Jalopnik, one of my favorite go-to websites for years, has been pretty much gutted by its private-equity overlords. Most of the authors I liked to read have moved on to other sites and I can’t stand 90% of what’s left, so I was pleased to learn that a couple of alumni have resurrected an older site called Carbibles.com and are building it out into something more along the lines of what I want to read: a mixture of how-to articles, personal stories, reviews, and opinions.
Here’s an excellent article on how to manage up—and what it means to do it right: First, the author makes the point that a manager can’t know everything about their reports, and that it’s a good idea for the employee to push the right information upwards so that the manager can help them do their best. As a manager, I try to regularly ask my team to tell me what they need and what’s holding them back, but this is an even better way to frame a conversation.
So, as I understand this, Art Modell gifted the Lyric Opera House in Baltimore with $3.5M over 10 years, and as part of that gift they put his name on the front of the building. He and his wife died several years later. Their wealthy children didn’t read the contract their parents signed. When they realized the deal wasn’t in perpetuity, they withheld the final disbursement and are now threatening the theater with fines if they don’t remove the family name within thirty days. During a pandemic.
TL;DR: Rich people continue to be assholes.
Aw, man. Nimona, a comic book written and published while the author was a student at MICA, was released and earned rave reviews, multiple awards, and sold a ton of copies. Blue Sky Studios, the folks responsible for the Ice Age series and some other excellent animated movies, picked up the story and have been in serious production on the movie adaptation since 2015.
Well, Blue Sky just got bought by Disney, and announced that they are killing the movie entirely. Reasons given abound, but the reality is that the story features two gay men as main characters. I can easily imagine the suits at the Mouse spending maybe three minutes tops discussing how damaging the story would be to their lily-white heteronormative brand before greenlighting Toy Story 17 for immediate production. Fuck the Mouse.
As an extremely educated man, my grandfather had all kinds of books in his house. Because there wasn’t much else to do there when we visited, my sister and I read everything that was halfway interesting and a lot of stuff that wasn’t; that’s where I read Profiles in Courage and learned about JFK, and then read all about his assassination conspiracies in The Book of Lists. Grandpa had a bunch of books about 20’s era automobiles and World War I planes, but I was much more interested in World War II and that era, probably because my Dad had a bunch of books about it. I never really got why Grandpa liked that stuff, but given the age difference and his upbringing, I see how the cycle continues: His Great War was my Dad’s Korea to my Gulf War. Either way, I find military history fascinating.
The Naval History and Heritage Command is an incredible repository of information. I often will kill time in a waiting room or on the train looking at the history of an obscure warship or campaign, but often the easily available history will have only the basic information. In a series of articles, the director digs deeper into the histories of people, events and warships and provides a jumping-off point for further research. I could lose days in here.
Here’s the first in a series of videos by a guy who pulled a family-owned Scout out of a field, drained the gas tank, and fired it right up after five years (I might have pre-oiled the cylinders first, but that’s just me):
Related to this, Anything Scout is making a series of videos about how to find a Scout and what to look for. It’s based on what they look for in a donor for his restorations (they are the guys behind New Legend 4X4, who are the leader in top-dollar ICON-style restomods) so they’re particular about what they are looking for, but there’s some good information in there.
More specifically, this is one they did about how to look for a Scout II:
I’m going to be adding some fog lights to Peer Pressure in the next couple of months. In a strange bit of coincidence, a link to this video by Holley popped up in my feed on how to wire a relay in an automotive application:
Not that I’d do this right now, but this is an interesting article, with links and estimates, on how to set up a car with permanent solar panels, an inverter, and a battery.
I was planning to drive out to Flintstone, MD to pick more parts off a Scout on the side of a mountain today, but rain in the forecast here means snow on the ground there—Flintstone is only miles away from aptly named Frostburg, MD, where yearly average snowfall is more than five feet. Dave, the seller, is a nice fellow, and talking to him on the phone this morning, he assures me he’s still got the truck and it isn’t going anywhere. I think I’ll bring him some warm coffee and a bagel (if I can find one) when I do make it out there.
I’m really struggling with the need to be doing something with my hands. The whole point of going to find parts is so that I can A. get out of the house and B. work on something on the bench downstairs while it’s still so damn cold outside; I’d love to have the sandblaster or sander out and be working on panels in the driveway, but I can’t spray anything with primer at this temperature. I’m also aware that this could all just be rationalization for hoarding behavior, which I have been known to exhibit from time to time.
I’d packed a recovery kit and tools for the trip, and knew I needed an impact driver to coax rusty bolts off the hulk, so I drove to the Harbor Freight and grabbed one yesterday. In the parking lot the battery in the Accord told me in a louder voice what it had been whispering for weeks: it was just about dead. I wiggled the connectors just enough to get it to crank over and drove immediately to Advance Auto for a new battery, which I swapped out in the parking lot: an immediate improvement. I was planning on taking the Accord out west, as Jen needs the CR-V to take her father to get his COVID shot on Sunday and I didn’t want to dirty it up with rusty parts.
Jen and her sister have spent the last couple of weeks navigating bureaucracy to schedule a shot for him, and were finally able to get an appointment for him at the Six Flags drive-through location down in Bowie. She’s driving down to pick him up, drive him to the site, and then drive him home, partially to make sure it goes smoothly, and mostly to try and manage his anxiety.
According to this site, Maryland is 48th in number of doses administered—they’ve only given 67% of the doses distributed as of February 26. At this rate I’m not getting my shot until June.
Meanwhile, I’m making slow progress on manually pulling entries from the .SQL file backup we saved of Jen’s Thatgirl blog from back in the day. WordPress is excellent in that it saves entries every couple of minutes as you’re composing them, but what that means is there can be 10+ duplicates of one post and they are not in order in the file. My Perl skills have atrophied to mush so it’s improbable I would be able to write something to help sort through all 1400 entries; this means I’m taking it slowly in chunks when I have downtime. Cleaning up the entries is pretty easy with GREP; when that’s done I have to figure out how and where we’re going to publish it—one long HTML file might make the most sense…
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I can be vain like everyone else, and so I must embed this portrait of Nox that Jen took yesterday.
That was fast. This 45-lb. beauty showed up on my doorstep this afternoon, and being that it’s 60˚ outside, I had to go out, unbolt the stock bumper, and do a test fit. It looks fantastic, and the workmanship is excellent—better than I was expecting, actually. The clevis mounts aren’t flush-welded—they go all the way through to the back of the bumper through two holes and are welded on each side. The welds are clean and tidy. The bull bar doesn’t stick out too far, something I was afraid of.
It’s raw metal, so I have to pull it back off and bring it inside so it doesn’t flash rust. Then I can weld on some lamp mounts, drill and tap license plate holes, clean it good, and spray it with some black paint.
The guy out in Flintstone with the ex-dealership Scout I pulled parts from still has his truck. During my first visit I was being chased by snow, cold weather, and the sun setting, so I wasn’t able to stay as long as I wanted to pull parts, and I spent too much time heating bolts to pull a hub I didn’t directly need. I’m planning a trip back out there to grab more stuff, because I could be spending winter quarantine time refurbishing parts inside when I can’t be working outside.
I did a shitty job of remembering what to pull while I was there last time, so I’m making a list this time, in order of desirability:
- Both front hubs—I’d like to clean and refurb both of these
- The heater motor unit—we looked at pulling this in December, but there just wasn’t enough time to pull the fender off. It’s pretty rusty but maybe worth salvaging…
- Inner fenders, if they are clean (moon shot)
- The steering wheel—there’s a ton of good stuff in there, including the turn signal canceler, and I’d like to practice pulling the wheel off a spare
- The steering box—it would be good to have a core for rebuilding
- The lower tailgate lock assembly—the spring in my mechanism tends to jump off the cam, which means every three months or so I’ve got to break down the tailgate and reset it
- Door strikers from both sides
- Rear armrests—these are rare in good shape
- 4 bolts where the windshield connects to the roof (always good to have stock spares)
- Any side molding I can get off cleanly—I’ve now got 2 sets of door molding but I’d like to have the pieces that go in front of and behind the door. Peer Pressure is drilled for fancy exterior molding
- The washer bottle
- The fan shroud—I don’t remember seeing this, but they are rare on the ground
- The interior fiberglas panels—especially the middle section over the rear liftgate, if it has the switch
- The hubcaps, if I can find all four
- The cowl cover
- Any spare light buckets that are in good shape
- Both of the 1978 headlight surrounds
- Any good badging
- The dome light
- Transmission cover and plastic shift plate
- Any of the evap gear from the rear access port
- The ashtray—you laugh but I’ve only got one spare
- The slider windows, if they’re still there
- The license plate assembly—it’s a hinged model
So I’ll pack another rescue box, run out to Harbor Freight for an impact driver, buy another can of PBBlaster, and plan an early departure so that I can get as much sunlight as possible.
I went ahead and ordered a bumper! The way the ordering process went was a little strange; the contact from the Facebook page sent me an invoice via PayPal (keyed to the name of the fabricator) so I used my credit card to purchase it. This way I’ve got their built-in protection working for me. I got a notification from UPS that it was shipping yesterday(!!!) but then the contact messaged me on Facebook the same day asking if it was for a Scout II or an 80/800. Later that evening UPS updated me and told me it wouldn’t be delivered tomorrow, which left me with equal parts sadness and relief. And there’s no update on shipping yet.
I’m already thinking ahead to modifications and how I’m going to weld a set of brackets on under the pushbar to mount a pair of fog lamps, as well as a pair of captive nuts to accept a license plate.
I was in on a long empty zoom call this morning where I was just listening, and noticed that I was getting a lot of spam comments on oldlinestatebinders.com. I’d set up the site back in October but never really worked on it since then. I logged in and set up Akismet, which will shut the spam right down, and updated all of the themes and plugins. While I was listening, I swapped the theme and replaced the stock photos with some stuff from previous events.
Clearly, I need to get some more T-shirt designs finished and get them posted.
Sadly, the French electronic duo announced their split this morning, which is as shitty as Monday news gets.
Thomas Bangalter was in another group called Stardust that put out an earworm called Music Sounds Better With You, the video for which captures so much of being around Finley’s age, making model airplanes and watching MTV.