with each other, and eating donuts [Seriously- I guess those cliches are true!]- So there I was- a little scrawny kid from the suburbs, with a bright pink suitcase, on the mean streets of NYC- I go up to the cops and tell them that I’m lost….and they couldn’t even be bothered to stop joking with each other- one just pointed the way to a subway entrance with his donut, without even looking at me! [I then ended up getting REALLY lost!]

            Around the same time, my sister was seeing an NYPD sergeant who was married, and he used to often drive home from NYC, 60 miles to the middle of LI, bombed out of his mind!

            And this was when they were “the men in blue”- now they are the men in black…..

          • Dear MM,

            Those pics have been circulating for some time actually.

            Well, my experience was in the late 50s.

            Seems like an SF alternative universe these days.

            • Interesting article from the UK:

              How a third of us would rather be living in the Swinging 60s:
              Decade is voted best in history because it was ‘age of change for the better’
              Two thirds said there was ‘greater optimism’ in the Sixties than today
              Only 17 per cent said they would prefer to be living in the Seventies
              Ironically, majority of respondents were far too young to remember the era

              Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2774197/How-living-Swinging-60s-Decade-voted-best-history-age-change-better.html#ixzz3EotmtlBm
              Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook

              • Interesting.

                I was very young in the 60’s, but what I got to see of it was that it was a time of much more freedom than today, and just as importantly, the majority of the people still practiced traditional values/a traditional lifestyle.

                There seems to be a certain romanticism about the hippies, now-a-days- but I remember the hippies, and their fighting against traditional society- essentially setting the stage for the leftism we see today (Although they may have had a few good points, like being opposed to the Vietnam War/military; and being opposed to mindless conformity/corporate life, etc.)

                But man, that glimpse of the world that then was- when this was still America- and the better part of society was still decent- was priceless! The world was still somewhat sane. The 70’s were still pretty darn nice, too- but you could see the change at work- and it was blatant- and by the 80’s….it was all over-

                Ironically, the Reagan years seemd to be the time period in which I observed the most drastic changes- Big governbment essentially ascended the throne. Reagan said nice things and fooled a lot of people- but in actuality, he did more to establish big gov than anyone in my lifetime.

                The very early 80’s were still a good time…by the mid to late 80’s, we essentially had what we have today (Depending on where one lived….places like NY MA CA got it sooner….the South and the real West got it later…)

                • I wasn’t even born then but wish I was. As for the 1970s the fact they aren’t looked at well in the UK is because industry was in decline, there were high taxes, high unemployment, strikes 24/7, the Pound was at record lows. It wasn’t until the Thatcher years from 1979 onwards that the economy picked up again. As for big government Id say probably late 1980s/early 1990s so Conservative Government yes but Maggie T cant take the blame for this.

                  Kind regards

                  • The UK seems to always be a decade or so ahead of the US, as far as loss of freedom and the like. Whether it’s gun “control”, or confiscating one’s kids for being overweight; or gov’t spy cameras on the streets; or no-smoking in pooblik places, or Orwellian car inspections (won’t pass if it has a quarter-sized rust spot!)- it seems to start in the UK…then filter over to here, first in states like New York, Taxachussetts and California…then on to the rest of the country….

                    When I moved from New York to Kentucky, it was like going back in time a few decades…but unfortunately, KY is catching-up too fast…. (Property taxes are still low here- but I’ll bet that’ll be the next thing! I live on 28 acres…my taxes are $250 a year. In NY, many people are paying $10,000 in taxes a year for a 2 or 3 bedroom house on less than a quarter of an acre. There’s the real problem- the fact that we have millions of people willing to tolerate that!)

                    • Hehe…any talk of the UK always gets me thinking about my late ex-neighbor back in NY…. a real “thick Geordie” from up near Newcastle!

                    • Indeed. But the problem is jobs. Rural Kentucky doesn’t offer much in the way of making a living for most people who are in the high tax states.

                      $250 is tough if your income is zero. $10,000 is doable if you and your wife make $200,000/yr.

                      And that’s what I am dealing with. Home prices and real estate taxes are driven by what a two income household can pay and borrow and still afford to eat rather than what is sensible.

                      Places I would like, which are really very modest, modest 3bdrm with an acre of land and a big garage… at least I think that’s modest…. close to work, close to the jobs, have a tax bill alone of 8-12K/yr.

                    • Brent, it’s so much cheaper to live here, though. I keep my income below taxable level- and live very nicely- vs. living like a pauper in NY on $50K a year.

                      Screw jobs! The average person can still have land here- and thus has the option of engaging in small-scale agriculture (as opposed to large-scale gov’t-subsidized “farming”)- Raise some beef cows; raise organic veggies…..

                      No building codes or “code enforcement” BS, so you can throw up a pole building for squat and have a nice shop to conduct small enterprises out of….

                      So much real opportunity here- and accessible to the common poor man….as opposed to restrictive, expensive places, where you need millions to do anything, and are hamstrung by regs every time you turn around.

                      That’s why these small rural areas stay stable. In the time I’ve been here, it’s been very stable. Always new businesses opening in the towns- vs. back on Long Island, where shopping centers are stting empty, and yet they build more.

                      Being able to work from hoime and not be tethered to a corporate/gov’t job, or someone else’s business, is the very first step toward taking one’s life back and being free. You just can’t do that at a job, and when they’re taking Uncle Sam[bo]’s cut directly out of your paycheck…..

                      Being tied to a job is why the majority can never escape the system. It’s an endless cycle, and they think they need more $ than they really do, ’cause it costs so much to maintain that cycle AND pay all those taxes- but when you cut yourself free from that paradigm…it’s a whole other world. Trouble is, we’ve been brought-up for several generations now to accept 9-5 servitude as the norm, that few can even think past that- let alonestrike out and do it. 🙂

                    • Charles, a lot gets lost in the details/translation….

                      Our anti-smoking in public places back then, was generally limited to government buildings and the like.

                      I believe youse[sic] guys lost your handguns by the 70’s…

                      Reminds me of a nice Armenian dude I knew back in NY. He had originally immigrated to Germany upon leaving Armenia. Taxes were too high in Germany- so he figured “Why not go to the US, where they’re only ‘20%’?” LOL- Wasn’t until he got here, that he found out that that was only ONE tax….by the time all the others wrere considered, he was actually paying a little more here, than in Germany.

                      The “system” is big and complex- so that few people actually ever know the true facts and costs. We get snippets and bits & pieces, so we always think we don’t have it as bad as the other guy- “Best country in the world, ya know!” [No matter what country you happen to be in at the moment- LOL!]

                      Wasn’t till recently that places like MA. banned smoking on beaches and in bars.

                      When I moved here to KY in ’01, you could still see people walking around the supermarkets with a cigarette in their mouth; and there was no seatbelt law. Now you can’t even smoke in a bar , even here. [Note: I don’t smoke or drink- but I hate that the state is restricting the freedoms of those who do!]

                    • Moleman regarding some Southern European countries yes I believe in some you could see people in supermarkets with ciggies until less than 15 years ago. Same with seatbelts(though enforcement/compliance seems laxer in some- and very strict in Spain- people get fined for not wearing them on inter-city buses).

                      I always thought California was the first in the world to ban smoking in public places.

                      Interesting the story about the Armenian.

  8. It’s expensive enough to fix the “old fashioned” stuff on a car. By that, I mean if a transmission goes out, or you need new motor mounts, or the CV axles need replacement. Any of those things alone can run several hundred dollars (couple of thousand or more in the case of a transmission).

    What happens when all of these “gadgets” go bad and have to be replaced? Might as well junk the thing and start over.

    If I didn’t have a family to haul around, I think I’d go Eric’s route and buy a motorcycle.

  9. Wish I still had my 1970 VW bug, economy & reliability in an affordable package; only complaint was the heater didn’t heat much on the colder days up here but for basic transportation and a fun car to drive it was the best.

  10. Well-said, Eric!

    I used to love cars. Now? They are completely uninteresting. They’re now just shrines to police-state bureaucracy and the idiocy of foolish consumers who equate more complexity with “better”, and who think that they need 500HP to commute to work or drop the kids off at the gov’t school.

    Want something reliable? Efficient? Economical? The simplest means to achieve one goals will fulfill all of those requirements and more. Instead, what do we get today? Instead of a simple cable to work a throttle, we get wires; servos; and computers!

    And as if 98% of the population aren’t distracted enough when they drive- we get yet more gadgets and touch-screens and cars that are virtual phone-booths and rolling entertainment centers!

    Really, these modern vehicles are just so far out of touch with anything I’d ever want for transportation, that I just can’t stand the sight of them (Not to mention that they all look like garbage!), much less would I ever consider owning such abominations!

    I spent a good part of my life earning my living by farting around with vehicles in one capacity or another….but I’m so turned-off by what passes for cars these days, that I got to the point (over a decade ago) that I just don’t want anything to do with them- I don’t want to drtive them; fix them; tow them, or even see ther damned things!

    • Dear MM,

      You said it!

      People have forgotten the bottom line. An automobile is really only about one thing. Getting you from here to there. Nothing else really matters. All the entertainment center geegaws mean nothing if the car won’t start when you turn the key.

      Just get stranded out in the boonies one time, and that reality will come rushing home to you. Nothing else matters. Even AC doesn’t matter.

      All you really need is for it to turn over when you turn the key, and transport your body and some stuff from point A to point B.

      Re: the KMPG study. I wasn’t sure about the positioning of Kanada either. But the others I was referring to made sense.

      • Oh, Mr. Bevin, I do like my vehicles to be a little more than merely appliances to get me from point A to B- I just resent the gov’t trying to tell the manufacturers “what I want” (especially when it’s not what I want).

        • Dear MM,

          I’m saying that because government overrode our discretion, cars have developed in a way they would not have absent goonvermin priorities.

          I’m sure there would be more market diversity, and both you and I could option whatever car we wanted.

          • Exactly!

            Pretty soon it will be to the pont where we’ll have to dispense with things like A/C, because they will need to make for more government-mandated BS on the cars.

  11. Eric,

    You’re killing my livelihood as a technician. I live for drivability “concerns”. When I have the time, I’ll tell the story of what happens when a ladybug wing gets into the float chamber of a Cadacluck quadrajunk carburetor. Just think 8-6-4 and you won’t be far off when the wing gets sucked into a main jet,

  12. ‘and a back-up camera advising me to “watch for safety” (Really? Where is he?)’
    Is that Occifer Safety we’re supposed to be looking for?

    • Is that Occifer Safety we’re supposed to be looking for?

      I hope so. I can’t imagine a more irresistible target on which to test the durability of my rear bumper as I floor it in reverse. I wonder if Ocifer Safety oinks or groans on impact …

  13. Eric,

    I enjoyed the article. Although I will never find out, I am curious how much a car could cost without some (or all) of the mandated standards. I think the car industry would mimic the computer industry. Costs for cars would drop until a certain price (break even) point is reached. There will always be a market for reliable basic A-B transportation. As different features become more cost effective and/or in demand they will eventually be included into this (and other vehicles) basic vehicle.

    Do you mean to write the latter?
    I do not need to “reachable” wherever I am. ► I do not need to be “reachable” wherever I am.

    • Hi Mith,

      We can make a very educated guess.

      Right now, you can buy a basic new car such as the Nissan Versa Note for about $12k – that’s sticker; after haggling, the car is probably buyable for around $11k out the door.

      Simply deleting the mandated air bags (there are at least four, plus the associated sensors and electronics), the mandated back-up camera, the mandated ABS/TCS components – and the same car could almost certainly be “stickered” for around $9k and purchased for around $8k.

      But, let’s assume a car could be designed and built without such equipment – including the structure of the car itself. No compliance costs associated with crash testing (to the extent necessary today). No excess materials (to comply with roof crush and rear impact requirements). Etc.

      Now the price probably drops to around $6k for a basic A to B transportation unit – with AC.

      That weighs hundreds of pounds less than the “government approved” car – and which, as a result, gets much better gas mileage, too.

      • Not to mention the ban on the car company being able to sell directly to the consumer? What does that cost us? I would suspect their are a horde of other gov’t mandated costs involved in the whole process of bringing said vehicle to market. I hope I’m able to drive 10 year or older vehicles for decades more, but I suspect that I’ll be banned from driving them at some point. My current jap made vehicle is about to hit 200k.

      • Easy enough to figure out, using the Indian version of KBB.com:


        How Many Dollars is One Lakh?
        An Indian Lakh is worth approximately $2,250.00 in US Dollars. The dollar rate in this present time is at 47 rupees. The Lakh is also used not only in India, but also in Pakistan, Maldives, Nepal, and Myanmar.

        Scrolling down I see a Jeep knock-off for around 5 Lakh, so $10 grand for a brand new Jeep.

        The hard part about comparing cars around the world is the radical differences between models. Of course this is driven by the various government rules and regulations in different regions. I picked India because their government is regulation happy but the people are mostly very poor, so the market still can dictate the price.

    • Dear Mith,

      I was just saying the very same thing to an anarchist friend over here.

      I just bought a new no frills entry level notebook by Acer. Basically a “poor man’s ultrabook.” Very light, very thin. At least for the price. 13,600 NT, or about 450 US. It is noticeably faster than a 1000 US H-P notebook I bought five years ago. It is waaaaay faster than an IBM Thinkpad I bought for 3000 US approximately 20 years ago.

      If the auto industry were as free as the PC industry, something comparable would have taken place. A Fiesta ST would sell for under 10,000 US.

      We the Sheeple are blind to just how much the PTB have harmed us.

      • That ios So true, Mr. Chu!

        And the sad thing is, most people here in the US are so ignorant, that they actually believe the problems stem from “the greed” of the manufacturers; and they believe that the government is “helping” the consumer, and that we’d all somehow be driving around in worthless death-traps if it weren’t for the government forcing the corps “to do the right thing”! LOL!

        Just look at who they elected (not once, but TWICE) as president!

        The average American these days has the mentality of a 5 year-old. Any other society would have revolted decades ago under similar circumstances….but Americans actively participate in keeping the system which enslaves them going.

        • Dear MM,

          “Just look at who they elected (not once, but TWICE) as president! ”

          Indeed! In fact they did this twice in a row. Once with the Chimp, and once with the Monkey.

          As good ol HL noted decades ago,

          “The one permanent emotion of the inferior man is fear – fear of the unknown, the complex, the inexplicable. What he wants above everything else is safety.”
          — H. L. Mencken

          • You know, during my lifetime, every president who has been elected has been worse than the one before him. It’s hard to imagine anyone being worse than what we have now, but I don’t see the foolish voters breaking their streak anytime soon.

            • Hi Moleman,

              I agree the voters are foolish – but to be fair what choice will they have? Have they had? The Chimp …or Captain Planet. Barry – or Grampy McSame?

              And now?

              Reichschmarschall Christy? Or Hitlery?


            • I’m going to combine two responses in one here, one to Moleman, and one to Eric, since they were essentially the same.

              I know personally this is true of Democrats; I do not know of even the capacity to reverse it.
              Deomcrats register as Republicans to f*ck up the primary. They vote for the WORST Republican candidate, to push the General Election in the Liberal/Progressive direction.
              I do not know the numbers, I only know of one. One might not matter; but like all “House Slytherin” types, they are _simple_ in being manipulative. They are gaming the system.

              And to reverse it? How could a conservative or Classical Liberal reverse it? You vote for ANY of the Dems, and it’s a GUARANTEED loss for freedom. Same for the Greens (Socialist party). Same if you try to pull the Communist party…
              And that’s ASSUMING there’s a hill of beans difference between the two parties anyway!

              The foolish MUST NOT be allowed to vote.
              Those who receive public aid? NO VOTE!
              No taxes? NO VOTE!
              No corporation of any type should be allowed to contribute to political campaigns. No foreigners. And no large donations.
              In fact, maybe make it a law that all campaign monies come from the gov’t? And are distributed equally for election purposes? Dunno, probably open to abuses like anything else…

              One of the reasons I’ve become such a “violent anarchist” type is, I see companies like GE not only NOT paying taxes, BUT GETTING REFUNDS…. NET PROFIT from taxes, BEFORE talking government contracts. I think perhaps we’d be better off WITHOUT these companies any more. Do I NEED my Droid? Laptop? A car that can drive & diagnose (But not fix!) itself?
              Modern medicine is OK, bu could be a lot better… We still have a lot of barbaric practices in there…. coupled with the over-regulation, it’s INSANE! Can’t get Steroids (fictitious ‘roid rage, which is both real and fictitious at once. REAL because the hormone fluctuations happen; FALSE because it rarely involves becoming an ape and attacking people, unless you were ALREADY prone to such behavior, e.g. Officer 82nd Airborne. And making anabolic steroids a schedule-3 drug? WTF< it's OTC in most countries! It's ALL about CONTROL…. Same with contact lenses, for instance – like you could use contacts to "get high"? Nope! MUST have a prescription! )

              Sometimes I think it's time to throw "civilization" in the woods. What good is "civilization" if it's "The Lord of The Flies" in Blackface and 3-piece suit?

              The Law is being used for predation of the populace? Then what point law? It's in case law, though I cant' recall the exact quote:
              "LAws, LAWS! What good are your laws? The good people don't need them. The bad ones won't obey them! So what good are your laws?!"
              He wasn't even able to address the modern mess, where the criminals are in control of The System.

              But if the only way ahead is to be outside the system? Which means, an outlaw?
              WTF, we're being TREATED as criminals anyway! Might as well Drink and drive, Molotov in hand! The revolution HAS occurred. It WAS televised.
              We ignored it (those of us old enough to do something about it.) My parent's generation, and the Greatest Generation, and Me-Firsters (Baby Boomers, sort of)….

              They've created the mess.
              THEY will always outnumber US.
              We need to mulch them, frequently, like Clover gets turned under to make the soil healthy…

          • Dear MM,

            More HL!

            “As democracy is perfected, the office of president represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart’s desire at last and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron.”
            ― H.L. Mencken

            Any questions?

            • The Chimp’s selection made Mencken’s prediction come true.

              An outright imbecile.

              And a sociopath.

              It proved “the people” will accept anything.

              Obama – egregious as he is – is merely a lull.


          • Eric, but look: In the past they could have had the likes of Harry Browne or Ron Paul [I’m suspicious of Paul- being an establishment pol & a Repugnantcan and all…but still…]- almost every erec…errr…election there has been someone decent in the primaries, or actually on the ballot….and what do they get? Maybe 1% of votes! Our fellow prisoners are too busy voting-in socialists to “save us” from “those evil rich people”, ’cause, you know, paying fourteen million bucks in one year in taxes aint enough for one man….we gots to have a government that will take EVERYTHING (& the fools don’t even realize that they are empowering the crooks whom they elect to take everything from themselves and their children…) 🙁

            • Hi Mole,

              Yes, there is truth in that.

              Probably 80 percent of the country is Cloveronian. That is, they are some species of authoritarian – whether of the “left” or “right” variety being largely immaterial.

              I suspect it has always been thus.

              The difference – 230-ish years ago – was that the 20 percent minority would not tolerate it.

              Today, we do.

              I include myself, incidentally. Sure, I “speed” and “commit” other small-time “offenses” against the authoritah of the state. But on the big ticket items, I submit and obey like everyone else. I file “my” taxes. I hand over the annual tributum required by the county in order to be allowed to continue to live on “my” property.

              The trap is simply this: Most of us have too much to lose to squeal too much. Much less actually resist.

              However, the balance is shifting.

              Lose the job, lose the income… lose the land… now you’re ready.

          • VERY good Menchen quote there, Mr. Bevin!

            We’re living in a day when all of the predictions of saner times are coming to pass, all at once!

            The one I seem to think of most these days- although maybe too familiar and oft-repeated, but never-the-less SO characteristic of this day:

            “There’s no way to rule innocent men. The only power any government has is the power to crack down on criminals. Well, when there aren’t enough criminals, one makes them. One declares so many things to be a crime that it becomes impossible for men to live without breaking laws.”

            -Ayn Rand

          • Ditto, Eric, we all knuckle-under. When you live in an authoritarian police state though, I think ones primary object should be to maintain their liberty (avoid jail) and retain as much control over one’s life as possible. The time to preserve our basic civil rights and freedoms is gone, because our fathers/we have let the stae amass absolute power- so now we’re past “resist to preserve freedom- use it or lose it”- We’ve already lost it. Now we’re in survival mode- just stay off the radar, and do what you can to stay free.

            Eric, you’re one of the few people I’ve seen who, like myself, knows that removing ourselves from the “system” is about the greatest thing we can do to both preserve our own freedom, and resist/stop funding/stop being a slave of our oppressors.

            I couldn’t have articulated that idea when I was 16, but I knew it and believed it and practiced it- and dropping out of school back then was step number-one for me….and it was not only the best thing I ever did….but it set me on the right course for life.

            Sounds like you’re doing well, too, in resisting where it matters most- whereas many people who know what we know and see what we see, will knuckle-under completely, for a paycheck. You’re SO on the right track, my friend.

            The only way we’re ever going to see any real freedom i8n our lifetimes, though, is if we get the hell out of here. Those 80-percenters are a formidible problem. If the tyrants disappeared today….we’d have new ones by tomorrow, because of the 80% (who seem to think that the 1% are the problem- LOL).

          • Dear MM,

            The reason prophecies by HL Mencken, Ayn Rand, and many other political observers have come true, is that they saw the macro level forces at work. Once one sees how the macro level forces are directing the course of history, prophecy is not really that difficult.

            For example, it doesn’t take a von Mises or Rothbard to predict that the USD will become worthless within the decade. Stein’s Law guarantees it. Stein’s Law says that “Anything that cannot go on, will come to an end.” The Fed and the Treasury cannot inflate the USD ad infinitum. Eventually people will catch on and refuse to accept USD as currency.

            As financial adviser Michael Maloney notes, every fiat currency in recorded history, has eventually gone to zero, and become totally worthless. No exceptions. Not a one. Every goonvermin issued fiat currency has always been inflated until it is totally worthless.

            The USD will not be an exception to this.

          • Very true, BC.

            I had figured a lot of this stuff out when I was but a teenager- before I ever heard of any of those people. Hehe, I thought I was a unique visionary. Turns out, I just managed to escape the brainwashing [a benefit of being an habitual truant!]; and it doesn’t take a genius to recognize constantly repeating patters nor to know the outcome of various courses of action.

            Those things are not difficult to see; what often occludes the view for many, is that it is not popular to see such things, or to be “negative”[practical] and warn of the outcome; It is popular to drink the Kool-ade, and to lead the cheers when some “hero” says “It’s for your own good, and will all work out fine!” 🙂

          • ….and that is precisely why our Founders stipulated in the Constitution that we NOT have a central bank, and that we not use anything but precious metals- because they knew exactly as you said, that worthless government-created fiat currency inevitably leads to collapse and slavery.

            The day that they were allowed to illegally create the Federal Reserve and the income tax, was the day it was all over for the USA. The real America had fought it’s last war- and lost. We became a subjugated people.

          • …and now, I am going to go and engage in one of the few remaining things for which we don’t need a license; registration; insurance; safety equipment; permits; or to pay a tax for…I’m going to ride my bicycle (If I can tear myself away from this site!)- And if I still lived in NY, I wouldn’t even be doing that, because the fuzz there now have found bicyclists to be just as lucretive as cagers or passengers who dare to walk from one car to another on the subway!

          • Something has changed. Today if we don’t pay the taxes we can be singled out by the government and the cloverians on the jury will convict. But things were so sure way back when. It’s what kept government in check. I am not sure why or how, but something changed to where if the federal government wants to put someone in prison, it will, 98% of time or so.

            • Two things have changed (have arisen) in my lifetime, that did not exist or were very marginal when I was a child:

              * The Safety Cult
              * The Security Cult

              The current, commonplace obsession with “safety” is bizarre – and would have been mocked by most people as recently as circa 1980.

              The general fearfulness is subtler and even more dangerous to liberty. Americans have become a nation of cringing poltroons afraid of everything – desperate to cling to the trouser leg of their Momma.

              It’s enough to make a man throw up.

          • More pertinent and prophetic wisdom from the inimitable Mencken:

            “The fact is that the average man’s love of liberty is nine-tenths imaginary, exactly like his love of sense, justice and truth. He is not actually happy when free; he is uncomfortable, a bit alarmed, and intolerably lonely. Liberty is not a thing for the great masses of men. It is the exclusive possession of a small and disreputable minority, like knowledge, courage and honor. It takes a special sort of man to understand and enjoy liberty — and he is usually an outlaw in democratic societies.”

            — HL Mencken, Baltimore Evening Sun (12 February 1923)

          • Wow, Mencken does it again! What he said, I have long observed.

            So many could have more freedom than thjey do; It doesn’t interest them in the least though.

            I strove for years to get out of NY; to buy an overgrown cow pasture/woods where I could live unhindered…yet, my neighbors back there, whether they be the ones who make $100K a year or more or the ones who lived in subsidized housing (and always will) or the oners who struggle with all their might just to live in someone’s rented basement- NONE of them want freedom.

            They want the state to take care of themk- whether it be providing a cheap convenient train so they can commute to their cubicle; and “creating” those $100K a year jobs [Amazingly, the conductors on those trains make over $100K!) by creating industries that wouldn’t otherwise exist on the free market (perish the thought they should have to earn their keep and actually produce something, or work with their [gulp!] hanmds!).

            Their wife is grateful for the school bussing paid for by taxpayers, so she can drive the bus and not have to stay home and cook and clean and actually take care of what came from her womb.

            How would they manage to live if they didn’t have smooth-paved roads and streetlights and those fine men in blue “to keep them safe”, so they could go to a movie or restaurant or bar conveniently in their odd 1/2 hour of free time one night a month, in the “revitalized” downtown [Hurry! Before the artificial revitalization wears off in a few months, and the place reverts back to what it was, empty store-fronts and all- only now with red brick sidewalks and cast-iron lampposts! And it’ll be another 10 or 15 years before $Millions in “revitalization” funds are again slated for another brief renaissance!] -SHhhh! Don’t tell tyhem that when we had a free market, and before “planning boards” and the like, the downtowns used to actually prosper and stay vital, without their $10K a year property taxes)

            And the slouch in the subsidized housing….where would he live?[cry]- How could he pay the $10K a year property taxes? How could he eat and work with all the taxes deducted from a meager paycheck if he had a job? [It never occurs to him that such wouldn’t exist if we didn’t have to pay for his next-to-free housing and all the other entitlements]

            And surely [wink] their would be chaos in the streets [You mean their isn’t now, in every city in America?] and we’d all be walking on piles of rubble, if not for that wonderful state who keeps us safe and makes our lives convenient….it’s not like the free market could ever provide anything, and at lower cost, and without forcing their product on those who don’t want to buy it [wink, wink] Right?

            “But it was all right, everything was all right, the struggle was finished. He had won the victory over himself. He loved Big Brother.”

            -George Orwell

            How about these “preppers”? They can’t stand the thought of actually living free; so they stay in the cities and ant-farms, with the idea that they will just flee to a more rural retreat when TSHTF?! They can’t be bothered to actually live that way all the time…..you know…their jobs! The kids school! The hospital! That great culture [No “Vagina Monologues” in Bumpkinsville!]…how would they see grandma and grandpa 15 minutes once a month?!

      • Great point Bevin. It is almost like an inverse Moore’s law operating in the auto industry, where cars become heavier, harder to drive in some cases (due to lack of visibility) and less affordable by the year.

      • Bevin, I’m in the market for something you described. I’d rather have a laptop since I can only use one when not on the job(the equipment I operate would destroy one)but I’d like to download movies and do all the other things(not gaming, don’t have time)these devices are good for. I like the idea of Acer, reading reviews of them, what not. What model did you get?

        I’m considering a smart phone(an older Motorola with the ability to sync with a monitor and play what you like). Actually, I’m considering both since I’m often in the middle of nowhere working and often times, in the middle of nowhere in an RV having a cold one and wishing I could have a hot one(either, whatever you can think of).

        • Dear 8sm,

          I shopped around online a bit before buying. I found that some models that are sold in the US are not sold here on Taiwan, and vice versa. I also found that many notebooks are actually cheaper in the US than they are on Taiwan, so that’s good for you! Don’t know why, but it seems to be the case.

          Here is the model I got:

          I looked for it on Amazon, where I sometimes mail order stuff, but didn’t see it. It only showed upon on a European Amazon site.

          You should have no trouble finding a comparable model locally at Best Buy or some place like that, probably for less than I paid! For the same price you might be able to get a more deluxe model by the same manufacturer. I chose the entry level model because it met my needs.

          I basically narrowed my choices down to Acer and ASUS, because they offered better bang per buck — in my book.

          • Bevin, many thanks. I don’t have time to really research this stuff as if anybody does. Seems like it’s always a shot in the dark eh? Again, thanks for the info. Peace. B

          • Dear 8sm,

            Let me do a little surfing online at US based websites and see what I can come up with that approximates what I got, assuming of course that is what you want as well.

            Basically, what I wanted was a light weight, relatively thin, no frills notebook able to do everything except gaming, which requires extremely high performance, and costs an arm and a leg.

            I looked for the 13.3″ to 14″ range. Why? Two reasons.
            1. The screen is large enough to read and do real work on.
            2. The keyboard is large enough to touch type on and not require two finger hunt and peck typing.

          • Dear 8sm,

            Okay, here’s the deal. I skimmed through the Best Buy website for the “PC laptops” category. Apparently in the US market, they are pushing the 15.6″ screen entry level models more aggressively than the smaller screen models.

            Depending on whether you will be carrying the notebook with you in your truck, or in your messenger bag, the 15.6″ budget notebooks could be a better choice. Especially if you have only the one PC. I have a desktop at home with a 24″ LCD screen, so I don’t have to have a large screen notebook.

            Just be sure that it is a relatively light and thin 15.6″ notebook. Yes, there is such a thing. Be sure to feel it in your hands. It won’t be as light as an Ultrabook, but neither will it be nearly as expensive. An Ultrabook can easily cost as much as three or four budget notebooks.

            Look for something in the 400 to 500 USD range.

        • I picked up a 7 year-old Thinkpad on Ebay for $95 with no OS; threw Slackware on it…..works better than the desktop that I bought brand new! Old IBM Thinkpads and Dell Lattitudes are tanks!

          • Bevin, MM, many thanks. I’m sorta leaning to something with no OS and install Linux Cinnamon, the easiest learning curve so most say.

            • Right-on, 8Sman! Linux is great. As far as learning, there’s not much too it. It’s actually easier to use than WinD’ohs!- it’s just a little different- but if you can use Windurs or Mac, Linux is a cinch.

              I’d just stay away from the latest and greatest distros- like Ubuntu- which has essentially become as bad as Windurs- complete with bloat and spyware. And beware of Antix- as it’s made by/maintained by a communist (even includes Marxist links in it’s browser!).

              You might want to give Crunchbang a look (I’m using it right now)- It’s simple, yet powerful; great on older hardware; and has some niceties built-in that will spoil you!

              On many of the new computers, they are building things into them to actually prevent users from wiping Windows/installing Linux; and on many, installing Linux will void your warranty and disqualify you from support services.

              After my experience with the Thinkpad (have had it for about 6 months now) I don’t think I’ll ever buy a new computer again- the old IBM is better than anything I’ve had in the 15 years I’ve been ‘putering….and not having to pay extra for an OS that you don’t even want, is a bonus! (Been using Linux exclusively for over 4 years now, and it’s a PLEASURE to be Windurs-free!)

              And interestingly, I come across more libertarians and anarchists on Linux forums, than anywhere else! Not surprised though…as Linux exemplifies Libertarian/free-market principles. (After you get your feet wet and get some experience on an easy distro, you can migrate to Slackware- the oldest and purest Linux distro- and even it is easy- just set-up and software installation can be tricky).

              • Yeah…
                Thanks for the info on yet more Linux distros.
                For all my complaining, I’m still unsure of Linux. 😛
                Mostly because I was a gamer, and things didn’t get ported to Linux.

                But for development, I’m told there’s nothing like it – all the compilers come with the OS! 🙂

                One question, I’m told there’s a new virus out that targets *nix. Have you hear anything about that? Eats the whole system?

                • I dunno, Jean- I’ve heard every once in a while mention made of a virus aimed at Linux- but the beauty of Linux is, that unless you’re logged into your system as “root” (essenmtially administrator- which you almost6 never have to do) a virus/trojan/etc. can’t do anything, because the “guts” of the system are virtually untouchable unless you’re using the root account or giving the system privileges to do something.- i.e. there’s basically no such thing in Linux as an automatic/undetected download and install. (Except perhaps with modern Ubuntu- or as I call it “Windows Jr.”).

                  The only types of viruses that have really had any success with Linux, have been ones such as in emails, which do nothing to your system, and just get passed on to Windows users, where they do their thing.

                  And if you’re worried about such things…with just a few extra steps, you can make Linux even more secure- such as by setting up seperate partitions.

                  That’s one of the things I love about Linux- virtually no maintenance…no anti-virus crapola…no defragmenting- it “just works”.

                  And I’ve never been one to do updates and stuff. I basically put an OS on my ‘puter, and use it as-is for years…until it becomes too obsolete. If you actually do updates and things like that…sheesh, you’d have the safest OS possible. (Sometimes I question if updates and the like do more harm thean good- I used Windows for 10 years….never ran AV; never did updates, etc. Never had a problem- ‘cept for one trojan, once- but then, I don’t do high-risk stuff…)

                  I sometimes wonder if those updates (at least with Windurs) aren’t actually for the purpose of keeping your ‘puter in “compliance” with the gov’t spies; keeping our boxes accessible to them?)

                  And if you’re into privacy and security, check out the TAILS Linux distro! Can’t get a virus with that, because it runs off a CD/DVD and in memory! (Actually, you can use many Linux distros that way)

              • Dear MM, 8sm,

                My new notebook came with Windows 8.1. It’s actually an pretty decent OS except for the idiotic UI designed for tablets with touch screens.

                Fortunately, there is an easy remedy. There are over a dozen different third party UI apps, most of them freeware, that can be installed in 5 minutes and will give you a traditional Win7/Vista/XP style keyboard/mouse UI. I have just such an app installed on my new notebook. It’s called IObit Start Menu 8.

                Windows 8.1 actually runs VERY fast — if one uninstalls the bloatware. That is not actually the fault of the OS itself. It’s the fault of the different companies that bribed the PC makers to include them. This is actually a good thing. It reduces the price of the PC, without permanent harm to the PC. One simply uninstalls the bloatware and enjoys the discount.

                If you go with Linux this is of course all moot.

                • Bev, Windows is spyware. And read the EULA…..you’ll be SHOCKED!

                  What sucks about Windows, too- you always need the latest and greatest hardware, because it’s a ridiculous resource hog…yet it does nothing more than your computer did 10 years ago….but it won’t run on that 10 year-old ‘puter.

                  (I just HAD to check my email before bed!:D)


                  • Yeah, the EULA could almost be termed a “Pay us to hold us harmless” agreement.
                    If they install virus and trojan and malware softwares? They’re OK, even if you started off Warren Buffet and end up on the Breadline. You can’t sue them…. The fact that your accoutns are now emptied, that’s not THEIR fault… Even if THEY were the oens who emptied them, using keyloggers and a back door to dump your account numbers…

                    It’s RIDICULOUS.
                    Streets should run red with blood for that alone.

                    For the last 6 months, I’ve been unable to access the music _I_ own, on _MY_ Winblows 8.1 Desktop. Don’t know why, the OS wouldn’t allow me to read the files… I couldn’t even get control of them as an administrator!
                    Turns out they took ideas from Linux, there are now file permissions – but you can’t just “chmod 777”, you need to find the utilities which are now hidden in the guts of the OS, secret little executables I found by accident. iacap and takeown.exe. (From windows 7 – yet I never needed them in 7.)

                    I have two problems with getting things done in timely fashion: (1) a woman who thinks we need to be joined at the hip, or there’s something wrong with our relationship; (2) her daughter’s a dingbat, who downloads things indiscriminately – which this past weekend resulted in three spywares, and then a $100 bill for Vipre Internet Security. Also about 4 hours of research to find out what the F they were and how to remove them…

                    • I like that kind of woman, Jean. (Sans dingbat daughter!). 🙂

                      Yeah, if one uses Windows, MS LITERALLY owns your computer- the EULA gives them the “right” to disable it or any software on it….even to physically confiscate it. It’s absurd- but how many people read the EULA? And if they do, they just click “Yes” anyway.

                      Ya read FOSS/GNU/Linux EULA, it’s like a mantra of libertarianism!

                      That’s part of the reason WinD’ohs! is so crappy, too- ’cause MS spends so much effort protecting their code, that they obfuscate the functionality- as functionality is only a secondary concern. In Linux, they essentially say “Here’s the code, do what you want with it! Change it to your needs; give it to your friends!”. Even for computer-illiterates like myself who can do nothing with code…we still benefit from the freedom- what others do with it.

                      And talk about being denied use of the files you [think you] own…how about Kindle?! Sheesh! They can even change the content at will….talk about 1984!

                      I’ll tell ya, not only is day-to-day life so much nicer without Microsh&t….but I feel a lot better not supporting a company like that.

                      And the power of your computer that Linux unlocks! I mean, you can do so many things with a terminal command or two, that you would need 10 different pieces of software to do in Windurs…..

                      Sounds like WinD’ohs! got [ch]owned! (;) ) Just the public doesn’t seem to care, and now they and their files are [ch]owned! 😀

                  • Dear MM,

                    I have Linux Mint installed on another HD, but don’t use it as much as I would like because they stopped supporter my printer driver.

                    • Mr. Bevin, come the day that you ever really want to use Linux, try asking around on Linux forums about your printer. Often-times, there are unofficial drivers floating around….or someone could compile one from your printers Windows driver, etc.

                      These day, almost all printers will work with generic Linux drivers- it’s just that some won’t have 100% functionality of all features with such.

                      I’ve never used Mint, but I hear that it’s a good distro, if you like full-featured distros- and it’s well-suited for Linux beginners.

                      I assume you’ve looked here (But just in case)

                • Bevin,
                  Why not just go to the Desktop on startup?
                  (Windows key) – D. Classic desktop. Also on that “tile” startup page, lower left corner seems to be default… Not that I’ve checked a ton of 8.1 machines.

                  • Dear Jean,

                    I’m new to Windows 8.1, but if I’m not mistaken, unless one uses one of these aftermarket, third party apps, or writes one’s own equivalent, the desktop is filled with tablet style icons, not the old style Win7/Vista/XP type desktop and icons.

                    If I’m wrong about this, someone correct me.

                    Anyway, what a lot of computer pros are saying is that installing one of these relatively compact third party start menu apps is the quickest way to get the old style start menu back. So who am I to argue.

            • Stay away from ANY intel chipset, too. VPros are worst, but I believe it’s becomeing standard: Your system can eb accessed at the FIRMWARE and HARDWARE level, regardless of OS, regardless of hard drive encryption software, even when “off.”
              It’s got wireless 3G built in for “system administration,” and it’s OS agnostic, and behind hard drive encryption, and exists on “phantom power,” which powers the clock, and enables things like Wake-on-LAN event. So someone from outside can now read your entire hard drive, and possibly PUT THINGS ON IT, which you could later be busted for.
              Simple example, you make a website on your computer. A file will do – nothing fantastic.
              It just needs a picture, set to a size of 1X1 pixel. MAke it a gif or pnjg or jpg, put in big red letters on a black background, “BUSTED.” Save it, and any other image you intend to use as a “control,” on your disk, point the web page to it; leave the second image normal. (Play with the sizes if you’re adventurous, it’s not a big deal.)

              Open the page in the browser. You’ll see ONE image.
              Look in the cache, you’ll see the whole image. BOTH images, in fact.

              Here’s the rub: People are busted for “kiddie pron” that came in in those ways – a 1X1 image they didn’t know was there. And because JUST HAVING IT is a FELONY OFFENSE…. Guess who’s going to jail? The minister who told the police about it!

              And it could be in an ad, or in a javascript, or returned on an unrelated search…
              Let alone, you could have been spammed or hacked and in one case, an old couple had their PC used as a pron hub! (They were running without a firewall… But still.)
              So there are legitimate reasons for bad stuff to happen – but YOU will be the one holding the bag.

              I used to like AMD…
              Now, FAR more….

              Intel is part of The Enemy…

              • Wow! Where does it end?! Thanks for that info, Jean. I did nopt know that! Sounds like if I buy anything new-ish in the future, it will be AMD.

          • Dear 8sm, MM,

            If you’re sure the old notebook is in good condition, installing Linux is also a good way to save money.

            They do run much slower though, because of Moore’s Law and the swift increase in computing power.

            The new notebooks are so cheap though, you have to get a pretty good deal on an old one to make the savings worthwhile. A new no frills notebook can be had for a mere 400 US these days.

            • I dunno about that, Bev.

              Those $400 new notebooks aren’t built like some of the old ones…and with the cheap ones, even if the specs sound good, they’re made from low-quality components, and don’t perform as good as the specs would lead you to believe.

              The $95 notebook is the best ‘puter I’ve ever had- it sold for around $1200 when new. With Linux, it is actually the fastest ‘puter I’ve ever had…not slow at all (Unless one wants the latest and greatest eye-candy, or is a gamer….then the older stuff might suffer a little…) But if you get a good quality older ‘puter, it’ll out-perform in most regards, a cheap new ‘puter. (And especially so, not having to deal with all the Windows bloat and inefficiency- I wish that I still had my old 500MHZ IBM Aptiva from 1999- I used it up until ’07, ewith WIN98 and it worked quite well. If I had it today, and threw a light Linux distro on it, I’ll bet it would still be perfectly usable!)

  14. Hey, here’s a thought (though I know the dark side is eyeing it too):
    What about 3D printing?
    Especially for those plastic and hard rubber parts that tear easily in a fender-bender?

    We even have a METAL 3D printer coming – in test stages already.

    Now, the Liberator 3-D printed gun caused waves already, and I know there’s a push to ban anything similar to a “replicator” device, but – if it gets into the wild at all, people will find ways to jury-rig the printers to spit out car components, among other things.

    What THEY fear, though, is en examplar here:

    Read about the next 5 pages…. 😉

    Now, any way we could “print money” would truly be a mess, since these machines could start printing even rust or corrosion as part of the finished product… Bevelled edges, no problem. Different metals, alloys, etc, all set. Even chips to prevent fraud.

    But the basics? Replacement drum brake components? New brake pads? (Even if you improvise plastics instead of the real thing, if a brake pad costs $100 and you can print a comparable PoS plastic for $10?) If you’re good enough, the difference in components might not matter, and it’s only illegal if they catch you…


    Not that I would suggest breaking the law…

  15. I couldn’t agree more. Eric is on the mark. I would like the choice on whether to have all this equipment on a car or not. The car companies have gotten in bed with the government on safety, emissions and gas mileage. I don’t like the requirements for either, although the gas mileage requirements have ramped fuel economy up, but at what cost. Since the cost of additional sensors, development of engine technology is buried in the sticker price, we will never know the true cost of government meddling.

    All I know is that we would be a lot better off without all of this technology for technology’s sake.

    If we had no regulations, we would probably go back to cars like in the 1960’s with no airbags and drum brakes. That would be fine with me, as I am more concerned with handling and “go” power.


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