September 18, 2007

Horse 806 - Dodge By Name, Dodge By Nature

The 2007 Dodge Calber. 2.4L V6, 124kW, 4WD. Built with American know-how and some serious gremlins in both the transmission and the ignition.

If you're doing 70mph down the motorway, the car will "forget" which gear it's in and magically just lift. The problem lies in the fact that its continuous variable transmission was developed by Chrysler for a truck and so consequently, the software for fewer gears in a passenger car doesn't quite know what to do at times.
It has push-up-push-down varimatic "sports shift" which is essentially an override to the automatic transmission. I like this very much, as it magically dissolves the problem.

It features big and chunky pillars, which makes the car feel both solid and claustrophobic, often obscuring vision at times. One relies on the correct positioning of the rear view mirrors, but thankfully because Americans are used to motorway driving, they're more polite and will often let you in by just indicating.

The 2.4L V6 is a strong engine with plenty of low-down torque but feels a little wheezy at 60mph. Probably this is to do with the crap fuel that US Cars run on (Only 87 RON - Considering that standard pump petrol at 91RON is Super-Premium here, how would an STI go it it requires 98RON as minimum? They run best on 101RON).

From a styling point of view it looks corporately like its stable-mates the Avenger and the Charger. I'm not sure if it's supposed to be an SUV, or a hatchback or a wagon though. It certainly is not as stated a "Compact" because it's longer and more powerful than a Mazda 6.

Given that Yankee petrol is so cheap, it should have sold well here. The fact that it doesn't is more because, there are bigger and more important gas-hogs here. The Caliber does look tiny on occasion, though in Europe or Australia, it would be a behemoth.

September 12, 2007

Horse 805 - Speed Kills... Not Really

It was once said that speed doesn't kill, it's the sudden stop that does. Yesterday proved this for me yet again.

On a Boeing 777 there was probably nobody on board other than me even remotely interested in the veritable orgy of big numbers on the information screen. We were told in no uncertain terms that we were doing +500mph and everybody on board didn't even bat and eyelid.

If you were to take this principle to a German Autobahn, then the story changes a little bit. Instead of 500mph, traffic moves relatively cleanly at and average speed of about 120mph. Crash rates on the whole are no better or worse than Australia, so obviously speed isn't the issue.

In Oz we're limited to a rather pathetic 110km/h or 68mph. Motorway speeds in the USA are at 65mph though on good stretches there are 75mph sections. Traffic moves along rather boringly at about 85mph anyway.

If then speed is not an issue provided everyone moves together, why then does our government believe that having P-Plate drivers move at 20km/h slower than everyone else make things safer? It quite honestly doesn't. If I'm closing in on a hapless P-Plater at 110km/h quite leagally then I have to nudge the brakes because the law is an ass, a idiot.

Most fatal accidents do not occur on motorways in the first place, but rather on suburban streets where although speed is an issue, we're talking about people breaking the law in the first place. The NSW Government's smear campaign and the dirty scumbags at the Daily Telegraph blamed them for accidents when they should have found ways of countering speeding drivers. Limiting P-Platers to 90km/h on the motorway when they like anyone else can only do 60 in a 60 zone was short-sighted.

Not one of those "high-powered hoons" that the Telegraph published was actually adhering to the law in the first place. 72 in a 60 zone is dangerous, yet 72 in an 80 zone magically is no faster but road designers put that limit on because it was safe to do so. To be honest 110km/h on some stretches of the Hume is paltry when the road is quite capable of 150 without trouble.

Speed if managed and properly thought about doesn't kill. Idiots kill... and some of those are in parliament.

September 11, 2007

Horse 804 - TV Will Eat Itself

When you read a blog post, ideally it should be rated for content so you know what to expect - in that vein the following post is rated: Poor. Although it contains no poor people.

At home in the House of Bach last night we were perched in front of the television to discover something almost henious. On Channel 7 came a show which was totally bereft of sport, reality contestants, cooking or gardening. City Homicide on Channel 7 is what I believe could very well be the first of a totally new concept for television... a TV drama.
No wait, sorry... I appear to be wrong. This sort of thing has been done before, what was I thinking?

In a new world where Gordon Bleeping Ramsay can bleep his way across our bleeping television screens, or where Eddie "I want to be a millionare" no longer screens 24/7 on Channel 9, or perhaps even when Gretel "that vacuuous slutty woman" Kileen goes onto describe the exciting details of talentless individuals in a box on Big Brother, Channel 7 has returned to the rather daft idea of actually paying actors and scriptwriters to produce stories that people might actually enjoy watching.

Having said that, it's just possible that a television police drama may have been done before and by Channel 7... Blue Heelers... Homicide even?

September 05, 2007

Horse 803 - West of The Wall

Over the last few weeks a 12ft high fence has been erected in the city. There are armed military guards patrolling the exclusion zone. Trains pass through the U-Bahn missing out of stops within the exclusion zone. American fighter aircraft fly overhead whilst helicopters accompany them.

"I had to travel down Brückestraße but didn't have appropriate papers. I was denied entry and had to wait until someone from inside collected my documents. When I travelled down Kasslereagh Straße towards Maertens-Platz I was again stopped by American Troops stationed there and even the rest of Kasslereagh Straße was blocked to through traffic because the President was visiting."

If you do happen to own a restaurant of cafe near der Botanische Gärten or the Kai, then your business will have suffered because some parts of the city have been deserted. The nearest operating U-Bahn Station to the exclusion zone is Maertens-Platz but Heiliger Jakobus and Der Musuem U-Bahn Stations remain closed as we speak. Some buses have ceased to operate and traffic is limited to the Western Sector of the city.

I long for the day that our fair city will be re-united.
Berlin - September 5, 1962 - Er, no.
Sydney - September 5, 2007 - Think about it.

September 04, 2007

Horse 802 - Public Infrastructure

... or "Why I Hate The M7"

Infrastructure - The term has diverse meanings in different fields, but is perhaps most widely understood to refer to public utilities. These various elements may collectively be termed civil infrastructure, municipal infrastructure, or simply public works, although they may be developed and operated as private-sector or government enterprises.

Although government is subject to cost overruns, public works were originally provided for the greater public benefit. It makes sense that these things ought to be provided at relatively cheap costs as everyone benefits from them irrespective of social class and income.

In contrast, the role of private enterprise and indeed any business is not "excellent customer service" as so many mission statements would have you believe, but a return of wealth either in the form of dividends or increased value to the people it's responsible to.

Because of this in the pursuit of profits private enterprises tend to drive input costs downwards (like maintenance) and/or increase prices to the end consumer; both of these are in direct opposition to the reason for the existance of public works. An obvious conflict exists.

For this reason, I personally think that the following should be included as Public Infrastructure:

- Roads, Highways, Motorways and the Bridges therein
- Railways, Tramways, and the Bridges therein
- Airports
- Control of the Water supply and Water Resources
- Wastewater Management
- Electric Power Generation and Transmission
- Telecommunications Lines, Towers and Mobile Transmission
- Postal and Common Carriage Services
- Police, Hospitals, Schools, Universities, Defence Forces and Coast Guards
- Regulation of the Money Supply and Taxation

I see any private company in these areas as an affront to society and would prefer their shutdown and return to government hands immediately. In addition to this I think it would be good in principle to have a government owned bank and some form of government owned media outlet simply to drive costs to the public downwards by setting a benchmark.

So what brought this on? Namely that I agree with a Galaxy Poll which came to the conclusion that the Government's $17bn surplus was not as a result of good economic management but taxpayers paying too much tax. Guess what? They want it back in the form of better hospitals, schools and roads or both... ie Public Infrastructure. The very thing which for the past 20 years the government has been selling off.

Guess what again? Now that infrastructure is in private hands, it's not returning. If you can't afford those services, too bad - Private Enterprise is not responsible to you. SUFFER!

September 02, 2007

Horse 801 - Beckham is Jewish?

Did anyone happen to know that Beck's is Jewish? I just happened to be watching the LA Galaxy on the news when I caught a glimpse of Hebrew tatooted in his ever expanding collection of skin scribble. A bit of research later and I found out that it reads - אני לדודי ודודי לי הרעה בשושנים or "I am my beloved's, and my beloved is mine, that shepherds among the lilies.", which comes from Song of Solomon 6:3.

On reflection is should have been obvious that Becks is Jewish. He was named after arguably Israel's greatest king and he trained with Tottenham Hotspur, a club so Jewish that opposing fans in the 70s sang "Spurs are on their way to Auschwitz; Adolf's going to gas them again." on the terraces.

Becks has one Jewish Grandfather, which technically under the Nuremburg Laws would have been enough to send him to a holiday fun camp. Despite marrying a shiksa, David and Victoria did have a Jewish wedding - does anyone remember those thrones?

Perhaps it's not just co-incedence that he changed his playing number for Manchester United and later England to the number 7, which is the Hebrew number of completeness.

The last decent Jewish football player was a goalkeeper... heh, you work it out.