Sunday, May 31, 2015

CNN aboard US military flight over South China Sea

With no one capable or willing to stop the Chinese, it looks like they are getting their way.

The evolution of Lamborghini V12s

I have these in reverse chronological order. Such dramatic differences.





Saturday, May 30, 2015

Carspotting in CH

Via the incomparable Pete (of Carenvy infamy).

Medellin Pablo Escobar tour promo

Come, Ed!

Manual transmission Jaguar S-Type for sale

I didn't know this even existed until someone here told me about it a week or two ago. Like its sister the Lincoln LS, the manual transmission is only available with the V6 engine. This example looks like it's in very good shape, but the asking price is three times more than what Kelley Blue Book says it's worth.

Also, on a Jaguar board, someone noted that neither Getrag nor Jaguar will support internal parts for the transmission.

Friday, May 29, 2015

VW W8 engine enthusiast

I came upon this Canadian's YouTube videos last night. Insane.

Engine exposed:

His W8 collection:

His twin engined Jetta:

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

A lucky Syrian refugee crossing the Mediterranean

First, how can we not help these refugees?

Second, with Greece broker than broke, how can they even afford the fuel for the rescue ships?

Tony Hawk Mini Cooper ad

Dude has an IQ of 144!

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Pan-American finale itinerary

A rare window of opportunity opened up recently. The Colombian government and FARC rebels agreed to a cease fire and peace talks in Havana. This meant no kidnappings and no killings. But last week, peace talks went sideways when troops killed dozens of rebels.

Before the recent setback, I considered finishing my Pan-American bus trek in November. I'm thinking out loud here and this would be the schedule:

Cruz del Sur has buses that depart Lima, Peru, for Colombia on Mondays and Wednesdays at 5:00 p.m. The trip to Cali, Colombia, takes 2-1/2 days (<$200). In looking up videos of the journey on YouTube, I found these two videos. The first video purports to show how safe Cruz del Sur buses are with traction/stability control. But note the ringer bus is never on wet tarmac. Still, I'd be shitting bricks if I had to drive these double deckers, in the wet or in the dry.

Here is a cool video about the bus company's maintenance program.

So, I leave Lima on Wednesday, November 18. I ride through Ecuador and arrive in Cali on Saturday afternoon, the 21st. I then immediately take another bus to Medellin (9 hours, $20). I spend the night in Medellin and on Sunday the 22nd, I take my final bus to Turbo (8 hours, $24). 

Turbo is the northern terminus of the South American portion of the Pan-American. Once I reach Turbo and walk to the end of the road, I will have completed traveling the entire Pan-American Highway by bus. This is a journey that I started in 2007.

To celebrate, I'll trace my route back to Medellin and take a Pablo Escobar tour

And to top off the completion of the mega-journey, I go to Bogota on Wednesday, November 25, to see Pearl Jam in concert.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Car boarding a ship

Will it make it?

Jeep CJs crossing Darien Gap

In 1978, a group of Real American Men(tm) drove the entire length of the Western Hemisphere, including the Darien Gap.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Friday, May 22, 2015

Isuzu Impulse at 2015 Carlisle

Photos via mzszsm. Apparently, the engine was in bad shape but the interior was fantastic.

Electric cars in Oslo

Well, I guess those incentives worked. S is in Oslo today and he reports that within a span of 400 yards, he walked past four Teslas, three Nissan Leafs, two BMW i3s, and a VW e-Up.

Saab update

The current owner did not get a chance to take it to the shop for an inspection before he left town. He gets back next Thursday. Hopefully, he'll be able to take it in Thursday afternoon. We hash out a deal Thursday evening (if the inspection goes well), and I take the train down on Friday to pick it up.

A friend in the area offered to check out the exterior for me over the weekend. Still waiting for the current owner for an address/permission.

I'm cautiously optimistic.

Osama bin Laden's books

These books, among other written material, were found at his house. The only book I've read is The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers. In fact, in high school, I wrote about it in an essay for my application to Georgetown University's School of Foreign Service. It didn't work. I got rejected. And that's why I'm not the deputy attache for agriculture at the US embassy in Guatemala.

  • The 2030 Spike by Colin Mason
  • A Brief Guide to Understanding Islam by I. A. Ibrahim
  • America’s Strategic Blunders by Willard Matthias
  • America’s “War on Terrorism” by Michel Chossudovsky
  • Al-Qaeda’s Online Media Strategies: From Abu Reuter to Irhabi 007 by Hanna Rogan
  • The Best Democracy Money Can Buy by Greg Palast
  • The Best Enemy Money Can Buy by Anthony Sutton
  • Black Box Voting, Ballot Tampering in the 21st Century by Bev Harris
  • Bloodlines of the Illuminati by Fritz Springmeier
  • Bounding the Global War on Terror by Jeffrey Record
  • Checking Iran’s Nuclear Ambitions by Henry Sokolski and Patrick Clawson
  • Christianity and Islam in Spain 756-1031 A.D. by C. R. Haines
  • Civil Democratic Islam: Partners, Resources, and Strategies by Cheryl Benard
  • Confessions of an Economic Hit Man by John Perkins
  • Conspirators’ Hierarchy: The Committee of 300 by John Coleman
  • Crossing the Rubicon by Michael Ruppert
  • Fortifying Pakistan: The Role of U.S. Internal Security Assistance (only the book’s introduction) by C. Christine Fair and Peter Chalk
  • Guerilla Air Defense: Antiaircraft Weapons and Techniques for Guerilla Forces by James Crabtree
  • Handbook of International Law by Anthony Aust
  • Hegemony or Survival: America’s Quest for Global Dominance by Noam Chomsky
  • Imperial Hubris by Michael Scheuer
  • In Pursuit of Allah’s Pleasure by Asim Abdul Maajid, Esaam-ud-Deen and Dr. Naahah Ibrahim
  • International Relations Theory and the Asia-Pacific by John Ikenberry and Michael Mastandano
  • Killing Hope: U.S. Military and CIA Interventions since World War II by William Blum
  • Military Intelligence Blunders by John Hughes-Wilson
  • Project MKULTRA, the CIA’s program of research in behavioral modification. Joint hearing before the Select Committee on Intelligence and the Subcommittee on Health and Scientific Research of the Committee on Human Resources, United States Senate, Ninety-fifth Congress, first session, August 3, 1977. United States. Congress. Senate. Select Committee on Intelligence. 
  • Necessary Illusions: Thought Control in Democratic Societies by Noam Chomsky
  • New Pearl Harbor: Disturbing Questions about the Bush Administration and 9/11 by David Ray Griffin
  • New Political Religions, or Analysis of Modern Terrorism by Barry Cooper
  • Obama’s Wars by Bob Woodward
  • Oxford History of Modern War by Charles Townsend
  • The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers by Paul Kennedy
  • Rogue State: A Guide to the World’s Only Superpower by William Blum
  • The Secret Teachings of All Ages by Manly Hall (1928)
  • Secrets of the Federal Reserve by Eustace Mullins
  • The Taking of America 1-2-3 by Richard Sprague
  • Unfinished Business, U.S. Overseas Military Presence in the 21st Century by Michael O’Hanlon
  • The U.S. and Vietnam 1787-1941 by Robert Hopkins Miller
  • “Website Claims Steve Jackson Games Foretold 9/11,” article posted on (this file contained only a single saved web page)


Thursday, May 21, 2015

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

So tired

Not a photo of the SportCombi I am after, but it's the same color and has the same rims

You know what happened?

The owner was supposed to take it in to a shop this morning at 8. I was going to pay for an inspection and we were going to work out a deal after I got the verdict from the mechanic. Simple, right?

Well, yesterday, I thought I had emailed the owner that the inspection was a go. In fact, for the first time since I opened my Yahoo Mail account in 1997, I failed to send an email to the intended recipient (I emailed myself instead). The owner never got the confirmation for today's inspection so he didn't take the car in this morning. He probably doesn't have time tomorrow to take it in. He leaves town tomorrow evening and won't be back until the 28th.

2 Pontiacs in Europe

Grand Am in Omsk, Russia, via Nick:

Trans Sport in Vienna, via Stephan:

Monday, May 18, 2015

Ford Taurus SHO(?) police car in Tblisi

H/t to Sanchez.

Can anyone tell if this is an SHO or just a regular Interceptor?

2006 Saab, just a 6-hour train ride away

2006 9-3 wagon with the 2 liter turbo 4. 66,000 miles. Original owner in Boulder, Colorado, drove 6,500 miles a year and had it meticulously maintained at the dealership. Late last year, it was bought by the second owner for his wife. The wife really wanted a convertible, not a dumb wagon. So it's now for sale

The town where the car resides is nowhere near a major airport. So, the car will be taken to a shop for an inspection tomorrow morning. And if/once the deal is made, I will take a train there to pick it up.

And yes, it has an automatic. I am getting tired of looking for a car.

Dogs in a CR-Z

This is just cruel. H/t to Chris.

Three books I'm reading

1. All the Countries We've Ever Invaded. This is the book about all the countries Great Britain invaded. There were questions about what constituted "invasion". I'm going to read it and let you know how the British "invaded" unlikely countries like Chile and Kazakhstan.

2. The Pillars of Hercules. Paul Theroux is my favorite travel writer, but I have always skipped this book because the Mediterranean was not deemed (by me) to be exotic enough. I am now ready to read it.

3. Lonely Planet Colombia. We randomly checked Pearl Jam's tour dates and noticed that it will be playing in Bogota at the end of November. This has rekindled my hope of finishing my Pan-American Highway bus trip this year.

Drove the CR-Z

Chris and I went to BuggyBank yesterday to check out that CR-Z. It drove perfectly fine and was sufficiently peppy in Sport mode. In Eco mode, it felt like molasses. Alas, even with the back "seats" folded down, there was not enough height for my Cocker Spaniel Cooper.

Incidentally, that Passat W8 wagon is still for sale at Buggybank.

Everyone go see Mad Max

It's basically a two-hour car chase. It's ridiculous and glorious.

And yes, they made a functioning electric guitar/flamethrower. Drums are in the back.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Exile Destinations, A Summary

Here are the totals, from continent to continent.

37 African exiled leaders from 1975 to the present fled to:
Africa: 21
Asia: 5
Europe: 11

13 Asian exiled leaders fled to:
Africa: 1
Asia: 3
Australia: 1
Europe: 7
North America: 1

5 European exiled leaders fled to:
Africa: 1
Europe: 4

13 North American exiled leaders fled to:
Africa: 1
Europe: 1
North America: 6
South America: 3
Unknown: 2

14 South American exiled leaders fled to:
Asia: 1
Europe: 5
North America: 2
South America: 5
Unknown: 1

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Exile Destinations, Part 19

That's it. Here is the final tally.

181. UK— 0
182. United Republic of Tanzania— 0
183. USA— 0
184. Uruguay—0
185. Uzbekistan— 0
186. Vanuatu— 0
187. Venezuela— 0
188. Vietnam— 0
189. Yemen— 0
190. Zambia— 0

191. Zimbabwe— 0

7x = France, U.K.

4x = Brazil, U.S., U.S.S.R./Russia

3x = Egypt, Netherlands, Nigeria, Panama, Saudi Arabia

2x = Guinea, Ivory Coast, Morocco, Portugal, Senegal, South Africa, Venezuela

1x = Australia, Austria, Belarus, Benin, Costa Rica, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Guatemala, Italy, Japan, Kenya, Libya, Mexico, Paraguay, Pakistan, Qatar, Singapore, Somalia, Spain, Switzerland, Tanzania, Togo, Tunisia, UAE, Uganda, Uruguay, Yemen, unknown, unknown, unknown

Nostalgia Time: E39 M5

I saw one parked on the street in Oakland this week. It was blue as well.

These were huge when they came out. Back in 2001, I knew a middle aged guy who was the heir to a sizable commercial real estate fortune. His job was basically spending two hours a day, every day, going from strip mall to strip mall, collecting rent checks. He had this M5. 26 year old me asked him the fastest he had driven it. He said 80. I was disappointed.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Why do I want this Lincoln LS?!

Owned by an old timer who used it a few months a year when he was down in Palm Springs. 46,000 miles! He has passed away and his family is selling it.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

2008-10 E61 BMW 535xi wagon

This is what I want. Twin turbo V6, 300 horsepower, all-wheel drive. Type of transmission does not matter. I will budget accordingly for the inevitable breakdowns.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

How about a manual Honda CR-Z?

For sale at Buggybank. Think of it as a bigger 2-door Insight.

Reviewed by Jeff Glucker.

Trouble in Macedonia

Can anyone shed more light on the situation?

Bulgarian pagan hair suit

Finally, Rosberg wins

Friday, May 08, 2015

Russia-China love fest

This video of typical Chinese citizens talking about Putin and Russia is scary-- pre-Sino-Soviet Split scary.

British election results and sexy politician

I haven't been following the campaigning closely, but these results are borderline shocking.

Party: Seats won (Net compared to last election)
Conservatives: 331 (+24)
Labour: 232 (-26)
Scottish National Party: 56 (+50)
Liberal Democrats: 8 (-49)
Democratic Unionist Party: 8 (0)
Other: 15 (+2)

Thursday, May 07, 2015

Very tempted

Too busy this week to seriously look for a car. But this wagon keeps calling me.

The stats:

  • 78,000 miles
  • 2005 model year
  • 3.0 liter six cylinder
  • all-wheel drive
  • three minor accidents
  • meticulously maintained by owner with bottomless wallet 

Martian sunset

Tuesday, May 05, 2015

Motorweek E30 BMW 325i convertible

Here's a blast from the past. My mom had a red 325i with a black top and tan interior when I was in high school. However, I wasn't allowed to drive it by myself until after I had graduated. Compared to modern convertibles, that manual top was a pain in the ass to operate. But everything was solid. The cloth top, the switches, everything-- was built to last for centuries.

Crossing guard cars

A couple of months ago, I started working out with a trainer in Albany. I go through this intersection twice a week and noticed the kind crossing guard drove this Porsche to work everyday! He's an old timer and probably just works/volunteers for the hell of it.

This reminds me of my crossing guard when I was in elementary school in 1980s Orange County. In order for me to walk to school, I had to cross a very dangerous intersection. So there was a crossing guard stationed there...just for me. I attended a very small school and nobody else used that intersection. My crossing guard was an old lady with granny sunglasses and a brand new Dodge Daytona like this one, but in silver. In retrospect, I can't believe the school district had a crossing guard for just one student!

About that Jaguar wagon

The owner was very forthcoming and sent me a PDF of repair bills. Two years ago, he spent six grand on the front suspension and a fuel pump. It took my breath away, looking at all the work done (and the price). I passed on it yesterday.

But this morning, I wondered-- Maybe all the work has been done on the car already, no expense spared. Maybe it's perfect now. What do you think?

Our least favorite TV presenter liked it. I didn't realize the wagon version of the X-Type was penned by Ian Callum.

Trying out Uber for the first time

I'm late to the game, but I'm going to try Uber tomorrow. Do you usually tip in cash? Do you tip?

Tim's new Citroen 2CV

Seconds Saturdays regular Tim just picked this up. He writes:

This is "a 1962 Citroen 2CV (kept stored in the Mojave desert area since 1985), almost one owner from new and used extensively in films and commercials in Southern California from the 1960's to the 1980's. It is a rare from new "California" model 2CV (this needs a little explaining). Has a 12 horsepower 2 cylinder motor, maybe 45mph tops on a flat road. It was used in an episode of Get Smart in 1968."

Monday, May 04, 2015

22 countries Great Britain did not invade


Chillin' in the Gulf of Aden

Via Reddit.

My next target

It's in Palm Springs. I like the looks. I like the novelty. End of story.

Sunday, May 03, 2015

2016 Presidential Candidates' Cars: Ben Carson

I guess it's no surprise that a successful surgeon would drive a Mercedes CL. But Dr. Carson even had his own Mercedes ad! Baller.

Check out more candidates' rides here. And if know what Bernie Sanders or Ted Cruz drives, let me know.

Saturday, May 02, 2015

The two finalists are being test driven tomorrow

I'm back to Saabs again.

1. 2006 9-3 SportCombi Aero with manual transmission. $10,995; 95,000 miles; new oil pan after a one-week search. For sale through a dealer.

2. 2007 9-3 SportCombi Aero with automatic transmission. $9,500; 68,000 miles; lots of extras like new tires, aftermarket Bluetooth/iPod integration, rubber floor mats, roof rack. For sale through private party.

Honda of Oakland vandalized

I'm the schmuck who still takes his base model 2004 Honda Civic to a dealer for servicing, for the entire 100,000+ mile life of the car. Why?

1. I have minor OCD and want, for documentation purposes, to have all the repairs done at the same place.
2. When I moved out of Oakland in 2005, I wanted to continue to contribute to the tax base there so I vowed to have our Honda and Acura worked on by people in Oakland.

Honda of Oakland is based along Oakland Auto Row. Over the decades, fewer and fewer new car dealerships remained. Oakland needs these businesses because big ticket items like cars help generate the revenue the city desperately needs for essential services.

And this is what happened last night during the May Day/Freddie Gray protest. That's Honda of Oakland:

Last Days In Vietnam full documentary

If you have a couple of hours this weekend, I HIGHLY recommend that you watch this. This is unlike any other Vietnam War film out there. It covers the final days of the American presence in South Vietnam. Every story is more riveting than the last. Here is the full documentary.

One of the incredible tales is of the USS Kirk. It's a support ship with just one helipad. South Vietnamese Huey pilots would fly home, pick up their families, and fly out to sea. Seven of them landed on the Kirk. Because there was no room for more than one chopper, as soon as one landed and the people disembarked, they would push the chopper into the sea. Watch the documentary to see what happened when a Chinook tried to land on the small ship.

57 story building built in 19 days in China

Friday, May 01, 2015

The last flight out of Da Nang

This is the most desperate and sad footage you'll see today.

I'm watching a two-hour American Experience documentary about Americans smuggling South Vietnamese out of the country before Saigon fell. This footage is forever going to be seared into my memory.