When Trump assures us he’ll do for the United States what he’s done for his businesses, that’s not a promise — it’s a threat. The tactics he has used in running his business wouldn’t work in running a truly successful company, let alone the most powerful nation on Earth.

Henry Paulson, the Republican Treasury Secretary who helped guide the country out of the 2008 meltdown, takes on Donald Trump in the Washington Post.

Date posted: June 26, 2016 | Filed under politics, shortlinks | Leave a Comment »

I got impatient this afternoon. I had about 1/2 hour of free time, so I looked around the basement for some scrap metal I could use to build a temporary repair for the throttle bracket. Spying a used IKEA drawer rail from Finn’s dresser (a couple of years ago she leaned on the open drawer with enough force to bend the rollers off the rail, so I had to get replacements from the store and fix it), I measured it in place, then took a hacksaw and lopped off about 4″ at the end. After drilling a hole in the middle, I mounted it to the bracket and then mounted the cable bracket to the end–giving me another 2″ of slack in the throttle cable. I fired it up and the clutch acceleration problem is gone. To celebrate, Finn and I loaded it up and drove to the pool, where we swam until darkness, and then we drove home under a sky full of stars.

File Jun 25, 11 38 57 PM

Later this summer, I’m going to fabricate a cleaner, more permanent solution. But we’re back on the road, and that’s all I care about.

→ This is a syndicated post from my Scout weblog. More info here.

Date posted: June 25, 2016 | Filed under Repairs, Scout | Comments Off on Throttled, Part 3

Last week, looking through my camera archives for old pictures of the house, I was struck by how many good pictures I got out of a point-and-shoot Canon G3 for so many years. If I go back through and look at the sequential file numbers I’m sure I’d learn that I erased a fair bit of them on camera, but the technical and aesthetic quality of what I was getting is really kind of astonishing. I kind of feel like either the modern cameras I’ve been using are almost a step behind, or my skills have atrophied in proportion to the larger number of shots I’ve taken over the years.

I have a perfectly functional Nikon D7000 is sitting on my shelf. I’ve made a decent investment in Nikon glass and accessories in the last six years, and it’s all treated me very well. But every time I use the Canon gear at work I love their color space and picture quality more and more. You may have read about this here in previous posts.

Instead of having gear that’s sitting on my shelf depreciating, I’ve decided to sell my D7000 to fund the purchase of a higher-level Fuji. The rationale is thus: I’ve got a complete Canon kit at work I can use if I need full-frame gear, but the reality is that I don’t lug a full size DSLR to and from work every day. I’ve enjoyed having the X-E1 as my travel camera because it’s small and powerful, but I’d like to upgrade to something with a pro-level focus and shutter speed, and built in WiFi.

Traveling to London next week, I’m renting a Canon 6D body for work and a Fuji X-T1 for myself. This will also be a test run to see if they’re worth buying. Each of them are the latest generation in their respective ecosystems: They both feature Wifi, more focus points, faster shutter speed, better image processing, and in the case of the 6D, built-in GPS. The X-T1 also has a tilt screen, which makes shooting at odd angles much easier.

I got the X-T1 on Thursday and I’ve been playing around with it a little, and I’m already impressed. I’ll write more on this after I’ve used them both in the field.

Date posted: June 25, 2016 | Filed under photography | Leave a Comment »

I got the accelerator cable in on Friday, and after breakfast on Saturday morning I went outside to put it in. It’s fairly straightforward and went in without too much hassle, once I realized the loop molded into the cable wasn’t supposed to hook over the top of the bracket, but used to screw in (and provide room for adjustment) on the bracket itself. The cable hooked right up, and in about 10 minutes I was ready to fire it up and go for a test drive. But when I put the clutch in, the engine revved.

It turns out this isn’t an uncommon problem; what happens is that the cable is too tight on the carb, and the clutch linkage at the pedals travels up the firewall right next to the accelerator. When I push the clutch in, it forces the throttle linkage backwards, revving the engine. Problem is, I’ve got no play at all on the bracket. The cable is pushed as far forward (towards the carburetor) as possible; there’s nothing else. The arms on the carb aren’t adjustable, and there’s no other allowance for adjustment in the cable itself.


I looked in the fittings and bracketry that came with my second engine, but there’s no spare there. So I’m going to fabricate a U-shaped piece of metal with two holes. One side will go on the bracket and the other will hold the cable, and I’ll build in room for forward adjustment.

Photo Jun 20, 7 35 02 AM

In other news, Finn and I drove to White Marsh to visit a guy who had an original IH Service Manual for sale on Craigslist. I have the new reprints from Super Scout Specialists, and they’re great, but I couldn’t pass this up. It’s softbound but 3-hole punched, so now I’ve got to keep my eye out for a 1 1/2″ red binder to put it in.

In doing the preliminary research on my carburetor, I stumbled upon a 16-part video series detailing the process of rebuilding a Thermoquad, which I downloaded for future reference.

→ This is a syndicated post from my Scout weblog. More info here.

Date posted: June 21, 2016 | Filed under Purchasing, Repairs, Scout | Comments Off on Throttled, Part 2

A video posted by @idiotking on

Date posted: June 20, 2016 | Filed under family, finn | Leave a Comment »


Date posted: June 19, 2016 | Filed under finn, photography | Leave a Comment »

Long-time readers here at IdiotCentral know I take a lot of pictures. Some of these photos show up on my Flickr feed, and a subset of those show up here. The rest are sitting on my server in the basement and also on a backup drive in my cabinet at work. As part of our Prime membership we get free photo storage too, so I started uploading the contents of my photo archive to Amazon in the spring.

Why is this worth mentioning? Well, I knew I’d taken pictures of the front of the house in the first years we lived here, but the idea of going through thousands of subfolders on the server to find them was unappealing. With Amazon, they’re all cataloged and displayed with low-res thumbnails, so I spent a total of 10 minutes paging back from 2008 or so to find a shot from 2004 on the day I painted the front of the house. This would be helpful to display a lineup of the progression of the house from the early days to this year. Behold:




Date posted: June 16, 2016 | Filed under comparison, house | Leave a Comment »

Retro Baltimore is a Tumblr run by the Baltimore Sun with historical posts about the city. It’s kind of heavy on reprinting historical covers, but every once in a while there’s a good before/after shot that’s fascinating.

Date posted: June 16, 2016 | Filed under Baltimore, shortlinks | Leave a Comment »

Sunday morning, I accepted an invitation to go biking with my neighbors, who are both in much better shape than I. We did a combination of road and trail riding down the hill into Elicott City and through Patapsco State Park, and I kept up, mostly, until the last half an hour or so.


I am not ashamed to say I had to bail and walk for portions of the trail, because I haven’t done any serious biking in years. But it felt great to get out in the woods, and the promise of a cold Bloody Mary at the end of the ride is an added bonus.

Date posted: June 15, 2016 | Filed under life | Leave a Comment »

Driving back from a yard sale on Saturday morning, the accelerator pedal dropped to the floor, again. Since I’ve owned Peer Pressure, I’ve had intermittent problems with the throttle cable, which was originally jury-rigged to the engine block with an automatic cable bracket. My friend Alan swapped me that for a manual bracket, but the cable itself was held to the bracket with a rubber-grommeted clip. When the engine heats up, the grommet gets slippery and the cable slips out of it. Usually this is a 5-minute fix, but on Saturday the grommet disintegrated in my hand as I was refastening it. With Finn waiting in the back seat, I jury-rigged the cable with some zip ties and we made it home under our own power.

A photo posted by @idiotking on

On the phone with Super Scout Specialists, I learned that I have the wrong cable completely. The one I’m supposed to have is manufactured with a loop that goes around the bracket and held in place by the clip, so I ordered the correct part last night after investigating. I’ll have to carve out time to install it, based on when it gets here.

And I was thrilled last week when Bill Caswell started following me on Instagram!

→ This is a syndicated post from my Scout weblog. More info here.

Date posted: June 15, 2016 | Filed under Purchasing, Repairs, Scout | Comments Off on Throttled